Elvis and the typhoon

Following on from a lovely wedding (and how long ago that was and how slow I have been in blogging about it), we are excited to see Elvis is going to be making an appearance at dinner on Saturday evening. When I say excited, we smile and make all the right noises to the lovely Chinese lady who is in charge of Making Everything Run Smoothly and who drifts between tables at breakfast time, talking to guests. She tells us he is very good at some songs, implying he is not so good at others. The weather is not so good and there have been showers of rain, mostly when Mr Mason and I are walking slowly through the gardens having spotted what I thought was a gap in the rain. Apart from falling out of boats and being weak, one of the other side effects of the steroids I have been prescribed is to make my feet swell. The hot weather hasn’t helped and it gets to the point where I can barely fit into my flipflops. Walking barefoot is OK but there is a lot of coral on the sea bed and some of it seems to have made its way into the gardens making me shout loudly when I step on a piece. It hurts!

As the sun sets, we make our way to the restaurant to try to choose a table not too close to the makeshift stage. The excitement at seeing Elvis is slightly tamed by the fact that he is sitting behind the curtain of the stage but in full view of anyone crossing the garden, looking bored. Mr Mason jnr had a bad experience with Chinese Elvis some years ago. It was when Mr Mason jnr’s hair was long and blonde and he was thought to be a girl by some, including Chinese Elvis who, after failing to get his attention, laid his head on Mr Mason jnr’s shoulder and sang “Don’t be shy!” to our hilarity. It was a similar story in Egypt when a policeman would not let Mr Mason jnr into the men’s toilet but kept directing him to the ladies’. Whilst enjoying a massage in a northern region of Thailand, he was again thought to be a girl by the lady massaging him. Her companion tapped me on the leg and pointing at Mr Mason jnr said “Boy or girl?” When I responded, she laughed heartily, slapping her colleague. He was pursued in Venice by Italian boys who hissed at him and made kissing noises. The fact that he was wearing a Russian general’s overcoat at the time didn’t put them off. Although I digress, you can see why we chose tables away from the stage.

Thai Elvis is very chatty and tells both women and men that they are sexy. He is keen for audience participation and even takes requests although Mr Mason and his friend, Mr Giffin, ask for early songs due to their age and Elvis doesn’t always have the backing tracks. We are surprised to see there is a Mrs Elvis who has a tambourine and microphone and joins in enthusiastically. What Elvis really wants is for someone to duet with him and no-one on our table is going to take him up on this. After a few numbers, the rest of the wedding party arrive and with them some good souls who will participate. The wedding celebrant gets up and gives us a version of Suspicious Minds which we think is very brave. Elvis then wants some dancers to join him and so Mrs Safaie jnr gets up with 2 of her friends and they improvise a dance for Viva las Vegas! Click the Youtube link to see the result…


The following day is a bit of a worry. Some people are trying to go home when we hear there is a typhoon warning and all boats have been grounded (is that the right term?) which means getting back to the mainland to catch flights is going to be tricky. We spend time over breakfast wondering what will happen. The other topic of conversation is soft rock. We are not fans and the hotel plays soft rock constantly – a heady mix of Rod Stewart and Celine Dion. We think there may even be a track with them doing a duet and wonder why there is no health warning. Overdosing on soft rock can be serious, as you can see here. Mr Mason and Mr Giffin appear seriously affected.


However, the skies blacken and the wind gets up. The hotel decides to run one boat to the mainland so people can get away but instead of the 45 minutes it normally takes, it takes over 2 hours and we are sent photos to see just how wet people got. Luckily we do not have to leave until the following day. We expect tropical downpours and thunder and lightning and are quite disappointed when this doesn’t materialise. No doubt this is a bit selfish as elsewhere people get a battering from the storm but we are spared. As you might expect, the journey back to Phuket the following day involves me getting on and off a boat and, yes, I fall into the water again and arrive back with wet trousers. It seems to be my forte. Perhaps it is even a skill. I can report that since the wedding and the cessation of taking steroids, my legs have recovered a lot of their strength and I suspect I could do a better job of getting onto a speed boat now. I’m not going to test the theory, though.

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