Friday, November 30, 2007

Fantasea

We took it easy on Friday! Spent the morning lounging poolside, catching some rays, and smoking weed with the locals. Jessa's doctor says "no Mary Jane" so she had to settle for vodka and cigarettes. Haha. No actually, look how healthy she is being:



Jessa getting her exercise. I've installed a special flotation device called "twin babies" in her midsection to help with her buoyancy in the water.



Afternoon foot massages. I saw Faris Al Sultan sail by on his bike during this massage. No helmet, just his signature hankerchief or whatever that is he wears on his head. He was with a couple other guys I didn't recognize.

We had some interesting conversations with our therapists...they about fainted when I told them how much we pay for massage stateside. This one hour massage for the two of us was about $8 apiece. Just so happens that the one on the right is the same that offered me "happy ending" to my traditional Thai massage. Not sure how she keeps getting "assigned" to me.



All done with foot massage. Glad *somebody* was willing to touch my feet for an hour, cracked toenails, mosquite bites, cracked heels and all.

GREAT NEWS! Friday night is the big night that we got to go to what is apparently Phuket's biggest tourist attraction - the grand Fantasea show, only about 30 minutes from our resort...we're so lucky! Or so we thought. They described it as a of a "state-of-the-art" show with a fantastic carnival and the greatest presentation in all of Southeast Asia, complete with dancing elephants, laser light shows, 4D special effects, and tons of fun for the whole fam.



I was like a little child in a candy store. Oh the joy of cheesy Thai tourist traps. What shall I do first? My head is spinning! Life can't get any better! This is at the gold plated gates of the front entrance. It went downhill from here.



They're ALL male. Even the one with 1 D cup and 1 B cup. It's kinda funny - I think the "botched" transgender surgical patients get the job at Fantasea. The pretty ones get to go to Bangkok and Patong beach.



This girl is obviously just super excited about the opportunity to wear pantaloons and a flowing white shirt.



Smile for the camera. Good, now everybody say it together: "G-A-U-D-Y!"



Great name for a kid's "sea-themed" store. Works for James Bond, so it should sell toys, right?



What a brilliant costume! Well worth the price of the ticket - which was almost as much as a Dave Matthews concert, which Jessa later remarked she would have much rather been at.



These random guys were just sitting there taking money for people to be photographed with them.



I didn't find out they actually wanted money until later, when Jessa asked me how much I paid them. Shoot, if only I would have known I probably would have forked over a couple Benjamin's for that rare photo op.



This is Jessa and Eric (a friend from California who happens to be here helping with a tour group for the race). I think they're pretending to be eaten by the giant tiger statue. Incidentally, there were *real* tigers at Fantasea. They were locked in a glass encased room and every single one was fast asleep and twitching strangely on the floor. I don't even want to know what kind of sedatives they feed these animals.

So in the actual Fantasea show, they wouldn't allow us to bring cameras. Well, it's *gotta* be good if you're not even allowed to photograph it, right? It started out OK. We walked in and were presented with an enormous, grandiose stage where regal music played to a stadium full of anxious tourists waiting to be thrilled. There were probably about 1000 people there.

That was about as impressive as it got. What was supposed to be the Thai equivalent of Cirque de Solei turned out to be a very cheap presentation that used shadow screens, strung together Christmas lights, cheesy dancers, and outdated neon lasers to tell what I think was the story of Ramadan. Not too sure because I fell asleep a couple times.

We didn't arrive back at the resort until midnight, and fell fast asleep, ready to go to race registration this morning. Jessa snapped a picture of me getting my bike ready.



After arriving at registration, i discovered that due to some kind of snafu, I had been placed in the 25-29 age division, and was not registered as a pro. It was my intention to race here as a pro just to see how I do mentally and physically against the big guns. So I approached the registration director and explained the situation. It actually turned out to be a pretty easy switch. They just assigned me a new race number and gave me a different swim cap, and I have to go to some special meeting for the pros tonight.

Then they just wrote my name in pencil on the sheet, and voila, I'm a pro. ;) Kinda funny, because you go to the expo and look at the registration list, and there are 9 or 10 male pros, then about a dozen female pros (including Chrissie Wellington and Mirinda Carfrae), then at the very bottom of the list, scratched in pencil, is my name. I'm sure I'm also the only person on that list with hairy legs. Whatever.

I was the seventh amateur to cross the finish line last year, and beat a handful of the pros, so I know I can hang with a few of the fast guys, but I'm actually a bit apprehensive about toeing the start line with some of the individuals here, like Faris-Al Sultan, Richie Cunningham, and Massimo Cigana. I know that these guys can and will beat me by 10-15 minutes if they throw down 2:30ish times like previous years. I'm going to be happy with a 2:45. Last year, I was a 2:57. We'll see what happens! I need to have a *very* good day to get a time like that. There are 900 people racing, more than the 750 from last year.

You can't really follow this race online, but I'll post a blog on Sunday afternoon sometime with an update, which will be about 10 or 11pm Saturday night Pacific time.

Incidentally, here is one final shot.



Dirt roads, thai maniacs on scooters, beautiful pregnant woman. I like this picture. Over and out from Thailand.
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