25.01.2009 - 28.01.2009 35 °C
After Clare left we spent another 4 or 5 days at Koh Lanta to recover from the alcohol excess. I got a tummy bug, again, which we soon sorted with antibiotics. Suffice to say I think I know what period pains feel like now.
After putting it off last year, Kirstin decided at last to get her tattoo! Something small and fun, and on her wrist so she can cover it up with jewelry if it looks awful in her old age.
She had it done the traditional "bamboo" way. No electric "sewing machine", just a guy holding a long bamboo rod with a row of tiny needles in the end, stabbing it rapidly, like, well, a sewing machine. Apparently you get finer detail and a lot less pain and scarring. Don't fret, they use needles fresh out of a new packet!
It all went very well - not much pain, and it looks great. Will update with a picture close up next time. I'm going to put it in with my "injuries" post :-)
Once we'd settles our huge bill for nearly 3 weeks of heavy drinking we caught a quick hour and half ferry to Koh Phi Phi.
We'd put off going there last year as it's very well known, and has a reputation for being expensive and very touristy, but the lure of the "Beach" (from the film of the same name) was too much, and besides, it is near, and on our way back north.
Koh Phi Phi is basically two large land masses of limestone joined by a thin sandy isthmus which makes it's two main beaches, one each side, with the town in the middle. The beach you land on is busy with boats and ferries, the other, is not. It was totally flattened when the tsunami hit and everything has been rebuilt, only bigger.
We were actually pleasantly surprised when we arrived. No building seems to be over 3 stories tall and the beach on the other side is stunning.
(Someone a little more adventurous than us - we fancy European health and safety for this kind of thing)
We managed to secure an A/C room, a really nice one, for 1500 Baht (30 quid) a night in a quiet area away from all the noisy bars. A very good rate for here. Thailand is suffering this year from a loss of tourists due to the argy-bargy that happened at the main Bangkok airport at Christmas.
Overall it is a very good layout here. Great beach, lively town, reasonable prices. We even found a real Italian Pizza house where they serve Prosecco!
Someone English obviously had a hand in the creation of some of the signage here..
And by far my favourite....
(Oh so good! - the irony... the fish.. maybe a woman... see??)
Generally we have been relaxing (of course). I've snared free wifi on our balcony, and I've cracked into another one too - I've totally sussed how to break wifi passwords now - a very useful skill!).
Today we decided to go and check out Ko Phi Phi Ley - it's the smaller island just a mile or so to our north - a protected National Park. You should know of it - they filmed the movie "The Beach" there - hence the great draw for tourists. We read that it gets uber busy after 10.30am - you get lots of day trippers from Krabi, Koh Lanta and Phuket coming over just to run around on "The Beach" and take their photos "en location". We also decided after our last snorkeling trip to NEVER EVER go on a group "anything" EVER again. This feeling was reinforced by our Africa experience. We just can't stand being with tossers. Simple as that. And we like to be on our own timetable.
With all that in mind we got up at 7am this morning and went and secured our ride...
We paid 1500 Baht (30 quid) for a 3 hour trip. We could have done it in a group for about 150 baht I'm sure, but no way buddy. Not gonna happen. Nope! Some things are worth paying for.
Being up at this time in the morning afforded us the opportunity to see the wreckage from last night's beach party....
(Silly ass was fast asleep , in the sun)
Mind you, he probably had a few what we bought last night.....
(Yep, our 1st bucket!! - 1/3rd bottle of what was described as local vodka, and tasted absolutely not like vodka, 2 bottles of red bull, and a can of tonic)
Our driver was a good choice, he went slowly. Some of the other ones go like the clappers.
1st stop was, of course, "The Beach".
As you can see, the advantage of getting up early was clear. When we left there were about 10 big speedboats and a multitude of longtails on it, with screaming Asian tourists everywhere.
We weren't actually interested in the beach itself, the water was more enticing...
(Fancy a swim? I did!)
The water was the most beautiful I've ever seen. Crystal clear and full of fish and coral.
I donned a snorkel and mask and dived in, scuba style (backwards).
(Swimming with the fishies - ahhh!)
As I was snorkeling near the boat I saw things dropping into the water, then, within seconds, I was totally engulfed in beautiful colourful fish. Amazing - right by my nose, hundreds of them, coming from everywhere.
What was happening was our driver (sailor? skipper?) was throwing rice into the water by my head. It was totally awesome - I've never seen anything like it before (scuba divers, stop scoffing, I'm new to all this). The fish were touching my feet and legs. A very weird feeling.
At this point I was screaming with delight through my snorkel, which kind of sounds like a whale I guess, but Kirtsin was in the boat. Her tattoo has to be kept dry for a few days :-( - then it occurred to me she could hang with her tattooed arm off the boat steps and put her head underwater. Brilliant - I'm a genius!
She loved it - all I could hear through her snorkel was excited squealing - I also noticed she had her legs and feet curled up - clearly finding it as freaky as I did.
Once we'd done with the rice (I think we got through our driver's lunch) we headed off ....
...to some very , very pretty coves.....
With the most beautiful water
Totally stunning, and very funny too. As we left, other longtails arrived, in great numbers, and the sped in a loop through the bays at break neck speed so they could get their customers back to then grab a new load. Soooo glad we did it privately.
On the way back we passed some caves that the locals farm birds nests from - for birds nest soup - a real delicacy with the Chinese I believe.
Then it was back to the main island - in my new shorts! - Yep - I've gone all "Continental" and got myself some small trunks. Wearing long trunks is all very well and cool, but when you get out of the sea you are soaking for an hour or so - it's a real pain, so I gave in to the European way, and I like it I have to say. Just got to tan my thighs now!
Once we got back we treated ourselves to a full English breakfast!
(Note the name of the cafe..... classic)
Lovely, real bacon, sausages, hash brown, beans and fried bread.
Back off down to the beach now, hope the jellyfish invasion of yesterday has cleared up....