Ko Phi Phi, Thailand
7° 41' N 98° 46' E
Dec 17, 2005 14:46
Distance 302km

Text written in: English

Ko Phi Phi-ing it down.

The trip to Phi Phi was not an enjoyable one for our young Odysseus. Both Thailand and Malaysia seem to revel in absurdly pointless stops and bus changes, some to pick up green stickers and of course the vital red sticker which allows you to get onto the bus for the blue sticker. Once in Krabi they braved the boat to Phi Phi.

After 15 hours of travelling it was Ben's task to find accommodation. Phi phi is a small island yet he still managed to take close to two hours to book the first room he saw, not realising that Tim was sitting with all the bags in a café that farmed mosquitoes, and was literally being eaten alive. He was most likely not so impressed when Ben returned after an hour with a child's bicycle and a lunatic Thai woman. Luckily as these things seem to do, it all worked out and from their room they prepared for a deluge of sun fuelled frolics.

The god of Phi Phi had other ideas. Rain seemed to be promoted to phi phi's sibling rather than the distant cousin they hoped it to be. The weather was so bad at times Ben even considered spending two hundred pounds to learn to scuba dive, but more out of principle he decided against it. The principle being that there is no reason that scuba diving should be treated with reverence, for it is merely underwater bird watching, a wet suit and goggles replacing a Kagool and binoculars. The real trouble with scuba divers is that they form a sort of clan. Scuba divers to Phi Phi is Goths to Camden. You can spot them a mile away, normally because they are carrying their course book which they spend the majority of their time revising. Ben contented himself by playing volleyball with the locals who took their sport even more seriously than he did. No friends were made on the court, just various degrees of enemies.

To refuel, Ben and Tim both capitalised on the abundant supply of sea food on offer. The prommenade was littered with restaurants displaying their aquatic comestibles cased in ice. The idea is that you point to your chosen gilled friend and tell the charming waiter how you want said fish cooked and it is done, without fuss or delay. The crab was sublime. It was early on in the Phi Phi experience that in a hangover from the half moon party the night before Ben heard a shout that sounded joyfully familiar. Like a melody not heard since childhood being chimed by distant bells, the call of Ben sent a warm glow through his muscular frame. It was Francine from the Chang Mai trek.

Now many young men go travelling but very few choose to spend their time with newly weds on their honeymoon, but Ben and Tim do. Almost every evening Ben and Tim spent with Pete and Francine, and every one offered new insights into married life and the characteristics of its participants. Ben had always felt that Pete was a reluctant attendee of these dinners, however on the last night Pete went from Francine's other half to Pete the legend. Neither Ben or Tim knew what happened to him that night but he became, much to Francine's annoyance one of the funniest and at time most outrageous people that Ben had ever met. Much like ‘Willy' after he was freed jumps and sprays water in delight Pete seemed emancipated by his own wit and was gleefully putting it on display. It was truly a joy to watch.

Ben grew rather attached to the damp island and after visiting Maya beach, where Leonardo Di Caprio filmed the over rated Alex Garland adaptation of ‘The Beach.' For those who question why he is over rated, he is what literally critics call a ‘pretentious wanker.' He was part of ‘The New Puritan movement,' which was if we were being kind, a sort of instruction manual to good narrative writing, or if we are being truthful was a ludicrously nonsensical fascist mandate, Indeed if you have read any of the narratives writing under the movement you will be instantly struck that none of authors keep to any of their own rules. Pointless drivel. Apologies for the rant, where were we... Ah yes... Maya beach is spectacular and is well worth visiting again. It was on this trip that Ben also dabbled with snorkeling. ‘Wait' I hear you cry ‘is snorkeling not a similar pursuit to scuba diving?' Well yes it is, but Ben justified it as a casual persuit rather than the socially reiforced lifestyle choice that scuba diving is. It was absolutley incerdible. The process of dipping your head under water is that of entering a new, seemingly unchartered world. It is truly beautiful.

There was of course a few dramas along the way. Ben was woken at the crack of dawn his time, 11am to the rest of the world, by a stampede of Thai school children, screaming and waving their arms like the chickens they were most likely being taught to slaughter. Ben spent a good five minutes jeering and poking sticks at the fatter runners, on what he assumed was a cross country run. However he was slightly peturbed when he saw that there were Westerners partaking in the event, with faces that seemed to portray the coming of armageddon. It slowly dawned on Ben like Sun in a sweedish winter that this could be a Tsunami evacuation. Immediately Ben sprang into action. This was an emergency, a time for decisive action. Thus after doing his hair and choosing his outfit, he put together a bag of essentials - Ipod, Stephen Fry's 'The Liar,' (because he is not pretentious), and other such life saving components . He bolted into the lobby where the manager of hotel was still lying on his bed, positioned in the middle of room, and was giggling away at the fear struck tourists. As it turned out it was merely a Tsunami drill, but was seen by locals as almost a practical joke on unsuspecting tourists. Ben had his revenge on the night that Tim got so drunk he wen t home early, after stealing and crashing a bicycle,  and locked himself in the room. This meant that Ben had to wake up the night porter and manager to get the spare key as well as most of the ground floor with his banging on the door.

 Drunkeness became a theme. Indeed stupdily on their last night thanks to Pete's extreme change of personality Ben and Tim got absolutely wasted and were forced to travel to their next destination of Ko Samui in one of the worst hangovers to date.