I decided that I needed a holiday one Thursday morning while I was in the office. On top of my work, I had to explain to a stylist the difference between being stylish and being merely trendy. It didn't make my "pep talk" any easier to see her endearing little moustache bristling. The fiendish features editor later (unhelpfully) said that it was the Salvador Dali in her trying to get out.
Phuket time is one hour behind Singapore time, but it seems like an entirely different experience of time altogether. Everything feels slower once you arrive at the airport, which is casual and 1980s ugly, and lighter, as if you just threw away five years of designer clothes from your wardrobe.
The last time I was in Phuket, the island was nothing but wooden shacks and rubber plantations. Now there are distressing excavations and diggings (but where are the workers?) and tractors with no drivers. Huge and largely similar billboards advertise the hotels and condos that will be standing where there are now just piles of yellow upturned earth. Is this progress? And does it all have to be so ugly?
As we drive further into the depths of Phuket in the evening light, my Phuket emerges. A young girl is planting her three little siblings on a scooter before jumping on herself. All four race off into the dusty, winding hill roads, her talcum-ed brown neck is thrown back in a white laugh, her just-had-a-bath hair is flying in the wind.
Phuket for me is the trials of schoolboys in orange, white and blue uniforms walking home after school. They all sport that brusque-short haircut that makes them look like budding thugs, savage yet sweet, violent and vulnerable at the same time. They stare at our speeding, dark minibus insolently.
Phuket for me is always sunset time. A slow island slowing down as planters go home for a bathe by the well; as shops close and their owners sit outside to enjoy the breeze.
Even the stray dogs look content.
And then we arrive at the Royal Phuket Yacht Club.