We finally met up with Mum and Dad in February after 5 months away from friends and family. Skyping and emailing are all very well, but staying in the five-star Centara Grand on Karon Beach at their generosity was better. We have stayed in a couple swanky hotels in our travels so far, but nothing prepared us for this luxury. The beach was a gorgeous golden slab sprinkled with free recliners and the hotel itself boasted five pools, a gym, water slides and four restaurants. And in case we got bored of that, there was a hot tub on our balcony.
Four days with the parents wasn’t enough, but we packed a lot in. We visited a Big Buddha, went on an elephant ride and then, at Mum’s suggestion caught a Lady Boy show curiously entitled ‘Simon Cabaret’. It was a three show a night affair full of glitter, neon and many flavours of crapness. The curtain had been up for less than a minute when Dad said, “I thought this would be truly awful, but I was wrong, it is so much worse than that.” Sparkling costumes and epic sets unfortunately could not mask the ill-rehearsed choreography, and the miming was worse than watching John Redwood trying to hum along to the Welsh National Anthem at the Conservative Party Conference. When one routine called for a sexy bend-over move, many of the dancers could not touch their toes without bending their knees so looked more like Grandad digging sprouts at the allotment than sexy sirens of the night. Mum and Rose loved it, Dad grumbled that it was of “zero cultural value” and I was stuck somewhere in between.
The following day we hired a catamaran and took it out to sea, but there were early signs that this trip would end in shame. As he cautiously eyed Dad and me, I found myself telling the rental man, “Don’t worry, we are both experienced sailors”; surely not a tempting of fate. Then I promised Mum at least five times that we would have her back on land after a quick ten minute spin before Dad and I went off alone. Heading out to sea was fine, but some very *ahem* complex and unseasonal currents meant getting a white knuckled Mum back to the beach took the best part of an hour. Sorry about that.
With the girls deposited beach-side, Dad and I had the boat to ourselves for some ‘proper’ sailing, whereupon I took the helm and, in full view of the Centara Grand sun bathers, promptly capsized. This sort of thing used to be standard for Dad and me, but he is now a 62 year old OBE with better things to do with his time than to be flung off a catamaran. Whilst he didn’t complain about breaking his prescription sunglasses, I think he minded. Crucially though, we managed to right the boat and get back on board before the emergency response team arrived. But only just. ‘Thank you my good man. Everything is ship-shape and Bristol fashion, why do you ask?’
It was so much fun hanging out with them again but it was over far too soon. Rose and I set off to meet friends in Koh Tao whilst Mum and Dad retired to the relaxation of the more secluded Centara Villas where, I am informed, after a round of golf Mum attended classes on napkin folding.