Making way for the Kumars in Room 304
A couple of days ago, the manager of our hotel came and told us that they had a problem, and that we may be able to help them solve it. It seemed that they had overbooked a family suite, starting on the 29th December, for the rest of our stay. A large party of Indian guests had booked into the hotel, including a family by the name of Kumar, for whom they had allocated one room. In fact, when they checked the print-outs, there were actually two Kumar families, but only one room available for them.
Would we be prepared to transfer to a different, more expensive hotel a few kilometers up the road on Lamai Beach itself, at no additional cost? They would also give us all transfers, a three-course Thai meal -special set-up on the beach - with a drink, and knock a third off the price of Christina's last night back there (she is staying an extra night, because she made a mistake when booking her flights!) They had decided to ask us because we seemed like an amenable family, and as Christina and Immy are young people, they might not mind being right in Lamai for a few nights. We discussed it, and decided to make the move, though we were sad to leave Royal Beach with its quiet, family atmosphere, empty little beach and friendly staff.
So the morning was spent packing and moving, and the afternoon lazing around on the sunloungers here at Lamai, by the horizon pool. This photo is the view from our balcony; it's certainly a lovely location, and the rooms are great. Instead of having a family suite of two rooms with a shared bathroom, we have two premium rooms, so the girls now have their own bathroom with a huge stone bathtub, and their own seaview balcony. And Nicky has declared the bed in our room to be comfier. But we are a little sad…. This complex is much larger and busier; there is an impersonal feel to it compared with Royal Beach. We miss the pair of junk-food Mynah birds stalking about on the balcony in search of crisps (they always rejected fruit!) and I know we'll miss Bai-Tong's smiling face, 'Sawadee don cha, Tanya, my mummy!' at the fabulous breakfast served in the restaurant high above the sparkling sea (from where I took my first blip of the holiday), with classical music playing. Well, let's be honest, I may be the only one who misses the classical music…. But the breakfasts and the smiles were amazing. And the WiFi here is not as good – disaster for blip!
We didn't, in the end, have the special set-up on the beach dinner because the weather threatened heavy rain and the tide was a bit high. As we were checking out, we had a long talk with the manager and she was showing us photos of what their beach is normally like. Since we have been here, it has been quite a small, steeply-shelving beach – but this is not 'right', apparently. There was a big storm a few weeks ago, which washed away a lot of the sand and completely changed it. People used to be able to walk right out to the reef at low tide, and go snorkelling there, and swim from the far side, but not any more. 'There's just too much water, and it's the same all over the island, whoever you talk to, they are saying it's scary – the sea is not the same any more. We thought it would go down after the storm, but it hasn't.' It sounds worrying.
This evening we went to Dr Frog's for dinner again, as we like it so much and it's a little closer now. Shortly before we left to come back, Immy started complaining of a sore eye and the brightness of the lights. By the time we got to the hotel, she was worried that she'd had a stroke or some sort of seizure. We looked at her eye and it appeared entirely normal. She didn't appear to have symptoms of meningitis, and what she was describing, I suddenly realised, sounded suspiciously like a migraine. She took a couple of paracetamol and went straight to bed in a dark, cool room. I hope she'll be better in the morning.