September 1, 2008
Monica, my friend from UT, arrived in Thailand Wednesday evening to stay for 6 days before heading to Vienna for her own study abroad…yay! It was SO good to see a familiar face. After she arrived, we went out to Kao San Rd with 10 of the other exchange students to have dinner at a nice Japanese restaurant. Well, we thought it was nice until we got our food (which by the way, took as little as 15 minutes for one person to get their food and 1.5 hours for the last person to get her food), which was not so nice. Bad sushi, argh.
After braving sushi on Kao San Rd, we met up with a group of 10 other exchange students at an Indian restaurant & hookah bar. Well, after walking around in circles for an hour, we found the hookah restaurant. I am truly terrible at navigation, but as soon as Monica grabbed the phone from me and got directions, we arrived at the place within 10 minutes. Maybe she should study abroad in Bangkok. Damn confusing place.
We leave the hookah bar around midnight and I quickly pack for Phuket, sleep for a few hours, and head to Finance in the morning. The minute we are released from Finance, I run home, grab my bag, and Monica and I take off for the airport. Once we arrive in Phuket, we book a hotel and are immediately hounded by people trying to get us to take their fixed-rate taxi into town. I had a horrible experience with a taxi when I first arrived in Bangkok… I was lost and confused and was of course jipped by a fixed-rate taxi, as opposed to a meter. I now refuse to get in a fixed-rate taxi and I made Monica & I walk for ~ 45 minutes into town before we finally realized we weren’t going to get a taxi outside the airport, since that is where all the taxis were going. Back to the airport we go. Sorry, Monica!
Once we arrive at the hotel, we venture out to get some food and it begins pouring rain. Yes, we went to an island during monsoon season. We buy an umbrella at a local convenience store, only to leave it in our hotel room for the remainder of the trip, naturally getting caught in pouring rain on at least 4 more occasions. Nice.
The next morning, we take a taxi shuttle + ferry to Phi Phi island. Luckily, the actual ride was a much less arduous task than trying to communicate my phone number with the tourist agency, via telephone:
Lady on phone: “0281-28-94-1?”
Me: “Noooo….” (repeat 10 times) I then tried to repeat my phone number in Thai and the lady on the phone told me to tell her again, in English. My Thai must be really terrible if a Thai woman is asking me to speak to her in English.
Once we arrive in Phi Phi, we find a guesthouse to stay at, leave our umbrella there (mistake #1), and rent a kayak (mistake # 2). Just kidding, the kayaking was actually really great (minus the bout of sea sickness), we were all alone in the beautiful, vast sea and we paddled out to a big rock for a couple hours.
Once we arrive back at the beach, the people we rented the kayaks from asked if we went to Monkey island, which as the name implies, is an island full of monkeys hopping around. No, we went to a rock instead. A rock. Not a special rock, just a rock I made us paddle out to. I need to not be allowed to make decisions while traveling.
The next morning, we get up early and change guest houses (word of wisdom, if going to Phi Phi, do not stay at Uphill Cottages. They should be named Downhill Cottages), and then arrange our bus ticket home (not such an easy task, as all airports and trains have been closed due to political demonstrations in Bangkok).
Before all this, we eat breakfast and after ordering I leave to find an osmosis tank to fill up our water bottles (I remembered seeing one on the way back from the club last night). I literally am gone for over 30 minutes, b/c I walked to the other side of the island to find the damn osmosis water tank. After finally getting back to breakfast and eating, we leave and 10 feet later, I see another osmosis water tank.
We next sign up for rock climbing and after a couple hours on the beach, off we go to climb!
While climbing, we met some kickass Aussies and an English girl. After climbing from about 1pm-7pm, we shower and meet up with the Aussies for dinner at Ciao Bella, an Italian restaurant right on the beach. We have a nice, long meal and then head back to the rock climbing store to meet up with the English girl and her friend and then we head to the clubs for the Black Moon party. At one of the clubs, there are some Thai guys performing fire dances, which we watch for a while, and afterwards, the performance area turns into a dance club.
At one point I walked off to find Monica, and I run into these two Irish girls who ask me to take a picture for them. After I take a picture, one of them starts telling me how its a bad idea to get your lip pierced while drunk (bad idea, really?), and then next thing I know I find myself in a tattoo/piercing parlor… to watch this inebriated German guy get his nipple pierced….ouch!!!
Shortly afterwards, I go home and Monica follows suit about 7 hours later…. she legit gets home as I wake up. Then we both sleep for a few more hours, go to the beach for a little while in the afternoon and head to Krabi island to catch our bus back to Bangkok. 12 hour bus back to Bangkok, actually not as bad as I thought it would be. We arrive at 4:30 AM, I go home for a few hours to catch up on emails, and then head to school at 9am.
After class, Monica and I do some Muay Thai and then take a journey to find a hole in the wall massage parlor my friend recommended. A few shady alley ways later, we find the massage parlor and have a much needed massage, after that 12 hour bus ride. Next on the agenda: a Ladyboy cabaret show. Ladyboys are male to female transvestites, whom make up a good percentage of the population in Thailand, and the cabaret show was full of some of the most gorgeous women (genetically male) I have ever seen. It was quite amazing–they were hott!!
*Just found out school was canceled today for safety concerns due to the political protests and possible coup happening in Bangkok. Hip Hip Hooray, back to bed!*