Day 160: Koh Poo Poo?

So today saw us reaching Koh Phi Phi, a place that had been described to us as beautiful and amazing. That’s not what I’d call it. If anything it’s quite the opposite. It was just a shame we decided to leave Koh Lanta all because I wanted to check it out!

• We didn’t get much sleep the night before. For some reason there was loud music blaring from a nearby bar. And what’s worse, it kept on playing until 4am. It wouldn’t have been so bad if we were the ones out partying. But it woke us up on and off throughout the night. Oh, and when it finally finished, an hour later the bloody bird was at it again. No doubt it was probably drunk, and shouting out previous lovers names.

• Eventually we got back to sleep and didn’t wake up until 8:30am. We watched a tv show, then started packing our bags in anticipation to check out.

• We left them at reception and headed to the French bakery for breakfast. I had the strawberry cheesecake, while Sarah enjoyed a ciabatta sandwich. Sarah ended up chatting with Annelis (on Facebook) as she ate, and learned of a few places to stay in Phi Phi. One of which stuck our more than the rest because of its cheap price, we didn’t book anything, instead we thought we’d wait until we arrived. Sarah sent them a quick email and left it at that. There was only an hour remaining before our taxi was scheduled to pick us up. We walked back to the resort so I could order my own breakfast. The chicken cashew over rice, it was one of my favourite dishes, so it was only fair that I had it one last time before we left.

• Unfortunately I had to leave some of it because the taxi driver arrived prematurely. One of the resorts employees came over to tell us, and I shoved as much of the good stuff into my face as I could. I shook hands with one of the women as I left, and thanked them for everything, then Sarah and I got in the taxi.

• There was one other couple heading to the jetty as well. The trip lasted around 20 minutes, and when we arrived we had to sit and wait for the ferry. While we waited Sarah spotted my old housemate’s doppelgänger. Even though certain people disagree it looked like him, (including Steve’s sister) I am adamant that it was the best lookalike I have ever seen. Groups of people from Phuket soon arrived and blocked our view. We didn’t notice that the crowds of people waiting to go to Phi Phi had started boarding. Instantly we jumped to our feet and located the correct ship.

• For the whole of the journey both Sarah and I fell asleep. An hour and a half later I awoke to find the few passengers there were walking to the deck. Certain passengers switched ferries to continue to Phuket, while we remained to be taken to the pier. As soon as we arrived we had to pay 20 baht each as a conservation fee – although looking around, I don’t know what was being conserved.

• Then began a sweaty walk through the crowded streets until we located Phi Phi Backpackers. It was a hidden little building tucked behind many shops, and winding pathways. For 300 Baht each a night we received a bunk bed and a shared bathroom. It was a peculiar looking dorm. There were two rooms either side of the single desk (which was reception) on the decking out front. Each room was filled with bunk beds, with the bathroom located at the back. There was enough room for 16 people, and there were lockers right next to the main door. The best feature in the room was undoubtably the a/c units hanging on the walls. The weather was so unbearably hot during the day, that anytime you wiped sweat from your face it would be replaced by more sweat instantly. So the a/c was a lovely respite – even if it was only between the hours of 6pm – 11pm.

• After dropping off our bags we decided to explore the local area. Phi Phi is a strange place, it’s a small island filled with dive shops, tattoo parlours, bars, and restaurants. Everywhere we went there was someone trying to get us to buy a booze cruise. The beach itself looked dirty because the tide was low and really far out. And everywhere I looked there were “LADS” on the prowl. I think the reason all of this bothered me was because it had been a while since the pair of us had socialised in an area like this. And for the past 7 days we had been in the peace and quiet of Koh Lanta. I’m sure my opinion would change after a few drinks at a bar, that too was something we hadn’t done in a while… Got drunk!

• We bought a fruit shake to sip on as we meandered around, there were many market stalls selling goods like always. And this time I bought something, thanks to Sarah’s haggling/ lying skills, I am the proud owner of a dry bag. This means next time we go on a water based activity and want to take a camera, we can. The dry bag floats atop the water preventing any of its contents from getting damaged. Everywhere we’d been before wanted around £15 per bag, but today we got a 5L one for £7.

• We explored a fair bit of the area, but most of it was the same: bars, restaurants, shops. A little bit like a tropical Scooby-Doo hallway – everything repeated itself every few feet. In the end we decided to head back towards the beach near our hostel. On the way we were stopped by an Australian fellow who was promoting a booze cruise. It sounded quite good to be honest, and it included a stop at Maya Bay (the one from the movie “The Beach”). We heard him out and took a pamphlet, then we continued on our way.

• As I said, the beach was slightly disappointing. Scratch that, very disappointing. The water was so far away, and the small pools of water in the shallows looked dirty. If anywhere resembled Weston Super-Mare it was this place. Sarah told me that the last time she was here the tide was in, and the water was lovely. She then wet on to say, at night the beach comes to life when it’s transformed into a string of bars. We wandered down towards the waters edge, then returned to our hostel.

• It was 5pm by the time we got in, which meant the a/c wasn’t on. So for the next hour we sweat nonstop. In the end I jumped in the shower to cool off, and not long after that, the receptionist came in to turn it on. Luckily for me my bed was directly underneath the unit. Sarah and I led there for a while until one of the guests started talking with us.

• Steve was his name and he came from Cambridge, causing him to sound slightly posh whenever he spoke. He was a big built guy who clearly worked out. And given his profession we were highly surprised at how much he liked to party. He was only away from England for 2 weeks, but had been out drinking consecutively for 7 days when we met. I instantly got on well with Steve, and it was nice to have a guy friend again. Before a night out Steve performed a set of magic press ups. We don’t know if it was the exercises or his newly bought Lil Wayne vest, but either way he became more attractive to the opposite sexthe second he stepped foot out the door.

• It was around the time of meeting Steve that I began to like Phi Phi. The more we chatted the more I felt like drinking. I had been around female company for a long time, as had Steve, and now I had a chance for some guy bonding to ensue. We exchanged stories from our travels as we sat in the cool dorm room, and Steve told us he was only out for 2 and a half weeks. The three of us must have talked for around an hour before deciding to go out for food – and drinks.

• Everywhere in Phi Phi appeared to sell pizza, and for £3 at the restaurant we chose you could have a whole margarita and garlic bread. During dinner we learned that Steve was a police officer back home, although he said it’s not as exciting as they make out on the telly. He said what they never show you on those tv shows is the amount of paperwork that comes with the job. Steve’s 31 and said to us he’d travelled Thailand about 10 years ago, but the place had changed so much in that period of time. Not to mention the currency, even though it’s still cheap, he said alcohol was practically free last time.

• Speaking of drink, after the food we went in search of Phi Phi’s debauchery. They sell buckets of alcohol everywhere. Forget bottles, buckets are where it’s at if you wanna get drunk. For as little as £4 we were given a plastic bucket (much like the ones kids use to build sandcastles) with a can of coke, Redbull, and a small bottle of rum. By the end of the night I had shared three of them with the guys. After we made the purchase we made our way to the beach. As Sarah said earlier it was alive with bars. Very quickly my opinion of Koh Phi Phi changed. I now loved the place and didn’t want to leave anytime soon. You can always count on alcohol to liven things up. We had been sober for well over a month and finally we were wetting our whistles.

• There was one thing that ruined my buzz. It was a man with an animal allowing stupid tourists to pay and have their pictures taken with it. It wasn’t a Slow Lorris this time however, instead this guy had a monkey. I think it was a spider monkey, it was quite tall and had very long arms. At first I mistook it for a child, but that was because it was wearing clothes. The poor thing looked scared to death, and rightly so, it was stood beside a very noisy bar and constantly had people getting in its face. How it didn’t end up lashing out at them I don’t know. I tried to put the image of the animal being passed from person to person to the back of my mind, and enjoy the evening.

• My memory gets a little foggy from here on out, but I’ll do my best to remember. As we stood on the beach beside the Slinky bar we were amazed at the sight of fire. These guys really were putting on a show. There were tightrope walkers holding sticks of fire, one guy atop a pole shooting fire into the sky, and other men swinging the fire chains around. But there was one act that was more impressive than them all. There were two men, each holding the ends of a rope, it was doused in paraffin and set alight. Then began the show, they swung it around in circles and participants from the audience took it in turns to jump it. As certain members grew more confident they ended up bringing another rope into the mix, and they payed Double Dutch

• As the evening went on we bought more buckets from a nearby stall, at one point we were served by a young boy. There was something quite strange about buying alcohol from an 11 year old, it didn’t feel right. But we were drunk by then and made jokes with him and his family about the whole thing. When we returned to the beach Steve and I were talked into jumping the rope. Steve did it successfully, he ran in and cleared the rope on each jump. I on the other hand, pretty much ran directly into the fire. As I watched the rope swing around and around (in my drunken state), I tried to assess the perfect time to run in. But as I jumped, the rope whipped into my side. Somehow I didn’t get burned, but I lost the majority of the hairs on my calves. By the end of the night I was telling anyone who’d listen to stroke them. My night didn’t last much longer after that, I got too drunk. And somehow Sarah out drank me! The last thing I remember was bumping into an equally as drunk girl on the beach. Apparently Sarah and Steve walked me back to the room and left me to it, then headed back out for more fun. The next thing I knew I woke up in bed in my pyjamas. The biggest mystery was how I ended up in them. My bag was still upright and tidy besides the bed, and the shorts I was wearing were folded up neatly beside my pillow. Oh to be young!

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