Something I learned in November this year: good friends ask you if want to go on a trip to Phuket. Best friends send you a text telling you they’ve booked you a ticket to Phuket.
That’s exactly what happened to me just a few weeks ago when I landed back in my sweet little domicile after being home for Berger’s wedding. I was in for the trip (which Roisin had organized with 15 new friends from her INSEAD MBA program) instantly (there are two kinds of people in this world, after all). And after a strenuous work week, the trip couldn’t have come as a more sweet relief. A weekend of sun, drinks and a house full of people I barely knew? It was like being a cast member of the Real World: Asia.
I had some of the group a few times before, because Roisin had brought me to a few INSEAD events throughout the semester. This was partially due to her kind heart, but also partially due to the fact that she’s got the busiest social calendar on the planet and needs to create synergies wherever possible.
Anyway, we arrived in Phuket around 9PM Friday, rolling up to our baller villa just past 10PM. It was a complex of about 10 rooms, complete with a pool overlooking the ocean. Not too shabby. Roisin had organized the trip and a) secured her spot as the ideal bridal party member based on friendship + planning ability, and b) more, importantly, had booked a house with an on-site kitchen staff, who had been busy cracking away in the kitchen whipping up lots of different Thai noodle, soup and salad dishes for us. We were hungry kiddos, so after settling in and checking out the pool a bit, we sat down for a family-style meal. Someone had mentioned we expats were into Thai spice, and the kitchen staff took us quite literally and TURNED UP THE HEAT. I’ve got quite a good tolerance for spice, and even I was close to crying tears of mercy. The kitchen staff was pretty amused and did provide us some bread to cool our palettes, but we made a note for the next evening to bring down the spice on the food.
With our bellies full and our tongues cooling off, we shifted our eyes to the prize: party time. Roisin and I were in charge of alcohol procurement for the weekend, and anyone that has ever met us knows we ordered far too much. (Better safe than sorry!!) With the bottles popping and the cocktails mixing, the group of us turned up the music and had ourselves a little dance party in that massive villa that felt cooler than a club.
No surprise here, but the next morning was difficult, to say the least. We were all feeling a bit ‘dull,’ and had gone to sleep so late that we were exhausted, too. People slept in quite late, grazing over a breakfast of eggs, toast and coffee, coffee, coffee. And more coffee. The students of the program (e.g., everyone but me) had some assignments to do, the pool was open and the sun was shining bright, and Roisin had some ladies come to the villa for manicures, pedicures and massages (see note above on future bridal party). So the morning was filled with activities where everyone lazily did their own thing. My choice? Massage, obviouslyyyyy. I simply cannot stress enough the quality: price dynamic of massages in Asia, so I always get one when I can. The massage was followed by a refreshing dip in the pool, which really helped resurrect my spirit.
Around lunch, it was time to head out. We had a half day boat adventure ahead of us, and Roisin had booked the awesome vendor we used for a friend’s bachelorette party in 2016. The agenda was fantastic then, and was fantastic on this day, too: sailing around a few islands on the Andaman Sea, a fresh seafood lunch, (strong) speaker system, endless floaties, and lots of drinks. My kind of Saturday afternoon.
A day in the sun spent swimming and drinking means one thing: nap time. Most people completely passed out on the drive home, especially since our plan was to head out into the town that evening. We got home and hopped in the pool to wake ourselves up, and people grazingly took to their rooms to shower and primp throughout. Around 11PM, dinner was served (what happens when you travel with Europeans), and we ate our delicious and well-spiced food together. We had a bit of trouble coordinating taxis, most of the group did not feel strongly about checking out the (trashy) clubs in Phuket, and we had had a blast dancing around together in our villa the night before, so we decided to stay in that evening. A game of cards, more drinks, more pool, and more music. A low-key and fun AF Saturday night.
Sunday: our last day in paradise. It started in the same way that Saturday had, with people floating between the pool, the breakfast and the manis/pedis/massages. We all naturally made our way to the pool around noon, and spent the rest of the day parked there, chatting and finishing up the rest of the copious amounts of wine we still had left in the villa. A super lazy Sunday, and the best way to finish off the weekend.
We arrived to the airport around 9PM for a 10PM flight, got ourselves sorted and headed to the lounge (thanks Ana for your credit card baller-ness) for drinks and eats while we want to depart. After that, it as back to Singy for another week before I jetted off to Jakarta for work.
While I don’t think the MBA life is for me (due to math), I’m so happy I’ve been able to meet Roisin’s friends from the program. A group of truly incredible people. And it also means I’ve gotten four extra months with Roisin in Singapore – what more can long-distance besties ask for? Thanks to INSEAD for sending them here, and a big thanks to Roisin for bringing me along for the ride.
Some photos from my trip to Phuket: