29.04.2008 33 °C
We left Krabi on the afternoon after Clare's celebratory cocktail (and several beers!). We got a small taxi followed by a bigger taxi (these are just pickup trucks of varying sizes) to a bus after a 20 minute drive to the port. We boarded a very sturdy boat which had life jackets on each seat (reassuringly) and headed off to the wonder of Phi Phi island (pronounced Pee Pee.........titter!). We arrived in the late afternoon and were immediately faced by the usual flock of people who greet the boats and tout you for their business (they want you to stay at their guest houses). After safely navigating past these people we set off with a plan which involved me sitting ina bar and waiting for Clare to roam the very narrow streets to find the cheapest and cleanest accomodation... whilst she was gone the waiotress at the bar asked if we needed a room much to my amusement and we accepted it as it was 200 Baht cheaper than most of the rooms and better than the 600 Baht room Clare sent me to check out after her wander. the room has air con and a tv but we're not sure what it's called. We presume it has something to do with the bar/restaurant which is called Cosmic but we could be wrong!
On the first night we decided to just walk around the streets and discover all the places to eat or drink and look at all the boards advertising exciting things to do on Phi Phi. We decided upon a full day boat tour for the following day and headed to find some food. Whilst eating we realised how small a world we live in as the guy we'd been chatting to oh Koh Pangnan stooped outside and was chatting to other people...we unfairly refer to him as the 'boring guy' as his conversations are tiresome...but in true polite fashion we shouted our 'hellos' and he came over for a chat. He hastily retreated as the food came to our table but we said we'd meet him in the bar opposite after food for a few drinks with his new-found friends.
We went across to Jordans (the local Irish bar) and played Connect Four until they arrived (who knew how competitive Clare could be...and how ungracious she can be in -several- defeats?!). The other kids arrived (I say 'kids' because they were ranged from 19 to 21...) and we got talking....the conversation turned to music as it seems to be the thing that can untie people and we took over the music for about 4 hours with our requests to the DJ... I must say it was a great night in the end, maybe because it turned into weird form of karaoke...but we left around 1am as we had the boat trip the following morning and didn't want to be facing the open water with too much hangover!
The boat trip was amazing... our first stop was on Maya beach which was the setting for the film The Beach. We stopped in a cove and were told to don our snorkelling masks (but not flippers) and to swim (with flip flops on hands) over to the rocks on the far side. I did so with gusto, maybe too much so, as I didn't realise what lay ahead! We had to struggle with the waves and try and put flip flops on in the water dodging the coral under-foot so we could try and grab the ropes leading to the smae gap in the rocks which would take us to The Beach. I flailed around for a while whilst Claer slowly made her way there before scambling across the coral to the small gap. At which point I realised I'd sliced my finger open on the rocks and was bleeding all over myself... Regardless we made our way along the path surrounded by lovely trees and beautiful scenery to The Beach. A total disappointment awaited me... The Beach was swarmed by boat trippers, the water full of speed boats...my hopes of finding the most beautiful place on the planet were dashed by roaring boat motors....we made our hasty retreat back to the boat...and snorkelled in the bay we'd moored at.
The second stop was the Long Beach for snorkelling with the Reef Sharks (I saw none!) then to Bamboo Island for kayaking (never EVER do this with Clare!) and more snorkelling. Then to Monkey Beach (I saw NO MONKEYS!) for a swim and more snorkelling.
Luckily this was our last stop as I was all snorkelled out and ready for some food. We ate....then went to bed as the day had been long and tiring. This meant that today has been mostly spent on the beach...sunbathing!
One more thing to add...Phi Phi was devastated by the Tsunami in 2004. Today we found the only building that remained standing after the waves struck, it's a hotel and it was used as a medical centre in the aftermath...this is a truely haunting place for me... and the evacuation route signs send chills up my spine.