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 then.......off I go :)