So the soft sounds are transliterated as p, b, d and k while the hard sounds are transcribed as ph, bh, dh, kh and th.
Which makes for some nasty mispronunciations.
The island I am on at the moment is called ภูเก็ต. It is pronounced poo-ket. the accent is on the final syllable. Since the p is a hard p, it is transliterated as Phuket. And Thai is another example. The first letter is a hard T, and the word is pronounced Tie.
Thursday morning I took an expensive hotel taxi to the airport, and a Thai Airways flight to ภูเก็ต. It was a full flight, but a very large plane and not a lot of people with big carry-ons, so there was plenty of rooom for mine. I had abandoned my oversized wheeled carry-on bag at the hotel, and fit all my drugs into a medium sized knapsack. All my clothes were in a checked suitcase.
The flight was uneventful until about 15 minutes from the island, when the seat belt sign went on, and we had some seriously aerobatic moments of turbulance, which the dozens of kids on board reacted to as if it was a Disneyland ride. Much much better than crying and screaming. Fun, actually. The whole flight was overcast, which is sad because I had a window seat and it traversed the sourthern half of the country. My camera GPS did not work while the plane was in flight, but it was fine inside the plane on the ground. We did get some views of the islands by Pangnga, but it was cloudy and dark. We landed about 1:30 pm.
I found a taxi to the hotel, again for too much Baht, and the guy had no idea where the hotel was. I thought I did, but when we finally found it, it was not where the Agoda.com ad said it was. It does not have a view of the ocean, and while it is "meters from the beach" those are about 300 meters down an alley, past three hotels, two massage spas and two restaurants.
The Grand Sunset Hotel is ultra-modern, the room is small, the flat screen TV only gets Thai, Japanese and French channels, and it took 10 minutes to figure out the silver-fixtured shower. The bathroom door is frosted glass.
The air conditioner does not quite hack it, and there is no direct light for the desk, which is survivable because my laptop has a lighted keyboard. The bell boy, who is also a manager, showed me that the key needs to be inserted into a slot in the wall for the electricity to be on. Which meant that when I left to grab a bite and explore, the air conditioner was off, as well as the camera and laptop battery chargers. It was 95 degrees outside. There is a tiny balcony with two chairs and a table. I stole one chair for the desk, since it didn't have one. I needed two throw pillows to get me to desk level. The fridge is stocked with beer and Coke. I pushed that aside to make way for insulin and (free) water.
I took a tour of the beach, was surprised to see several svelte blond women in thongs on the lounge chairs, walking on the sidewalk (usually with a male person) and wading. Swimming is not happening, because it's rainy season, the winds are high, so are the waves, and the rip tides are almost palpable from the shore. Kind of pretty, though.
Back to the hotel, took a nap, processed some photos (free wi-fi in the room here), naped some more, and took a songteaw to Patong, the next beach over, which has a street of a thousand girlie bars. Much to my surprise, two of those bars feature Russian women. I only saw one ladyboy bar, down from about a dozen in 2008. I had a soda at several bars, practiced my Thai, and when the noise from Thai rap music, which mostly features American swear words, got too much I sought the solace of the indoor mecca of Starbucks.
Found a big pharmacy, showed my hand, and the guy behind the counter actually seemed to know what it was, and what it needed, which was an anti-bacterial cream.
Back to the hotel, peeled off my wet T-shirt, applied the cream, and had a good night's sleep.