~9:45am, December 1, 2004 Air Asia Flight Phuket to Singapore
Amazingly this flight actually left on time. Wow. It took 4 flights to get an AirAsia flight where I don’t have to hum “Delay-O”. As I look out the window I see the amazing Phang Nga coastline with its towing islands dotting the sea. Sentinals of long-ago geological forces.
Well, where were we? I actually passed out in bed while writing the last entry so, Phang Nga is where I’ll start. When I last left the intrepid crew they were drunkenly weaving through the amazing scenery of Phang Nga. We had made the Muslim village where Chris and I handled a very tame eagle. Our pirate talk got ever more pronounced. Arrr!
Andrew rolled his eyes.
With this last stop we made it back to the quay where the tour had photographed each of us (well, minus Andrew for some reason — not that he was complaning!) and placed our pictures on commemorative plates (cough, ugh). In what I can only imagine to be a fit of madness (with Chris this is a state of normalcy), Chris bought all the plates telling everyone that he must have the entire collection. Sigh.
Our evening was spent on the beach where we all stripped down on an empty white sand beach and jumped into frolic. Andrew wisely refrained from photographing us, though the photos of Keli topless I’m sure would have increased traffic to my photo site a million-fold. Chris in a fit of madness started taunting Andy (the Andaman Sea) climaing that his “fire stance” beat Andy’s “ocean stance”. He also went “down with pants” and taunted Andy. Andy responded with several lightning flashes. With sand in every crevice of our bodies and clothes and having consumed vast amounts of wine we headed to bed. The plan for the next morning was snorkeling.
I was first up the next morning and promptly booked an afternoon trip to Phi Phi Isalnd (unfortunately pronounced Pee Pee). One of the “thousand things to do before dying!” Andrew was feeling a little off and opted to sunbathe on the beach instead. Keli was extremely sick in the morning. Apparently some of the veggies might have had some fish oil or something which she is allergic to. We immediately downgraded the score for the previous nights restaurant. However armed with a gallon or two of water, tons of fruit, she persevered.
The speedboat ride out to Phi Phi was fairly rough. I blamed Chris. This was Andy’s revenge for his taunting. Chris is a bastard.
However, despite Andy’s attempts to throw us overboard we make it Phi Phi. First stop was an amazing beach – “Maya Bay”. The water is emerald green and clear, and the bay is surrounded by cliffs. This apparently was where the movie The Beach was filmed. The question going through my mind as I imagined negative 20 degrees in Edmonton was “Why the heck do I live where I do?” This is paradise.
Next we traversed around Phi Phi Ley and headed towards Phi Phi Don for some snorkeling. At first when I jumped in I was kind of disappointed — where was the coral? But a little swimming brought me to this amazing land. The sea was alive with fish, multi-coloured coral and sea plants. It was a scene right out of Finding Nemo. I could well imagine that amongst the thousands of fish encircling us one of them was a shy little fish on a school field trip. We all had the opportunity to feed the fish from a banana. Literally hundred swam up to you and you could feel the pecks on the banana as they surrounded your hand. I really have to get over my fear of deep water and learn how to dive. Hopefully some of Chris’ underwater photos came out.
Our last night together was spent mainly in what we all considered was the best restaurant of the trip — The Royal Tandoor. The Indian food was heavenly. Andrew was as giddy as a school boy on discovering a place which not only understood the concept of Vegetarianism as he defined it but also produced fantastic food. Our attempts at gorging on food was successful. The owner did magic tricks for us and the service was impeccable.
One more quick night visit to Karon Beach. This one only lasted 5-10 mins as Andy showed his anger at Chris’ privates by showering us with rain. Goodbyes are said, bags are packed — time to sleep.
My final full day in Phuket was to be spent Whitewater Rafting and Elephant trekking. After seeing off Andrew and Mike, I set off. At $60, the lunch provided to me yesterday would have been half the cost in Canada — it was that good. But first elephant trekking. Basically the loaded you onto a very gentle elephant for a 30 minute ride. I would never have done this alone as a day trip. I felt sorry for the majestic creatures and having seen them in the wild it pains to see them domesticated. Also the Mahouts treatment left a lot to tbe desired. I was actually glad to end that tour and head on to Rafting.
Now the rafting was anything but a disappointment! I was pared on the raft with a couple from England, Andy a stock broker and his girlfriend Jennifer, a travel agent. The rafts were much smaller than in Canada and apparently what they do to make the ride more exciting is to open up dams of water upstream. Loads of fun, nowhere near as exciting as the Kicking Horse in the Canadian Rockies, but fun nevertheless. After a specially (and deliciously) prepared lunch we drove to see some waterfalls and swim. Finally we headed back to Phuket stopping at the Monket Temple (again) for monkey viewing and feeding. One Russian lady in our group was bitten trying to feed them. As she didn’t start frothing at the mouth by the time she got back to the hotel, I assume she is still alive.
Feeding wild monkeys is just plain stupid. Humans are bastards.
My night is fairly relaxing. I settled my bills, did some shopping and went back to the Royal Tandoor! Again — a fantastic meal. I did restrain myself from attempting to making “new friends” of the female variety at the “New Friends Bar” who were trying to grab me and enter the garishly lit night club. I think those kind of friends would have left a “lasting” impression which I would regret for the rest of my life!
So final thoughts? Phuket was quiet and relaxing. After a hectic “go go go” schedule it was a perfect way to unwind and for me to mentally prep for Sri Lanka and my borther’s wedding. Ultimately I wish I could have spent more time with Andrew and Mike, especually climbing but so far a great vacation. I suspect the next few days will be filled with hilarious wedding moments.