Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket

We have a room near the kiddie pool. Which means we also have a room near 3 adult pools, the inner tube river, the diving pool, five or six waterslides, a big whirlpool hot tub, a stepped plateau of semi-hidden wading pools, plus this big pond called the Andaman Sea.

I took the kids out to play when I was watching them today; Nam went to her conference. I was careful to slather them down with sunscreen which of course meant I forgot to put any on myself. There is nothing worse than being forced into the hot sun when you have kids screaming for you to come in the pool and the sunscreen is back in the room. I took one for the team and got burned a little — it was worth it, though. Taught the little rascals how to close their mouth and nose and dunk their heads underwater, and little things like that are priceless.

Haven’t taken so many photos yet, and I’m frankly sick of seeing tourists take so many photos of their ugly ass selves, but here are a few shots from our balcony.

Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket

This place is awesome. Definitely the nicest place we’ve ever paid for by ourselves. And this has got to be the best time to visit Phuket, right at the end of low season. Deserted beaches yet all the businesses are open and gearing up for high season. Also, everything is cheap and can be haggled down.

Free SMS Messaging in Gmail

This could be a killer new feature for some people. Apparently Google at least partially pays for it by the return messages from the mobile device (that you’ve first sent a message from Gmail).

The way it works is that you start with 50 credits (displayed in the Gmail chat window where you send the initial SMS message). Every SMS message you send from Gmail uses one credit. Every message replied to from a mobile device restores 5 credits (for a maximum of 50). If you use all the credits, 1 credit will be restored automatically in 24 hours. So I guess you could game the system (because you’re a rebel screwing the system, man) by never replying from a mobile device.

So I’ve been trying it with both supported carriers (DTAC and True) in Thailand this morning, and there’s one big problem: The messages are arriving to the phones 8 to 10 minutes after I send them from Gmail. Too slow. The return messages are much faster, taking 2 or 3 minutes, but this is also very slow compared to sending between mobile devices in-country. I hope Google can use their magic influence to make their free SMS messaging a bit more usable in Thailand, but maybe it’s a case of you get what you pay for.