another delayed blog!
25.04.2008 - 02.05.2008
Why on earth does it always seem like I have left it ages between these and have loads to say which i cant fully remember - mean while in the same time Leanne has written a few small essays in the days in between. Its a little like being back at school and not doing your homework till the last minute by which time it seems almost too much to do!
From finishing my dive course in Krabi and a few drinks to celebrate (mine had a flower in it!) we got a transfer the next day from our guest house to Koh Phi Phi. Getting off the boat was very hectic, the small pier is full of people getting on boats, getting off boats, people trying to get you to stay at their guest house, taxis, taxi boat drivers etc etc etc. I should also point out once you've dug your bag out of the pile and loaded yourself off, to get off your boat you almost always have to climb across a gap to the next boat, go up and/or down some small spiral stairs onto the next boat and on to the pier... its exciting... in a way!
We ignored all the touts and flip flopped into Phi Phi town which has lots of narrow ish but paved streets. Since it was completely devastated in the Tsunami everything is relatively new like the streets and buildings, the lay out etc. This means they cater very well to all the wester toilets but does make it a lot more expencive. All the rooms come with cable, air con, hot showers which we had been doing quite happily with out. We decided given the smallness of the town the best thing to do to find accomodation here would be to leave Leanne with the bags and a coke in a cafe and I would flip flop about asking prices etc. The standard reply is always 1000 bhat or 600 for a fan room, which were very few and far between. Eventually as we ummed and ahhd the woman from the restaurant came up to us and offered us a room there, air con etc for 800... happy with this compromise given the blistering heat that day we accepted and heaved our bags up the narrow stairs to the room.
That evening we booked ourselves onto a big boat tour of the area the next day with snorkling and trips to Maya bay (from the beach) and monkey beach (to see more monkeys) etc etc etc they would also then take us on a drive about the sites again in the evening at sunset. However the next day proved to be cloudy cloudy cloudy. This didnt interrupt our snorkling too much though.
The first stop was around the corner from Maya bay on Phi Phi lay - the smaller island. The guides told us to leave our flippers for this one, to take our flip flips and mask and to swim over to the rocks -being careful - climb up to the step and using the rope clamber up through a hole to go walk over the island to the beach that was the setting for the beach movie. They explained the boat wouldnt stop there though it would go past it - so sure enough off we set. I was swimming slowly having a look at the fishes mean while Leanne had sprinted off leaving her a little breathless in time for our scramble. I put my flip flops on in advance as i saw it becoming more shallow, sadly for Leanne she didn't and so got a few scrapes from the coral. We very ungracefully crawled along with the rope for support and scrambled through the hole with the waves lapping rather more forcefully than necessary around our feet ( "eeeek crabs!!")
we walked over the island to survey the famed beach. Never having seen the movie this wasnt all that big a deal for me. While it was breathtakingly beautiful with the white sand and the limestone cliffs covered in greenery - it didn't hold any previous thoughts for me. The movie the Beach was one of the reasons Leanne decided she wanted to go traveling so the fact that the bay was packed with speed boats and tourists was a bit of a disappointment to her so we flip flopped /swam back to the boat and then snorkeled around the area till it was time to go. The rest of our tour was filled with more snorkelling and other beach trips. One of our snorkels was at a site that is often visited by reef sharks but we didn't see any ourselves. On another stop we could use the sea Kyaks and Leanne has some rude things to say about my ability here which are totally unfounded and if she wasn't such a sporting control person she would see i am clearly excellent and the one doing all the work and she was wrong wrong wrong. but whatever. I'm not one to hold a grudge ... or say ... refuse to paddle at all on the way back!
Sadly at monkey bay, all the monkeys must have been napping but we had a nice snorkel anyway - where one of the fishes BIT ME!!! ok so it didn't have teeth, but it sucked on my leg!!
We decided to skip the sunset bit as it was cloudy and we headed back when we could and grabbed a shower and some dinner.
The next day as we had felt a bit home sick we found a mobile phone place and got ourselves some. We spent the rest of the day snoozing on the beach and reading our books as it was sunny again. That evening after charging and working out how our phones worked we got some credit and immediately text our mothers and had a small competition about who's would reply first... Much to my displeasure Leannes mum text her back TWICE before my phone had even bleeped at all... but then luckily my mum called so that seems to be even. Its nice knowing we can be in more direct contact than email now.
AFter that we headed over to the irish bar for a few drinks then to another one to see a lady boy show. They were late, in retrospect this is not surprising really and the show was ... interesting. There were obviously the fantastic costumes ... some of the transformations were less than complete leading to bouts of hysteria from us in the middle row. We had refused the front seats just incase of such an occurrence! we have some absolutely priceless photos and videos though.
When it was all over we got chatting to the people who were sat in front of us and after that headed down to the beach party. However we didnt realise given the ladyboy's promptness, the chatting etc that it was 1:30 so the beach party promptly shut down around us! Never ones to be thwarted in the hunt of a party we set off with many other revellers to hippies bar further down the coast which reportedly kept going till 4 am. This is an interesting concept. They turned off all the lights and had a screen showing the football. The bar was closed but men with bags of cans of beer strolled about selling them at extortionate prices. EVentually we decided to call it a day as we had a boat to Phuket the next day and should really get some sleep before having to pack and check out. The next day was a struggle, we're not going to lie. AFter fortifying ourselves with breakfast from the "little brittain cafe" who import heinze beans for these occassions we grabbed boat tickets and got on board. However the effect of last night was felt and Leanne promptly felt queezy... i was mostly fine so decided to read - obviously the best course of action. AFter about 20 minutes i could no longer remain downstairs at eye level with the waves and escaped for fresh air and to see a horizon that was not moving so much. Eventually wondering where i was Leanne found me and we lay on the deck (ok i lay) untill we arrived at Phuket.
We are staying in Phuket town in a guest house called the Thalang guest house. Round the corner is one featured as a koh san flop house in the beach but given the fact it hasn't done anything to improve its appearance we decided not to stay there!
I went for a flip flop, Leanne napped and then we dined and slept tired out after our wave rolling day.
We woke up to the sunshine and jumped on a local bus to one of the beach resorts down the coast. Not really my thing i have to say, a bit like a cross between Majorcas trashy bits, brighton and blackpools illuminations. Package holiday ers eat your heart out. We flip fopped down through the thousands of stalls and bars and bars and bars and bars and some more bars to the beach ... where... there was surf! Joy not being the surfing experts we instead got a body board and faced the waves... which were bigger than me! i jest not! Thoroughly exhausted we collapes on a sun lounger so i could devour my trashy novel, it was great, and then lunch then back and a nap and then some beers and then out again...
ahh i have 8 minutes left of my hour i had better go,
in good news as we cant get a direct flight to Chaing mai we are having to stop over in Bangkok and going there by over night bus so we can spend the day getting a Vietnamese visa and then another night bus to chaing mai and then on again from there to where we are not quite sure but Laos will follow on!
ah it also appears to be the second not the first as i thought. blast!