Sunday, August 10, 2008


OK, by this point in my trip I thought I would have been struck with panic. I am 4 days away from reality. Reality bites! Looming at the end of the week is bills and rent and work and that foul "r" word- Responsibility. But it seems I have pleasantly suprised myself and I am feeling on top of the world.

I leave Koh Phi Phi tomorrow morning and go to Phuket and hop on a plane back to BKK. From there I have less than 2 days and I start my long trek across continents, back home.

Today, my last day in the sun on the island, was amazing. I spent most of the day lazing about on the beach (i know, i know, same shit different day!) but then I made a snap decision and took a sunset cruise starting at 3pm. It was like a grand finale to my trip. We did so many amazing things in so little time!

I hopped on board and off we went. First stop was Monkey Beach. A tiny little secluded beach you can only get to by kayak or a longtail boat. I opted to jump off our huge boat and swim in! (mom, I have no fear of jumping off the highest railings of ANY boat now- i LOVE it and I am the one coaxing other scaredy-cats to do it!) There were little monkeys EVERYWHERE and though you are warned they can be dangerous, they are obviously well conditioned to human contact. So we oo'ed and ahh'ed at the monkeys, fed them fruit and swam back to our big boat.

Next stop was for snorkeling. And eat my words, I know I said I was too cool for snorkelling after diving, but the snorkelling here was wild!!!!! I saw almost as much here as i did diving in Koh Tao. The water was really shallow and the reef was beautiful. I was on my own and found the largest puffer fish I have ever come across (maybe 1.5 ft long and huge when it was all puffed out!), which I tailed for about 10 minutes. There were schools of HUGE fish. I was actually a little intimidated by the buggers they were so big and they stare you down totally unafraid of you. I saw an emoray eel tucked under a rock, which again frightened me cause I was alone and they can be violent. The most amazing part was with just a snorkel and mask, when your head is under water all noises are amplified. This sucks when big boats are around cause it sounds like a volcano erupting, but in the silence around me today, I could listen to all the fish eating. It was crazy, it was so shallow I would watch a big fish go up to a rock and open up its chompers nice and wide and hear it crunching away at plankton or whatever else it was gnawing at. It was a really surreal experience just listening to fish eat under water. Something I have never heard while diving. So, one point for snorkelling!!!! I am not a convert, but definalty give it more credit than i did before.

So next stop was Koh PhiPhi Leh. This is the island next to KohPhi Phi Don (the full name of where i am). But this is a world heritage site, or national park or something along those lines and no one is allowed to stay on the island, it is totally unihibited. This is where the movie The Beach took place. I expected it to be really touristy and overdone. I was so wrong. It was magical!

The actual beach is called Maya Beach, but we parked the massive boat in a different bay and jumped ship and swam to shore. But shore was not a soft, sandy beach- it was a rocky, wave ridden, scary entrance where i think a few people saw their lives flash before their eyes getting there. There was a series of ropes that were set in the mountain and you had to climb to the rocks, hold on for dear life and navigate through a cave while the water was beating against you in waves.....I found it pretty intense, there were some poor young japanese tourists wearing life jackets and looking VERY uncomfortable, that i think actually shit their pants (sorry to be crude but it was that intense!)

So from there we trucked through the jungle, and it was EXACTLY like the movie the Beach. I was half hoping to stumble across good old Leonardo after each bend and turn :) After walking through the jungle you crest over a little hill and it opened up to Maya Beach- the beach! And with the small exception of the mass of people and the pollution (which was pretty appalling), it was as beautiful as it looks in the film. I was pretty gobsmacked. We got to sit and catch the last rays of sun on the beach and then headed back to the boat for dusk.

The boat slowly chugged back to Koh Phi Phi Don and we were served a basic but fantastic dinner under the stars. Honestly, I was on my own but i was just exuding contentment. I chatted to a few Brits on the boat. Most of the them were just starting their adventures and when they had found where i had been and for how long they were drilling me with questions and places to go and things to see.

How the tables have turned. That was me not to long ago, excited but terrified of what lay ahead. Although I was a bit jealous that I was on the tail end and they were all fresh off the boat so to speak, I wouldn't change a thing. For some reason, I am not even remotely worried about leaving this all behind. I might be singing a different tune once I arrive at Pearson, but I am just basking in this feeling right now of total contentment. It is my last night here and I have no interest in going out to party and be hung over and feeling gross tomorrow. I am going to head to a beach bar for a quick goodnight drink, then head back to my bungalow to pack and sort myself out for tomorrow. I am going ride with this feeling and see how long it is going to last me.

In Bangkok, I am meeting a few people who will be passing through at the same time as me, so maybe by then I will drowning my sorrows in buckets, but till I go :)

Friday, August 8, 2008

23 Hour Journey

I have landed! In Koh Phi Phi that is. I left the Gulf of Thailand on the east coast of the country yesterday at 8:30p.m. and didnt get to my final destination till 7:30pm today! And though it was actually one of my longest journey's, it was by far not the worst. I hopped in a taxi to get to the port on Koh Phangan and then made a very risky entrance across a thin wooden plank (with my billion pound backpack teetering on my back) onto a big sleeper ferry. It was something different, basically matresses strewn all across the floor with pillows and it was each man for themselves to claim a spot. Luckily it wasnt full and we all had lotsa rolling room and by 930 we were pulling out to sea. The waters were sooooooo rough! Thank god it was pretty much open air space cause people were being sick left and right! The boat was an old wooden one and was crashing and banging and tossing people all over the place. Secretly, i loved it! AFter the first hour I was so used to it and with the exception of waking up to a few crashes and bangs- i slept like a baby till sunrise.

From there the journey went something like taxi, bus, bus station, ferry boarding area (FOR HOURS cause we missed the a.m ferry) and then FINALLY a ferrry from Krabi on the West coast to Koh Phi Phi. And here I am. Almost at the last leg of my trip, but I am pretending that is not happening until i am literally on Canadian soil.

So I have only been in Koh Phi Phi a few hours and i love it already. I think it is the beach bum in me coming out again. I am staying in a pretty decent beach bungalow and am a stones throw away from the beach. I arrived at dusk so I wont be able to suss it all out completely until tomorrow. But from what I can see already love it. It looks like the island has almost fully recovered from the tsunami. This was one of the places that was hit the worst and rebuilding has been going since then. But there are resorts all over the place, and just like all the other islands, it looks like a little piece of paradise to me.

Tomorrow looks like it is going to be a ........suprise suprise....BEACH DAY!!! For a change! And possibly a boat ride to Maya Beach, which is where the movie The Beach was filmed (how many times can i say the word beach in one paragraph!) Then my main objective is figuring out how the hell to get back to Bangkok without spending a million hours on taxis/boats/buses/bikes and ferries. Possibly I will cave and just fly, save myself the hassle and also......get in a few more hours at the BEACH, LOL!

Well, since i had to (sniff, sniff) leave my South American posse in Koh Phangan I am now flying solo again. So I am off to catch the last bit of the Olympic Opening Ceremonies and then hopefully make some friends before tomorrow evenings Half Moon Party!

I have heard the weather in Toronto has been a little on the wet side tis summer so i am stockpiling the sun, as every one has requested and I promise to bring it home with me! Until then I am going back to work on my tan :)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Back By Popular Demand

Thanks for all the emails to hurry up and get on with the next blog! Nice to know people are actually reading and interested in my jabbering!

Since i left Koh Tao, hate me if you will, but I have actually been in paradise. I have spent everyday waking up, rolling out of my bungalow and onto the beach and spending most of the day and evening there. The weather here is stunning. The odd tropical storm breezes by but it is a welcome relief from the heat and the sun comes out minutes later.

I am in Koh Phangan, home to the infamous Full Moon Parties and this place definately lives up to its expectations. One day has almost blended into the next and not a lot has gone on but it has all been pretty damn fun. I think, after almost 30 years of intense searching, I have finally found my calling. Life as a beach bum. Sunshine, sand, ocean, tatoos, peircings, bikinis and cocktails. Everyone just radiates with cool here, and not to toot my own horn, but I blend in beautifully.

I spent a day on a long tail boat going around the island beach hopping, soaking it all in. We hiked into the forest and made our way to a beautiful watertfall and spent a few hours just swimming and tanning on the rocks. I did a bit or snorkelling, but after experiencing it all at eye level on the ocean floor, a birds eye view fails to compare.

I am staying on a peninsula that has two beaches, Sunrise Beach and Sunset Beach. So It is easy to be a sun chaser and position myself in the right spot from sun up to sun down. But as I mentioned, even at sun down I havent really left the beach. At night the DJ's turn on their turn tables, the fire throwers get all phsyched up, the beach is lined with pillows and the best is the buckets. For those who dont know Thailand & its infamous god it is madness! There are stalls lined on the beach and instead of drinks in cups the buckets are sold with a handful of straws and overflowing with booze. Although there are lotsa variations- the typical concoction is cheap Thai whisky, Red Bull and coke. Though I have found the winning mix substitutes peach iced tea for the coke. Breakfast of champions (just kidding mom and dad!). I really could get used to this life!

Being in a place as happy go lucky as here it is hard NOT to meet people. I have nestled myself in very comfortably with a group of South Americans that I have been having a fantastic time with. (insert glowing facebook controversy here) And quite conveniently, I now have wonderful connections in Chile and Argentina and the wheels are already turning, planning the next adventure.

Unfortunately the count down is on and in just over a week I start my dreaded journey back to the real world. But until then I am quite content with todays biggest decision being whether to stay on Koh Phangan or venture to the west side and do one more island hop to Koh Phi Phi before making my way back to Bangkok. Decisions, decisions.

I have amazing photos from the last week or so but am too lazy to burn them on a cd and download them. So i leave it to you to paint your own picture of paradise!

ps. Leanne, hope you enjoyed your cup of tea. x.