Day 6 - Phi Phi by way of Phuket - ๐ŸŒ MWT 2017

Saturday September 2nd, 2017
Hiked 3.3 miles

5:49 am

Bangkok International Airport - Domestic Terminal

Nok airlines makes their planes look like birds.
I am getting ready to board my plane to Phuket.  The cab driver was at my hotel right on time. I arrived at the airport just as Amy said.  Every envelope seemed to explain that my passage was paid in full already and I was free to pass.  I pulled out the envelope this morning and what looked like a blank receipt with a small pen mark was enough to get me first class, personal, service to the airport. I have had a nice visit, until this morning in line for my long anticipated Thai Latte with the foam design that I saw in the picture, and that Mr Terry told me about in Hawaii.  It sounded wonderful.

I was standing in front of the register to order my coffee when two teenagers grab some soup noodles and some drinks and reached around me telling the barista that was helping me how they wanted their noodles. It took a few minutes for the barista to make these boys order. They waited patiently in front of me for their noodles without making eye contact once. One was wearing camouflage pants.  They looked like the same rebellious children we have back home, trying to test the boundaries of men to establish their value.
The pier from Phuket to Phi Phi

Regardless they cut in front of me getting a coffee I really was excited to get.  Maybe not on purpose, but any second I had to watch them not notice my existence the grumpier I got.  I think those children did not understand my love for coffee.  I guess I should not blame them.

10:19 am

So I got to the harbor at 9:05 am and showed the
The ticket that assured me that I would be at a clean beach.
receipt from the envelope Amy gave me.  The pier guy said I just missed the 9 am ferry, and I had to wait for the 11 am or the 1:30 pm ferry.  He tells me I can shop along the pier.  There are about five or six options.  I was impressed at the variety of merchandise.  There was everything a naked tourist would need before going to Phi Phi. I am a little hungry right now.  There is a restaurant, but I can not tell if anyone works there.  The guy out here is selling various noodles, and cold drinks.  I may get some ramen noodles.  The salt sounds replenishing. I am starting to think that I may get bored out of my mind waiting till 1:30 pm.

11:06 am

Tourist getting their tan on deck
I am writing this from the deck of a large ferry ship going to Phi Phi island.

If it doesn't feel right, it probably isn't.  Amy's little receipts have yet to let me down.  I remembered our conversation.  She got me the early flight in "hope" traffic would be light and I make the 9 am ferry.  I was five minutes late. I also remembered her saying I could catch the 11 am one if that did not work out.  I saw the 11 am ferry loading and at the last minute walked to my ticket counter and showed them Amy's receipt, they said I could still catch the 11 am one and to hurry to port 6.  I came to the ticket booth and she gave me two tickets.  I ran down the gangplanks toward a ferry, crossed the deck, and then walk over to the second ferry where they only needed one of my tickets.
Me on deck

There are seats inside the main cabin with air conditioning.  A guy selling noodles, water, pops, coffee, beer, or wine in the back of the boat.  I walk freely out the door and up to the deck where I notice about 20 tourist from everywhere soaking in the sun with a beer in their hand.  I am surprised
by the amount of smokers.

9:00pm

I am settled in my room.  I am neither disappointed or impressed. The air smells very musty, but the staff definitely put a lot of care into the place. Again, I forgot that tourist are supposed to tip that guy that walks you to your room.  Both times that has happened on this trip I figured the room was probably hard to find or down a dangerous alley so they were showing me the way.

The ferry ride to Phi Phi was interesting.  I came up on deck and you would have thought it was a worldwide yacht club.  Someone was playing some rap on a cell phone.  Almost all the men had their shirts off showing off their micro-trimmed man-scaping, and respectfully, many hours in the gym. They were all completing the look with a tropical tan.  No doubt by tonight they are shining like Gods on some mirror.

The yellow brick road of Phi phi.
I stood on the deck with the view of the water.  I was surprised how in some cultures it is not seen as disrespectful to smoke upwind of everyone, but so many people were smoking on the deck I laughed to myself that those big ships afar with dark diesel billows didn't just have a lot of smokers on deck.

I looked down at the water and it looked blue, swimming-pool blue.  Tropical and beautiful.  I saw the islands that look like large rock ships sticking out of the water.  I saw those long tail boats I saw in the pictures.  I was slightly concerned at how much trash I saw everywhere in the water.  As I looked down I thought to myself.  "I am about to find a place to drop a bunch of tourist for a dunk.  Here? here? here? here?"

Trekking around on Phi phi
I do not know how far there was between the 'heres?' but we were traveling at 14mph according to my phone and I did not see anywhere for an hour that did not have trash within site.  Several of those styrofoam bowls all floating upright, and I wondered how long they can go like that. There were condoms, bags, cigarette butts, and general rubbish all just bobbing on top, or just below the surface.  I remembered in college an economics professor reported that not too long before an island in the area made a contract to dispose of barges of rubbish, later we found they were dropping them off in the Indian ocean.  I wondered whose trash this was, and who would allow it to be dumped in such a paradise.

As we were approaching Phi Phi a man was going through the cabin asking about hotel accommodations.  He got to me and I said the name of my hotel, "Oh yea, that's our mother company, just wait at the dock by the sign and we will take you there."
For 200 bhat ($6) you can stick your feet in an aquarium.

I pulled up Google maps and estimated the entire distance less than 5000 ft to my hotel, I decided to just walk up to the door.  I keep forgetting to tip these guys to show me my way. As I walked off the pier I learned for the first time that you have to pay 20 bhat for a ticket so they can clean their beaches.  I was very happy.  I was picturing Waikiki Beach with more fish and untouched corral reefs. Hundreds of tourist playing in fresh untouched sea water. I remembered noticing in July that they have giant street cleaning equipment to comb Waikiki beach.  As I saw it combing the beach I thought how silly to have money to do that, the beaches are already clean..  haha.

I grabbed my bag and was off the boat quickly since I was on already on deck.  I walked down the pier and both sides were clamoring local faces with signs for every hotel and hostel on the island. I was surprised that no one was swimming.  I saw a handful of people trying to snorkel, but only a few.  I walked up to the yellow brick road which goes everywhere and you can't get lost as long as you don't leave it. 

I like their fire hose sign. 
I turned north up the beach and started walking.  It was not far at all. If I would have paid anyone to take me there I would have felt like a lazy jackass. I got to the hotel before anyone on the ferry and checked in early.

There were shops on both sides of the streets. Thinking I had stepped onto the sidewalk I heard a clunk.  I realized the grey stones to the side covered their grey water system.  Some stones are missing so you must watch your footing.  One such missing stone is where I first noticed proof of why you should not flush toilet paper down the toilet. 

Mangy cat.. never left the phone. 
Various smells of bacteria are everywhere. You will smell delicious smoked meat, then two steps later
smell shit.

I got to my hotel and they greeted me with smiles, allowed me to check in early, and showed me the way.

Immediately I am surprised by how backwards the bathroom is.  The set up works because there is also a drain on the floor, but the water shoots out the nozzle in such a solid stream I wondered if it was used for cutting metal beforehand.

I sat on the bed and felt the air conditioning beating down on me at 25 mph from the top corner. Wondering what to do next I feel a bite on the back of the leg.  It is painful.  I get bit right where the mattress meets the boxspring on the back of the calf.  I thought it might be a spider, but I do not see any spiders anywhere.  I can't find a single bug, but I found a new mission.

3 star accommodations. 
I headed out the door looking for a shop that might sell bug spray.  There happened to be a little pharmacy right on the corner.  It was like a Walgreens, or CVS, but much smaller.  Finding the bug sprays was not a problem.
After Bangkok I am getting pretty good with my conversion rates.  I find the bug sprays and also recognize DEET.  There are English printed labels that say they are All Natural, Organic, and good for children. A 100 ml bottle will cost you $12 US. The little clear bottle completely in Thai was only $2.  From what I could make out, it was a harmless, but pleasant fragrance bugs went away from. Mainly this was from the illustration as the language is impossible for me. I could not see DEET anywhere on it and it smelled like bubblegum and body spray.  It was pleasant.

I waited in line and handed the cashier my item.  I ask, "Deet? No Deet?"
The nice big tinted windows were nice.
She responded, "You want natural. English? I will show you!"

I already saw the $12 bottle.  It was very fancy, but I found the ten dollar difference worthy of a new experience.  It may work better than ever, it seemed like a popular local brand.

I got back to my room and sprayed myself with the spray and sat on my bed.  It was pleasant and smelled like a play perfume in a princess toy kit. Whatever bit me was painful and I continue to scratch at it.  I spray one of the beds and rested a few moments.


This set up works.. right?
I don't feel like buying anything suvenier wise. They are all expensive. Shirts are about $12 anywhere a tourist will walk. I think I will wait until I get back to Phuket before buying some shirts. I have not seen any post offices here and everything comes off this island by boat, tourist, or floats away from the beach.

This afternoon was spent walking back and forth around the beach.  Back and forth until people did not try to get my attention anymore and I was just starting to be fond of them.  After 5 passes the locals even stop trying to smile at you.  This place is small enough they must think you are mall walking for exercise.

Trying to explore the other side.
For dinner I find it fitting to try out the restaurant attached to the hotel.  When I checked in they gave me a 10% off coupon for the restaurant.  They insisted I show it to the restaurant and do not forget.

I brought it, but as I approached the restaurant I wondered if I would get better or worse customer service at the restaurant with the ticket.  There were signs everywhere asking for any coupons BEFORE you order.

I decided to see the other option of service so the coupon remained in my pocket. A host walked over to me and appeared to signal I could sit anywhere.  I walked over to the beach side of the cabana and she gave me a menu.  There wasn't really anyone else eating here, but I apparently have arrived during off season.  It is now the beginning of rainy season. The server is quick about getting my order for me, my beer, and checking on me once.

Thinking of my experience in Bangkok I ordered the same, cashew chicken.  It was not the same at all.  I felt like it was something I might make on a camping trip if I was very hungry.  It seemed safe, but very much tasted like the kind of stir-fry you will get frozen from the super market. I am thankful that I have Siracha in little packets from Starbucks in my pocket.  I am also glad that my beer is an extra large Chang, with the elephants kissing on the front.  It is refreshing and adds flavor to every bite.

Everyone heading out to the boats for adventure.

The server staff was eating, working, and talking at a nearby table.  After enjoying the view for an extended amount of time I signaled that I was ready for the check.  A server nudged the server that brought me my food, but she was deep in an exciting conversation. I waited a fair amount of time. Enough to feel they forgot about me.  I gathered my things and headed toward the ladies.  Immediately one stood up, hurried over to the register and printed out my bill.  I placed a suitable bill and left her with the change. I am betting I would have had better service with the coupon.

Amazing sunset!
It was about 7:00 and the sun was starting to set so I made my way to the west beach.  I ordered a beer at the bar right on the beach and walked over to sit in the sand. A cute local girl and her friend sat down next to me and smiled.  They were taking photos of each other against the sunset, and with the mangy stray cat that was trying to find new friends on the beach.

The sun went down and soon there was loud music booming from every bar on the beach.  I walked along the beach to see what the commotion was.  As I walked by the first bar and they were setting up for fire stunts.  Two big bars on this beach like to play with fire all night.  This is one and Slinky's is the other. As I walked by a local approached me with a menu.  He said, "Something to drink?" I said, "No." He flipped the menu and ask if I wanted anything else.  I saw every drug known to man spelled out in permanent marker. Well a good 10 or so of them.  I recognized Ecstasy, Cocaine, Meth, Opium, and Weed as he flashes the menu quickly. First I wonder where in this man's shorts he keeps such a variety of drugs.   I shake my head no and continue to trod the soft sand.
Hypnotic light and fire shows with booming music.

I pause for a moment to watch the fire dancers.  They light sticks and twirl them around to the music.
 It is cool to see, but I couldn't tell when they were practicing or performing. I began to look around and see if anyone was clearly on drugs.  I saw no one acting drunk at all.  People everywhere with drinks in their hand and stone sober. The audience watching the fire dancers could have been cut out of paper.  I couldn't figure out if it was because they were amazed by the loud music, strobes, fluorescent lights, and well oiled performers or because they were all in a coma.  All I knew is that the drug dealer on the beach has got to be the poorest man on this island.

The peak of the nightlife here for me is now.  I am back to my room by 9pm.  Perhaps I will stay out later tomorrow and see if it gets wilder... GNite.

On this receipt I will never know what I bought.