Daily Phuket #69: 07 August 2021 – Bubble Tea Café

Today was the first sunny Saturday in quite a long while. I spent most of it holed-up at home. In the morning, I added some more new music onto my new computer. There were plenty of great studio releases in July by the likes of Blues Traveler, Los Lobos, Son Volt, David Crosby, Jackson Browne, and Jimmy Barnes. And some new live releases by Blondie (sadly, only an EP), Foghat and a three-disc set by Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band covering his August 22, 1985, Giants Stadium concert as part of his monthly Live Archives series. So much to listen to!

Some of the music served as my soundtrack as I plunged into creating flashcards at midday. First up was a set of cards for my upcoming lessons on “Going Shopping” with the grammar focus on uncountable nouns for P6. After a few hours’ break to finish reading Brad Thor’s Near Dark and to eat my delivered meal (Burger King, again, took nearly two hours to reach me!), I am about ready to start work on flashcards for my P5 classes on “Places in the School”. Although I do have a set of cartoon images that I plan to use, I just realized I could have spent some time last week wandering around the school and taking photographs of the various types of rooms there.

View towards the west along Th. Dibuk from in front of Limelight Avenue shopping center

Late in the afternoon, I did venture out for a quick walk around the neighborhood. I had planned to go a bit farther but I began worrying about the sun warming me up. I didn’t want to set off the alarm at 7-Eleven, my ultimate destination. So, I just made a big circle walking down my narrow lane (called a soi in Thai) which enters the rear parking lot of a small two-story shopping center called Limelight Avenue. It is in this parking lot that the weekly Indy Market sets up on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday afternoons. Rounding the front of the mini-mall, I headed east along the main road (Dibuk) towards the intersection with Thanon Suthat (Suthas Road). On the northwest corner sits Phuket’s oldest bookstore (Sengho) which is now pretty much all stationery and school supplies rather than much reading material.

Heading north along Suthat/Suthas, one passes one of about a thousand branches of Amazonian Cafe before coming to 7-Eleven. I dipped in, reluctantly raised my hand to the scanner (36.6°C which gets you in the door), and picked up a bright orange basket. A few minutes later, I left 187 baht poorer with four bottles of Miranda root beer, one bottle of Sainumpubing Sirishin orange juice, a KitKat Chunky bar, a Snickers bar, and two Bon-O-Bon packets (hazelnut and strawberry yoghurt) — good weekend snacks and drinks.

As I continued northward, I took note for the hundredth time in a year of the numerous new businesses that have opened along this stretch of road in the past year. Almost all of them are well-appointed noodle shops with indoor seating and presumably strong air-conditioning as they are all point eastward towards the brutal morning Sun. I often wonder how they are remaining in business as it is rare that I see more than one or two tables occupied as I walk past.

Mongni Cafe for your bubble tea needs, plus Aogami Ramen Cafe for yet another choice of noodles in the neighborhood

Today’s featured photo includes two businesses that must have opened up in just the past week or two. I certainly never noticed them before. One is a ramen noodles shop (so many noodles!) housed in the lobby of the Arbern Hotel (itself less than two years old, having opened shortly before the pandemic took hold) as is the bubble tea shop. The latter was opened across the street around the same time as the hotel but must have moved over very recently. I ever need to buy noodles from a sit-down restaurant, I have plenty to choose from. I may even duck in someday to try that bubble tea (although I prefer not to have gelatinous globules getting in the way of a good drink).

These are all owned by the same elderly man who started with the motorbike repair shop that you see just beyond the giant cup of bubble tea. I believe he is also responsible for the nearby travel agency and what I believe to be a combination dog-grooming service and takeaway restaurant at the corner. The guy is kind of a grouch and I have never seen him smile or wear anything but a grease-stained grey t-shirt and well-worn blue jeans. He’s rich so he can wear whatever he damn well pleases, I guess.

Wat Wichit Sangkharam, named after the founding father of Phuket Town

Also across the street in this area is Wat Wichit Sangkharam, the entrance to which is a bit farther up Th. Narisorn which runs northeast from entering Th. Suthas/Suthat just opposite of the Supalai Park @Downtown condominium tower. The temple was built by order of Phraya Wichit Songkhram circa 1850, when Phuket Town was first being developed under his guiding hand.

I used to teach at Piboonsawasdee Municipal School which sits behind the wat; the last time I was there, I noticed some construction going on near the corner of the temple grounds. This must have been preparation for the installation of a statue of the town’s founding father which was dedicated on 28 February 2020, right before the local shutdowns began. The statue was sculpted by renowned Thai artist Sunti Pichetchaiyakul, who is best known for creating the sculpture of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX) at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where King Bhumibol was born. The statue was created from a photo of Phraya Wichit Songkhram taken in 1849. I will try to walk over there sometime soon to take a photo of it.

Just past the dog-groomer restaurant slightly farther north on T. Suthas/Suthat, it’s a left turn into my soi and my apartment building is just a short distance away to the west. It’s quiet and close to many interesting places. I really need to take photos of more of them but it can be difficult to find background information. For example, one of Phuket Town’s two remaining traditional blacksmiths is on my soi and there is an attractive clan shrine behind that which I have never visited. There are Hindu and Sikh temples as you travel a short distance farther north and the street ends at the east to west intersection with Th. Maliwan. Across the road from that point is the old Phuket Provincial Prison which is dreadfully overcrowded but will get some relief soon as the new prison is nearly finished. I think they used the new facility as a quarantine hospital for a while last year.

I ended up ordering Burger King for delivery once again although I did come close to trying Sizzler as they seem to have reopened. The food took nearly two hours to reach me and everything was ice cold when I got it (except for the can of Coke which came with the combo — cheaper to order the “set” than the burger and tater-tots separately). Oh, well. I think I will try Sizzler next Saturday.

And now back to flashcards…

One thought on “Daily Phuket #69: 07 August 2021 – Bubble Tea Café

  1. Pingback: Daily Phuket #71: 15 August 2021 – Phuket Town’s Founding Father – Asian Meanderings

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