Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Koh Phi Phi (the glimpse of paradise)

From Bangkok we put all our faith into "Mama's Travel Agency" and got on their coach to Koh Phi Phi. They made us walk 20 minutes in the heat with our heavy bags through the winding streets of bangkok, and eventually piled us all into a bus (little did we know until days later that while we slept on the bus the driver had cronies going through everyone's luggage looking for what to steal, and they chose John's leather jacket. Balls.)

We made friends with a canadian and a kiwi who were also heading to Koh Phi Phi when we found ourselves stranded in the middle of nowhere with the promises that in a few HOURS we'd be shuttled to Krabi. We found a restaurant where there was no english at all, and tried ordering using phrasebooks and the good old "pointing" method. It worked for ordering beer, not so much for ordering food. But it was tasty and we were hungry after the nightlong bus journey. Then we eventually got shoved ona boat, and arrived in Koh Phi Phi in the early evening.
It was the beginning of the weekend, so no accomadation was available. We walked the length of the island looking for places, the four of us (now five since we also picked up a girl while on the boat) splitting up to find somewhere to sleep and tell the others.

We finally ended up in a bamboo hut that looked like it would die if rain hit. We slept so soundly though, from sheer exhaustion, though I awoke with a myriad of mosquito and ant bites, since ants decided to take over our little bamboo hut at some point in the night. Hurrah.

The next day John and I woke early and went to find somewhere else to stay. Having found it, we reported back to the rest, but only the Kiwi wanted to come (the other two seemed to like roughing it), so we three moved to more concrete establishment. Off to the beach that day to relax and to try and meet claire (the girl who I had met while trekking through the jungle in Chang Mai).

Claire finally found me, and so after a catch up we wandered the town, ate, and booked a day trip around the island snorkelling (remember, JOHN CANT SWIM and HATES WATER, what a good sport).

The next day we got up and began our tour..
got on the boat, where John in his adorable paranoia was the only person wearing a life jacket..

first stop was snorkelling off "Long Beach" at "shark point" in hopes of seeing black tipped reef sharks (harmless). I saw some amazing marine life, beautiful fish of every colour, shape and size (even pencil fish: the name gives it away). Claire managed to see a whole slew of sharks, and just as she was taking me over to see them we were called back on to the boat to continue heading off.

Poor John in the meantime, struggled to convince himself to get into the water where he couldnt touch ground. He hung to the edge of the boat but didnt like the bobbing effect of the life jacket, so got back in and called it a day.

Our next stop was Bamboo Island, where we stopped for lunch..

Just like Koh Phi Phi, the water was luke warm, crystal clear, the sand was white and flour like, and it all had the feel of paradise.
We ate and then wandered around the island.

The Three Musketeers

John and I then wandered around the island, trying to get to the far end by clambering over rocks and wading through the shallow water..

The rocks themselves would have been a geologist's dream, beautiful with wierd swirls running through them.. incredibly picturesque

But we could see a storm coming in. We didnt think it would reach us for a while, but within five minutes there was thunder and torrential rain.. me huddling my sarong over my camera to protect it while running through the palm trees looking for shelter.
We found some, reuinted with Claire, and waited the storm out before returning to our long boat and leaving the island.

Our next stop was Monkey Beach..
The beach was covered in little monkeys, being fed by the tourists sweet corn on the cob and other fruits..
They seemed cute at first, taking the food from our hands and not causing any hassle..

But first impressions can be so decieving.
Claire and I got hungry and opted to eat a corn on the cob each ourselves. She passed me mine, and i walked towards the water shore to eat it when a monkey came up and tried to take it. I pulled my arm high in the air to not let him have it, and another came up from behind and bit my leg until I surrendered it, and ran off with my corn on the cob- I was left hungry (having not even had the chance to have ONE BITE of the thing) and in serious stinging pain (both physically, and my hurt pride).

It seems they pick on the weakest. No one else was bit by a monkey, and the beach was filled with tourists eating their own food. But i was the smallest person there, so I'm attributing it to that. I was beaten up by two monkeys who were probably giving eachother highfives for the pleasure.

and here is the asshole enjoying the spoils of his victory

I blame it on us idiot humans again, who feed them. The animal becomes accustomed to being fed, and if it is denied it becomes agressive, and attacks. YAY for me. A product of mankinds idiocy, round of applause, please.

If you see the red on my thigh, that's the bite. It eventually bruised over as well, so it was pretty painful. And the thais just smeared what looked to be lip balm on it and told me i'd be fine. HAH.

Our next point of call was Maya Bay, where the movie "The Beach" was filmed. Beautiful, but the rain was lingering so it was cold, and i had to stay in the water just to be warm..

It was precisely here where John decided to try and swim, without any floatation devices which he usually depends on (he's a fan of armbands) he gave it a go, and for the first time ever, succeeded in swimming for a few meters in length..

After that he was addicted, and even tried snorkelling now that he knew he could touch ground whenever he needed to.

The next day we went to see if I needed a rabies vaccination against the evil monkey, but the doctor on Koh Phi Phi's english was useless and he just kept saying "preventative vaccine" as if he was trying to sell it to me, and insisted he was unaware of whether or not the island had any cases of rabies. Useless.
We went to Long beach to lay in the sand and Claire decided to head off to malaysia, leaving John and I on the beach.
Spent another day or two on Koh Phi Phi, but the people were starting to drive me nuts, it was a crowded tourist trap island, and for all its natural beauty I couldnt shirk the annoyance of people: I'm not really a people person at best of times, but the way people become as tourists is even worse. Its like they enter a Hobbsian state of nature, where they realize they nolonger belong to society and are at cart blanche to act as they please, usually to the detriment of their neighbours and fellow travellers.

We read in the guidebooks that the Trang Province offered beautiful islands with much less people but just as stunning views, so we set off to see them.


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