And here we go again with Day Five of Lynn's wacky misadventures:
Early yesterday morning, we packed and left Kata on our continuing journey towards enlightenment. We packed ourselves into one of the small tour vans and joined a long line of tourists and locals carrying kids and cargo en route to the island of Phi Phi. The ferry is fast and spacious. We were given a cup of strong coffee and a croissant. Again, the mix of languages is a symphony of sound.
[Image = Phi Phi Island, Phuket Province, Thailand]
Phi Phi (pronounced P.P.) is a long bow-tie shaped island. The flat center has a white, sandy beach on either side and it's an easy walk from beach to beach. At either end, the land juts up out of the sea, forming vast cliffs which are all but impossible to scale- one would think! The "poker chip" shapes I said could be seen from the air are now massive walls and if I had to build this in miniature, I'd take dominoes, poker chips and cubes of wood, stand them on end and then push clay around them to keep them stable. I'd then cover the tops with a fine, crushed sphagnum moss and paint it a rich tropical green.
This is a party place. Few people over 50 inhabit Phi Phi unless they work here. The rest are scuba guys, rock climbers, vacationing kids and young, global wanderers. Alleyways of clothing vendors, travel agents, massage shops and food stalls form a colorful grid as you make your way to your hotel. Ours is the "Palms" and it's new. Everything here is new. When the big wave hit, everything here was washed away. There was nothing here to stop it. The loss of life was significant and if you think about it, this is something of a shrine! The locals will tell you it's better here, now.
[Image = A dockside with boats.]
It's an attractive, funky place to hang your hat and to do some underwater exploring. Still looking for the Thailand we've seen in the photos, we hired a young man to take us to the neighboring island of Koh Phi Phi where the movie "The Beach" was filmed. This again is a massively high piece of land- a marvel of twisting limestone formations, outcroppings, tiny bays and caves. Our "long tail" boat was old, wooden and interesting. The long, curved bow was ringed with colorful plastic wreaths, a plastic purple canopy kept us from the direct sun and the motor was a Chevrolet engine to which a long shaft was attached. The propeller at the end was able to skim above the coral and plunge into the channels, making it a very useful craft. Our driver," Ed," was a beautiful young man with the most amazing smile.
[Image=Sunset with a man in silhouette.]
High up in the cliffs we could see what looked like sticks, just propped here and there. What they are is climbing poles and they are used by men who gather birds nests for birds nest soup! People risk life and limb, scaling these impossible cliff sides to collect nests- and on the mainland, we marvel at North Americans in safety gear who make it to the top of a hill! Ahh, cultural differences!
Speaking of cultural differences, the Thai people tell us that Canadians are among their favorite visitors, which makes us feel great. Kate and Lane have gone to check out of our hotel so we can prepare for the next adventure. In search of even more natural phenomenon... and air conditioning, we'll write again, tomorrow!
- She leads off with more of her codwallop about finding some mythical "Mysterious East" and babbles about how odd it is that not everyone speaks English.
- She next describes her destination by comparing it to the sort of arts-and-crafts project that wopuld get Mike taggedas a non-linear thinker.
- She follows that by saying "Golly gosh, it must have been bad that all those people died in that tsunami but, hey, at least we get a sparkly new resort out of it so it's all good" while making snotty asides about her fellow tourists and totally failing to realize that the disaster killed the over-fifties whose absence she comments on.
- She next describes the boat ride to where they filmed "The Beach" in a mildly silly manner after which she goes on to more or less condemn how soft North Americans are for insisting on wearing hard hats without realizing that the 'cultural differences' that keeps the Thais from wearing safety gear are a government that doesn't give a rat's ass about their safety and their inability to afford said things.
- Next, she repeats the insincere palaver that people hand idiot tourists like her swallow while complaining that there's no AC.