Saturday, February 26, 2011

Phuket and Kho Phi Phi

We blindly chose a reasonably priced hotel to rendezvous in Phuket after being apart for more than a week. Although the room was fine, we found ourselves in the that part of town made up of massage-escort shops. A place where you will wake up to find ladies and lady-boys still meandering the streets. Oh well, we were not there very long.

Asiana finished a five day course for Thai massage in Chang Mai, took a long bus down to Bangkok, spent the day there, took another night bus to Phuket, spent the next full day on a bus getting shuttled to the Miramar border to extend her Thai visa, then returned to Phuket. Three big days of a lot of buses. I just grabbed a couple of flights, Bali-Kuala Lumpur-Phuket.

Excited to see each other, we spent the whole evening enjoying a few beers and exchanging the many stories that had piled up over the previous week. We were like two little chipmunks chatting rapidly back and fourth attempting to rebalance our energies together. We purchased our boat tickets to zoom out to one of the worlds most famous beaches the next morning.

The boat was packed with people all excited to spend some time in Kho Phi Phi (PP Island). Some, like us had been traveling a while saving the beach and luxuries for the end. Others were just starting their trip having left their cold origins recently and now slathering on suntan lotion and laying out on the deck ready to cook up a base layer.

The hour and a half ride pulled into the bay at PP Island. Little white sand beaches, light green water, towering karst cliffs... yep this place looks just like the pictures in the magazines and postcards. Outside of the two main large back to back bays trimmed with long white beaches there are other small coves that one can take longboats or kayaks to. Like most of the gorgeous spots on earth, PP Island is completely set up for tourists. It is set up well, too. Bungalows, restaurants, bars, clothing shops, tour boats, snorkeling huts, and beach chair renters are packed onto the thin strip of flat land that sits in the middle of the island.

Our "Twin Palms" bungalow is just twenty paces from the beach. It is also twenty paces from all the beach bars that rock out all night distributing sound through our paper thin walls. We spent the first afternoon on the beach. In the evening, we befriended to a couple of travelers staying across from us that we stuck with for the rest of the night eating out and dancing.

I don't really pride myself on having decent geographic knowledge, but I've always thought I had a good grasp of the globe. I was a bit embarrassed to have to tell these two nice guys I never heard of the place they were from and even where it was. Eritrea is an african country sandwiched between Ethiopia, and Somalia, across the Red Sea from Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
These guys had lived in Norway for the past 22 years just finished doctor school and doing a year of travel before finally heading home to bring their medical knowledge back to their country. Their school was attended by mostly Americans, so they were well versed in English slang. We had a very fun night with these guys.

The beach is cleared of umbrellas and lounge chairs and transformed into a strip of nightclubs across the sand. Tiki torches, rope lights, small tables with beach cushions are laid out to watch the local crew of fire dancers attracting patrons. The coast is lit up with spinning fire tossed up in the air in time to the different beats the DJ are pumping out from their respective clubs. It makes for a very fun night out, dancing, drinking buckets of rum, and finally shutting down near midnight. I actually retired early while Asiana and the others held down the dance floor. It's a blessing that the party does not go on all night and everyone can drag themselves through the sand to their huts to get some rest for a full day of doing nothing on the beach the next day.

Location:Kho Phi Phi Don Thailand

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