A vacation from my vacation.
3/20/11 - 3/30/11
I don't really keep up with current events while I'm on the road. I occasionally check up on the Orioles and Browns, and I somehow became aware of the artist Rebecca Black (slams head against table), but aside from that, I'm pretty oblivious.
One thing I haven't been able to avoid though was the news about the tsunami in Japan. That news was pretty much punching travelers in the face wherever we roamed. A comparatively minuscule aftereffect, however one that affected me directly, was that the South of Thailand had serious flooding.
We are in what is considered the "hot" season here in Thailand. In fact, late March to early April is considered the peak of the hot season. I'm starting to question these labels.
Not unlike when the Bangkok ladyboy threw a plate of noodles at my face, I luckily dodged the full brunt of this storm, however I certainly was affected by it.
I had escaped the insanity of the east coast to try to get some much needed R&R. I hoped to get this at an island called Phi Phi, the island where the blockbuster hit (cough) The Beach was filmed. Unfortunately, I was informed that thousands of other people from the full moon party had the same idea. Reluctant to enter another partying gauntlet, I decided on plan B. I asked around Krabi, the small, quaint town I was relaxing in, and found out about a small island about an hour away called Koh Pu. When I asked other backpackers about it, they had no idea it even existed. Perfect.
Koh Pu was exactly what I needed. They would put me on a boat to another major tourist island called Koh Lanta, however I would not be getting off with the other hoards of travelers. About an hour into the trip, in front of a lush, overcast island, a small batch of long tail boats approached. The boat we were on stopped, and the boat hands shouted in a thick Thai accent "Koh PuuuUU!!!!" About 4 of the 150 or so boat goers would enter the longtail, while the rest watched on wondering what they were missing out on.
It would rain, hard, every day on Koh Pu. But I didn't care. I wasn't there to party shirtless on the beach, soaking in the rays. I wasn't there to meet countless other travelers. I was there to relax, and get away from everything. If there is one place in the world that this was possible, it was here.
My Porch. I literally spent hours here every day.
Beach again. Note how many people are in these pictures
We only had electricity between 6 pm and 10 pm. The smiling owner of the hostel insisted that after the initial negotiations ($8 a night for my private bungalow), that we not discuss anything about money until it was time for me to go. They had a dog and two cats. The were named Carlos, Purple, and Alfredo, respectively.
While raindrops pummeled my roof, I would pass my time napping, or reading, or listening to music, or eating. Nothing else mattered. Just me, myself, and I for a few passing days. A much needed contrast from the general inundation of backpackers in the previous weeks.
After three nights, rejuvenated, I realized that if I was going to get off of this island I needed to do it soon. The longtail boats at our "hotel" had fallen victim to the barrage of storms, and sunk. Luckily, a hotel in our general proximity still had functional boats, and was willing to get us out. I left behind the smiling family who ran the hostel, waving to me as the longtail navigated the choppy sea. Thailand is known as The Land of Smiles, this wonderful family embodied that sentiment more than anyone else I've met this trip.
After settling back at Krabi, I had a decision to make. I had heard raves of the beauty of Phi Phi, however I was reluctant to go to another beach after 10 straight days of rain. I was convinced to put Phi Phi on hold, and to go back up to Bangkok with a friend I had met previously in Krabi. Fantastic choice, as over the next week or so I would hear stories of how everyone was stranded in the south, even on the major islands. There was no electricity (which also meant no ATMs), or lights, or air conditioning, and people were supposedly quite miserable. Oh, and the Thai military was sent in to evacuate the women and children. Always a good sign. Not that I rejoice in hearing about other people suffer, but the stories certainly validated my decision to head north.
Was the weather ideal in the south? Absolutely not. In fact, it was down right terrible. However the fluidity of my schedule allows me to call an audible when the situation calls for it, and my affinity for relaxation allows me to roll with the weather punches.
I would spend the next 5 nights in Bangkok properly healing a bad cut I had gotten on my foot the night before the full moon party, and with myself fully mobile again, I decided to set out on my next adventure.
Thanks for the memories Thailand, you certainly pushed my party limits, and indulged my need for lazyness when you pushed me too far. I will always look back fondly on my time spent here, but now it is time for a shift. Time for an overdose of temples and some scintillating controlled chaos somewhere less developed. Next stop: Cambodia.