Wednesday, July 21
Ko Phi Phi Don, Thailand
I woke up at the crack of sidewalk this morning and boarded a strawberry jam-packed ferry bound for an island 30 miles off the Southeast coast of Phuket, Thailand. Popularly known as Phi Phi (pronounced Pee Pee), it's comprised of two main islands called Ko Phi Phi Don and Ko Phi Phi Leh. The main island, Ko Phi Phi Don, measures roughly two miles by four miles, with most of the inhabitants situated around twin bays, Ao Loh Dalum and Ao Ton Sai, that are separated by an isthmus (a narrow strip of land, for all of you geography-challenged readers). The much smaller and uninhabited Phi Phi Leh is used only for day trips by divers, snorkelers and sun bathers.
The 90-minute ferry ride from Phuket to Phi Phi Don was refreshing, as a cool breeze blew across the water. A fellow traveler from Germany named Thomas asked if I'd like to split a bungalow with him for $8.00 per night, each. I thought it over for a minute and, of course, said yes. That's a good deal, especially on Phi Phi. As we approached the island, the tall, dark and dramatic limestone cliffs came into prominent view as we glided into the brilliant blue water. A nice man from the Ingphu bungalows greeted us at the pier and drove us on a really tiny mini-truck to our bungalow through a maze of little alleyways filled with touristy shops and bars.
The bungalows are situated on the side of a really steep hill that requires a lung-bursting climb up winding, treacherously uneven stairs. The hostel even has a luggage lift set up on a 50 degree angle track so you won't kill your back. Once Thomas and I settled into the bungalow, we went our separate ways. I left for a shuffle around the twin bays. Even though it was a partially overcast day, both of them looked amazingly beautiful with their crystal clear water and vertical cliffs. I kicked off my shoes and went for a wade in the warm water while small clusters of humans sat in circles under the shallow bay's turquoise icing.
For a really late breakfast, I ordered two banana pancakes down by the dock. As I picked them up, I dropped one on the ground (luckily, it was in a bag), and the other smeared a big, greasy mess all over the front of my shirt. I was really bummed, because it cost $35 and was made especially for hiking, with long sleeves, sun protection and moisture wicking, yet it's still light and breathable. (I mentioned the price because before I bought the gear for this trip, I had never spent more than $15 for one piece of clothing in my whole life.) I went back to the room and scrubbed the stains with some liquid detergent. Since I woke up so early to catch the ferry, I thought I'd catch 39 or maybe 40 winks for an hour or so. I finally woke up three hours later right around sunset, which sucked, because I was thinking about going snorkeling. I went out for dinner instead and walked into seven or eight different Internet cafes, but none of them had Microsoft Picture Manager, so I couldn't post an update.