Friday, 1 February 2013

Freewheelin’ in S.E.A - Day 35: Early rising and happy endings

Koh Phi Phi

After roughly four hours slumber our 7am alarm sounded, shaking us out of bed and towards Alexa and Hayden’s hotel for our early departure to visit a few surrounding islands with most of the wedding party. The sixteen of us loaded into a van and were driven roughly an hour away from Patong beach, finally reaching the pier where we were to depart from. We loaded onto our boat which had a large cabin with around one hundred seats, and a roof deck which we all proceeded to climb up to, catching a good forty-five minutes of the new morning’s sun before reaching Khai island. The main man on the boat who was guiding us with regards to the activities had a very interesting mic technique. Interesting in as much as he spoke with a deep boom, like a boxing announcer, and repeated everything he said a minimum of three times. “So now, we are at Khai island, we are at Khai island. We have one hour to spend snorkelling, to spend snorkelling, one hour at Khai island, to spend snorkelling. One hour”. It was fantastically amusing/annoying to listen to, but we did as instructed and stepped ashore. It was a tiny island with quite a disturbing amount of litter spoiling the yellow sand, which was covered almost entirely with sun-loungers. It was clearly a haven for tourists on flying visits who didn’t really care where they threw their rubbish, and small food stores who didn’t mind how their customers got rid of their leftovers as long as they were buying snacks. We walked a hundred metres or so to the other side and were faced with roughly one hundred and fifty Chinese tourists in a small section of water, all snorkelling or posing for photographs with a variety of amusing poses and facial expressions. I joined them, diving under to admire the coral reefs and schools of fish which would gracefully swim by, almost unfazed by the movements of everybody around them. Being under the water was very peaceful and I took my time going from rock to rock, admiring all the different species that would come out to greet me before returning to their dark dwellings. The water was extremely choppy and we had to make our way back to the boat, unfortunately, due to their dock being smashed to pieces by a recent storm, they had a long line of blue and white blocks tied together, which floated on top of the water creating a wobbly walkway to get us back on the boat. The best man, Richard, and I helped everybody else along, and then bounced our way back to the safety of boat.

Hanging out in Heaven
After another thirty odd minutes of sailing, we arrived at Koh Phi Phi, the location where they shot ‘The Beach’ with Leonardo DiCaprio, and all jumped out excitedly to explore our beautiful surroundings. It wasn’t as peaceful or deserted as it is in the movie, what with a couple of hundred people scattered about the small space sunbathing, but Sarah, Richard, James and I swam across fifty metres of treacherous rocks covered by shallow water, to a secluded section where we lit up a peace pipe and passed it around. The difference between the two sides was drastic, and the seclusion created by the towering rock faces around us made things seem very peaceful. I could’ve stayed there for days but unfortunately we had a boat to catch so, after a little exploring, I followed the others back across, making it back to the boat just in time for it to set off towards Phi Phi town. A buffet was served on the boat and we all stuffed our hungry faces and sat chatting for the next thirty minutes before our final stop. Phi Phi town had a really laid back vibe to it, immediately after arriving we thought it was a shame we only had an hour, but Sarah and I made the most of it, setting off on our own to have a look around whilst the rest of the gang hit a bar to rest up with a drink. We headed towards the point where the Tsunami hit, but must’ve taken a wrong turn as we never made it there, instead we just found a beach which inexplicably had hundreds of huge black boulders all along the sand. Walking back, we checked out a few local stores and then returned to the boat, again just in time for it to set off. It is great being on tours and getting to see many different places in one go, however, I would’ve preferred to have spent the whole day on ‘The Beach’ instead of being given an hour at each place. Regardless we returned to the top deck, where Hayden pulled out his boom box, supplying us with some crunchy grooves to bop to as we sailed along the now calmer waters, getting a good burn going on our skin for the next hour and a half.
Cheeky monkeys
The Sea
We made it back to the pier where we started at and were met with a table full of plates. Upon inspection, I spotted one with a picture of me on it, then another with Sarah’s beautiful image. Despite the obvious tack, I thought they were worth the £2 each so I bought both, then we got into our awaiting van which drove us back on the long journey, through the evening traffic, finally arriving at the hotel in darkness. Absolutely shattered we showered then fell asleep, only to be woken by my 9pm alarm. It was time to see the tailor for my second and hopefully final fitting. Sarah was dead in bed but I managed to blackmail her into joining me, dragging her sleepy head up the road and into the shop. Again we waited, and waited, and then finally the suit arrived. I tried it on, and Sarah immediately spotted errors where after all of his bigging himself up, the tailor had not listened at all. There were pockets where there shouldn’t be, flaps where we said no flaps and the fit was far from perfect. She pulled it to pieces, obviously annoyed at how the moron had fed us lies about his competence when he was clearly just a bullshit guru. He wasn’t happy to have his failures pointed out, I wasn’t happy with his work, and due to him being unable to correct the whole thing by the morning he reluctantly handed back my 2000 baht deposit and I left feeling extremely disappointed. We spent pretty much our entire dinner time bitching about his stupidity, the waste of time and his utter disregard for his customers wishes, how he brushed off our requests so easily, as if he could psychically envision what I wanted. Arrogant fool.

Hayden and Richard had been talking earlier about getting an aloe vera massage and I thought it sounded good after our day getting blackened by the sun, however Sarah wasn’t interested, so she went back to the hotel and I went out on a mission to differentiate between massage parlours and brothels. After passing a few dubious looking joints, walking for about ten minutes, I came by a place with a price board outside and a few girls waiting. One immediately approached and asked if I wanted a massage, at which point I decided they’re probably all the same anyway, saying yes as I was taken inside by a chubby fifteen or sixteen year old with braces on her teeth, wearing some ridiculous silver, strappy platform shoes, which she removed at the door, and white socks. Very ‘on trend’. It turned out that she would be my masseuse, so I stripped off as instructed and laid on my front with a towel covering my bum. She proceeded in covering me with aloe vera and massaging my back and arms. She was nowhere near as good as the little gay fellow who I had in Chiang Mai, and I felt a little hard done by this time, as I lay on a thin mattress on the floor with her straddling my back. She asked me to roll over so she could do my front, and after a few minutes more, she asked if I wanted “special for 500 baht”. I said “Excuse me? What’s that?” and she said “Hand job” gesturing in a wanking motion. As much as I’d have liked a happy ending from a plump little dumpling of a child after an average-at-best massage, I declined her kind offer, at which point she all but gave up on my massage, leaving only one side of my front with the sun treatment. I requested that she finish what I’d paid for, which she did quickly, before getting my clothes on and running back to my sleepy lover to tell her of my encounter and requesting that she give me 500 baht’s worth of satisfaction. Never one to disappoint, I was gifted a very happy ending to another good day, and passed out within two seconds.

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