Adventures in Koh Phi Phi

Adventures in Koh Phi Phi
I’ve always been told I think too much…my thoughts are like that hamster on its wheel, running incessantly at all hours of the day. You take it away from the wheel only for it to jump back on moments later. These are my thoughts…they stop briefly…only to start back up with a vengeance. This has proven to be both a blessing and a curse.  I’m halfway certain I wouldn’t be in Thailand if it weren’t for my ceaseless thoughts; however, they are proving to be a curse right now. I can’t appreciate things when I’m constantly thinking about what’s to come. I could learn a thing or two from the Buddhist religion (of which I’ve shamefully learned virtually nothing about since arriving in Thailand). The closer we creep to the end of the semester, the more the girls and I are figuring out that we will likely be parting ways come May or June. This is the most daunting thought of them all, which is baffling to me. I assumed I would come to Thailand and become even more independent than I already was. Now I’ve turned into a codependent, rarely-does-anything-on-her-own, needy girl. This both pleases and aggravates me. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed turning into the independent woman over the years who genuinely appreciates and needs alone time and relishes doing things on her own. And then on the other hand, I have established an unbreakable, life-lasting bond with two of the most amazing girls I’ve ever been lucky enough to know. This leads me to my next set of thoughts. I have NO IDEA where I’m going after Thailand. NOT A CLUE! As an outsider, it’s easy to say “you have time”, but it’s not that easy. These things take time and need plans to be able to follow through properly. Plane tickets need to be purchased, visas need to be acquired at the right time, and paperwork needs to be filled out. I’m a few months shy of turning 28 (I’m still not certain how or when that happened) and I plan on going back to America and changing my profession when everything is said and done, but I’m not ready for that. Therefore, I’m putting off something that will impact me in the long run. “Follow my instinct”, you say? My instinct leads me to continue to explore the world. I would die happy if I could explore the world for the rest of my life, but a vacation alone doesn’t fill that yearning desire to get to know other cultures, other standards of living, and other languages. A vacation doesn’t give you the ability to watch the baby living in your apartment complex grow up, recognize your face and smile every time you walk up and ultimately watch this same child begin to walk. I’m living my dream to its entirety and then some…and I’m not ready to wake up. I want this to go on forever…and my heart is leading me in various directions…but I can feel it veering more and more towards Europe.

Now that I’ve gotten that off of my chest…Christmas abroad was entertaining to say the least. I knew in advance that I would be working on Christmas day, but I did not mind because we were just going to be participating in school activities. I assumed those activities would consist of manning the ice cream booth, chatting with students and watching them in their various performances. What the day actually consisted of was dancing merrily to the “Chicken Dance” with the other foreign teachers and “Jingle Bell Rock” with Lauren and Sara. Only in Thailand would I be assigned the task to co-choreograph a dance for “Jingle Bell Rock” the day before we were expected to perform.  1.) I’m a pretty horrible dancer 2.) I’ve never been known for my creative side (it’s lacking substantially) 3.) I’ve never been in charge of choreographing a dance and 4.) the only one with any dance experience (Sara) was sick that day. It was officially up to Lauren (who suffers from the same inability to dance and choreograph) and me to come up with a dance worthy of performing in front of 100s of students. This was bound to be a sight for sore eyes. We ventured off to one of the vacant classrooms with our phones in tow. Our best hope was to try and steal bits and pieces from other “Jingle Bell Rock” dances we found on YouTube. If I can be candid, even that was too difficult. After watching one video in particular numerous times to attempt to adopt the moves, Lauren and I looked at each other, shook our heads in unison and decided to come up with most of the cheesy, immature moves on our own. After about 6 hours of working diligently, we realized we had done the best we could. Later that evening, we taught the dance to Sara (who memorized the moves within 30 minutues). In addition to our trio dance, we were expected to learn a dance with some of our Thai students that preceded ours…thank goodness we had time to practice beforehand because my mind had shut down from all the work I put into our measly dance.  The following day, Christmas morning, we performed the “Chicken Dance” on stage in front of our 3,000 students. I was dressed as Mrs. Claus to accompany Santa Claus (the Governor of Pathum Thani) while he shelled out dozens of 20 BHT notes to the students and teachers from the stage. The words “make it rain” indubitably come to mind every time I recall this debacle.  Thankfully Lauren and Sara have portions of this event caught on camera. We performed our dance with the three of us later that day. Many of the students also performed their own dances in groups and individually. Sadly the students didn’t love our dance near as much as they enjoyed the student who broke out into breakdancing throughout his performance. I can’t really blame them…his dance was pretty awesome!

Christmas evening, we put on our jeans, antler ears and red shirts to attend a party at the same muddy arena where the Loy Kratong event was held. We drank, we ate, we laughed and we danced. This was the first time we’ve gotten the whole foreign department together for a night out and it was a glorious evening. Drunk and happy, we headed home to scrounge a few things together before we departed for Koh Phi Phi the following day.

The day had finally arrived for our long awaited trip down south. We left school a couple of hours early to make a few last-minute packing decisions and catch our flight to Krabi on time. 

I intend to offend no one that I have vacationed with in the past, but this was quite possibly the best vacation of my life (at least top 5). How does one classify that? I don’t know. All I know is that it was amazing. The details of this holiday are as followed…this is going to be long and story-esque, and for those of you who don’t know me, oh how I wish I could be in your head as you read this…for those of you who do know me…sorry??

After an hour and a half flight, the girls and I arrive in Krabi on Friday evening, December 26th. We initially intended to spend 4 days in Koh Phi Phi and then meet some of our friends from the TESOL course in Phuket to ring in the New Year…but of course plans change…as we have experienced on more than one occasion in Thailand. Our van pulls up merely a 100 meters shy of the hotel in Krabi, we check in, purchase our ferry tickets for the upcoming week and haul our stuff down the stairs and into our room. The hotel was rather unpleasant…carrying a lingering, putrid smell of old sewage targeted specifically in the restroom. We spend the evening relaxing…trying to prepare ourselves for the next week of debauchery that was about to ensue. We wake up, travel a block down to eat a western breakfast and get ready for our ferry departure to Koh Phi Phi at 12PM. Like the rest of the travels we’ve done to the islands and other touristy areas, we are constantly surrounded by a plethora of westerners. It is one of my favorite things about this whole experience…meeting people from all over the world. We like to play a constant game of “Guess Where They Are From”. Ears perked like a dog’s, we listen closely to the accents scattered around us (as though I could truly distinguish the origin). We play this game quite a bit on the ferry ride over…probably being wrong in our assumptions every time. The ferry trip takes about 2 hours to get there. We cruise up to the island and slowly inch closer to the breathtaking views…the standard, typical views you think of when you think of the islands in Thailand. This beauty will never escape me and never ceases to amaze me. We dock the island, grab our oversized, far too heavy luggage and hurry along through the heaps of people…staring…no gawking…at the exorbitant amount of beautiful people on the island. I was in a constant state of shock and awe. I knew the Tinder game was going to be on point, yet likely ineffective…I just didn’t know how much it would change the course of this vacation… We’ll come back to this later.

Day 1 in Koh Phi Phi:

Koh Phi Phi is unlike any of the islands we have been to so far. By that, I mean geographically speaking and the way the roads are made up. We are accustomed to small islands that are beautiful with equally as beautiful beaches but that have roads to maneuver your way around these islands…roads that require a taxi, tuk tuk or songtaew of some sort.  The roads in Phi Phi allow no such thing. Walking is your only form of transportation except for the occasional motorized carts carrying injured partygoers. If I can be honest, the roads were quite awful. As per imagined, it rains fairly frequently in Thailand, especially along the islands (small fact: Koh Phi Phi is where the tsunami hit in 2004). With all that rain, comes uneven surfaces, pot holes filled with water and residual mud stuck incessantly to the back of your clothing. Trying to lug around a 62 pound bag (Sara and I packed together because we thought it was the financially sound thing to do) over these unpaved trails was both aggravating and exhausting. Unbeknownst to us, Sara and I could have paid a mere 50 BHT to have the luggage transported for us. We arrive to the small, 5-room hotel, climb the awkward stairs with our abnormally heavy luggage and open the door to our new home for the next 4 nights. The room has one twin bed and one full-sized bed. One thing I’ve noticed as we check into each of these hotels at our various holiday spots is that none of us ever complain about having to sleep with each other. I typically despise sleeping with people but I’ve become so accustomed to it over the past few months that it doesn’t bother me at all. They are both very easy people to sleep with. Anyways, we unpack a few things and change into our bathing suits to go explore this new (to us), glorious island.  As aforementioned, this island is our first encounter with the breathtaking rock formations.  We saunter over to the beach to get a true glimpse of these formations from the other side of the island. I immediately strip down to my bathing suit top and shorts, sit down in the wet sand and stare ahead, for how long, I can’t remember. I take off my shorts and start walking into the water. The depth of the water on this side of the island stays shallow, going no higher than my waist, for quite a ways. I wish I could explain how far in meters or feet but I can’t begin to describe…maybe the size of a football field…or two?…we can’t know. I didn’t walk far out enough to see when it actually began to get deep.  I would later find out that the tide goes back very far at night; I assume that’s why it stays shallow for so long. I continue to walk through this crystal clear, warm, shallow water, I step onto a small sandy island and continue to walk. I walk until a neon green kayak carrying two attractive, young, foreign men creeps closer and closer to me. They stop just short of where I’m standing, smile up at me and with their enchanting, slightly slurred accents and ask me if I want to join them on their exploration…what they were exploring, I’m not quite sure. Naturally I’m tempted, very tempted, but with these years, comes wisdom. After a few brief moments of pondering their offer, I decide not to join. I’m pleased I say no because I’m quite certain they tipped that neon green kayak shortly after I declined their invitation. I scamper back to the beach where I meet up with the girls again. We walk along the shore taking various, stereotypical photos of anything and everything.

We eventually take the short walk back to the hotel and begin to get ready for the evening. At this point, it was still just the 3 of us girls on the island. None of our other friends had arrived just yet. We shower and try our best to look pretty, intermittently drinking from our water bottles mixed with cheap vodka from 7-Eleven, Red Bull and Sprite. We walk around the island trying to find the prime location and ultimately make our way to the beach. After a brief stroll on the beach and a little bit of dancing, we arrive at Slinky’s (a beach bar that would later become one of our frequent stomping grounds for the remainder of the trip). Needing a change of scenery, we decide to head over to Banana bar (another one of the bars that I would soon fall in love with). We climb the spiral, narrow staircase to the greatness that would await us. I look to my right and there was a table conveniently waiting for someone to participate in some beer pong. Being one of my favorite drinking games back home, I had to indulge. I hand the waiter my 500 BHT note and wait for the change and our beers. We meet a couple of Canadians who participate in a round or two with us. The previous, long week begins to wear on me. I was in need of some sleep. We begin walking home, until we arrive just outside of our hotel, or just outside of a pizza stand, to be more precise. We order a few slices of pizza, scarf them down and then I stagger up the stairs and into bed.
Day 2 in Koh Phi Phi:

After about 5 hours of insufficient sleep, my body decides it’s time to wake up. I open my sleep-filled eyes and play on my phone until the girls begin to stir beside me. I come across a photo of Phi Phi Viewpoint on Facebook and decide it’s a requirement to explore this one for ourselves. We mosey around for a while in the hotel room and then venture off to get some food from 7-Eleven (a very typical place to purchase breakfast). We eat our breakfast and follow the signs (more like posters used with Sharpies) to begin our hike up the steep hill to view both sides of the beach in one setting.

To add to our infinite supply of photos with the 3 of us girls, we ask an adorable British couple to take our picture with the unforgettable scene as our background. We sit and chat with the couple for a while giving and receiving suggestions on each of our upcoming travels. After a couple of hours, we travel back down the massive hill and begin our search for lunch. We stop at a place selling western and Thai food in between the Viewpoint and our hotel.  Sara and I order some vegetables with oyster sauce and rice, while Lauren orders some oatmeal. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I am insatiable in this country when it comes to food. Anyways, we eat, our other friend, Kirstie, shows up, we chat for a while and then head back to the room. We catch up a bit more in the room and then politely usher Kirstie out so we can take a nap and be adequately prepared to go out again that evening. Two hours later, we awake from our slumber and once again begin to get ready. I’ve surprisingly gotten used to trying to get ready in a small, cramped room with two other girls at one time, it’s not so bad…it probably helps that I love them as much as I do. Kirstie arrives back to our room just shy of 7:30PM. We finish applying the final touches of our outfits for the evening and leave for dinner. We stop at the Banana bar and eat one of the better meals we will have on the island. We share a couple of buckets, pay and leave in search of our next adventure. Being the smart, cheap girls we are, we walk to the nearest Fresh Mart to grab a few drinks and hang out on the steps to people watch…or let’s be real, to gape at beautiful men. As I mentioned before, the roads aren’t real roads and there also aren’t many roads at all. That being said, you run into the same people…frequently…or in this case you run into someone you recognize from Tinder. I’m standing on the steps chatting with the girls…and all of a sudden I hear my name being uttered by a male’s voice, “Hillary?” I look over at a group of 4 guys walking down the road toward our direction. I search the database in my brain as quickly as possible, smile, my face turns 5 shades of crimson, and I say, “Bob?”  He smiles in acknowledgement, they stop in front of us and we all begin to break off into conversation in small groups. I’ve never met a Tinder match this way and I’m completely taken aback by it. Shortly into the conversation, one of his friends asks me how we knew each other. I smirk and look in Bob’s direction, who is standing further down talking to Sara and Lauren. “Bob, how do we know each other?” I ask. My smile gets bigger, eagerly awaiting his response. It’s always interesting to see how people say they met people from Tinder. He also smirks and without skipping a beat says, “We met in New York.” The quick, easy response was perfect!  I laugh loudly and begin to explain that we met on Tinder. Everyone laughs briefly; we shrug it off and continue talking. The conversations begin to taper off and we agree to try and meet up later.

My friends and I continue to gallivant our way through the streets of Koh Phi Phi off to Slinky’s again. Around 1:00AM, we meet up with Bob and his friends, dance, drink and close the place down. Approaching the wee hours of the morning yet again, we walk Kirstie back to her bungalow located in the boonies of Koh Phi Phi and make the 10 minute walk back to the hotel. We have officially called it a night.

Day 3 in Koh Phi Phi:

After yet another night of restless sleep, we agree that we would like to have a low-key day spent lounging under the sun. We hop into our bathing suits and cover-ups, make our morning visit to 7-Eleven for our standard breakfast consisting of yogurt, hard boiled eggs and water. We head towards the pier, purchase a 100BHT ticket and get in our first long tail boat to take the 10 minute trip over to Long Beach. We read, swim and hang out on the beach until a storm forces us to the nearby restaurant. We hang out there, eat our overpriced, mediocre meals and take the long tail boat back to the pier. Continuing down our list of pampering items, we decide to get a basic, local, Thai massage…

Now I’ll begin to describe the weirdest massage I’ve ever had…Dad, you should probably stop reading this next paragraph.  The first place we entered said that we would need to wait an hour to get our massage. Knowing that there were an abundance of massage parlors to go to, we walk a 100 meters down to the next place. This massage parlor had far more curtains…which should have been my first clue, but we walk in anyways. The 3 of us girls are escorted into a portion of the room blocked off by curtains with 3 masseuses (assuming that’s what you’d call them). In broken English, they tell us to strip down to our undergarments. After we’ve done this, they say something that meant “take off your tops and turn on your stomach”. I’m a little apprehensive at this point, but I oblige. They begin the typical massage starting at the back of our legs and moving up to our shoulders. While I’m still on my stomach, I turn my head and see that the curtain to our area is opened slightly and people are walking by with easy access to peer in at any point. The ladies politely tell us to turn over and we do as we are instructed.  They cover our chests with a small, hand towel and begin to massage our legs and arms…then my girl starts to massage my stomach. I’m 99% certain I’ve never had anyone massage my stomach. She then gracefully pulls the towel from my chest. At this point, I’m rigid. I cover my chest with my left arm assuming she is just temporarily taking the towel away. She then begins to massage in between my breasts ultimately forcing my arm away. I am officially uncomfortable and wonder, “is this standard?” I open my eyes and look to my left. Sara is in the same predicament and not expressing an ounce of concern…if I recall correctly, she actually looked quite relaxed. At this point, I’m receiving a full on breast massage. I look to the right and Lauren too has a towel missing from her chest and her breasts are also being massaged…she is also expressing no concern. I realize I need to just relax and say, “Mai pen rai”. I notice a camera facing the entrance to the massage parlor and determine it’s quite possible they have this whole encounter on film. I wait anxiously for the massage to end, never reaching a real state of relaxation. I can’t wait to discuss this whole affair with the girls…out of earshot.   A small suggestion to any females planning on getting a massage in Koh Phi Phi…tell them you want to leave your top on…unless bare breast massages are your thing. As for the men, I’m not quite sure what to expect there. After the massage, we spent 150BHT (about 5 USD) for a fairly decent pedicure…my first pedicure in Thailand…of which I ruined during my nap later that day.

After our unfulfilling nap, we head to Banana Bar again for dinner and plan to meet up with Bob and his friends for another night out. (To provide a bit of background on these boys, they are all from Amsterdam and are some of the coolest, most fun-loving and all around interesting guys I’ve ever met. One thing I’ve learned about the Dutch is their English is spectacular which is convenient for me because I know approximately 7 Dutch words. I was lucky enough to have individual conversations with each of the 6 guys at some point throughout the holiday learning something new about each of them. I enjoyed every moment I spent with these guys…which is ultimately why I spent the rest of my evenings in Koh Phi Phi by their side. They also love to dance as much as I do, so it was always great company!) We spend some time dancing and talking at Banana Bar and then once again head back to Slinky’s. I’m realizing we didn’t spend a whole lot of time anywhere else on this island. After some drinking and dancing at Slinky’s, Bob and I part ways from the group and enjoy a nice, moonlit walk down the beach (sounds cliché, I know). We take a seat in the sand, face the ocean and begin to talk about various things. The mosquitos are relentless in this country and are taking no mercy on us. I scratch my legs lightly, willing the bugs to leave us alone. Eventually they win and I succumb…I can no longer take their incessant bites. Bob and I agree to call it a night. I tell him goodnight and make my way back to my hotel room where my head hits the sheets instantly.

Day 4 in Koh Phi Phi:

When Kirstie first arrived to Koh Phi Phi, she mentioned a 6 hour booze cruise that looked spectacular. Not needing anymore details, we all agreed to join her and our other friend Vaughan on this excursion…and I’ll forever be grateful we did.

The girls and I climb out of bed, play around for a few hours and then get ready for our booze cruise adventure. We walk up to the pier, where we were instructed to meet, right at 12:45PM, and wait patiently to be given further instructions. We gather around a fountain with about 15 other westerners and begin to make small talk asking where everyone is from. We are finally given the go-ahead to get on our sailboat. We climb aboard, get our belongings situated below deck and grab a drink from the bartender/co-captain. The sailboat begins to sail towards Monkey Beach, our first stop. The boat stops about 200 meters shy of the shore (honestly, I’m just guessing…I have no real concept of distance…especially when attempting to use the metric system). We are given the option to take a kayak to the island or swim. Naturally I choose to swim. I jump in and begin to make my way towards the beach. I always seem to be rushing ahead of the girls and waiting for them patiently at our destination. After almost 4 months of spending practically every waking second with them, you’d think I’d learn to slow down. With no regards to their whereabouts, I scramble onto the shore and walk towards the other people on the island. Given the name of the beach, it’s easy to infer that I was about to get up close and personal with some monkeys. I come across a few grapes left behind by some other monkeys so I pick them up and hand them to the nearest monkey. He snatches them from my hands and starts to peel off the skin searching for the juicy center. I mean, I get it, that’s my favorite part of the grape too. I continue to walk along the shore watching the monkeys as they interact with the humans and their fellow monkeys. I finally catch up with the girls. Lauren has cut several of her toes pretty badly on some coral while she was swimming to the shore. I’ll give it to her, she was such a trooper throughout the entire cruise…she barely complained. Although, after a bit of research about coral cuts, she was mildly concerned that she was going to start growing coral out of her toes. (It’s been 3 weeks since our vacation and I can safely say she does not have coral growing out of ANY toes). We spend about 15 minutes on the island taking pictures and watching the monkeys play around. Sara and Lauren jump on the kayak with Bob (the owner of the booze cruise, not my handsome, new, Dutch friend) while I swim back to the boat, a more difficult task this time around.

Everyone climbs aboard the boat and again we’re off to the next site…cliff jumping. After a short trip, we arrive to our destination. The boat stops and once again, I jump out into the ocean below with my make-shift Crocs on my feet and begin to swim towards the opening point of the cliff. The waves are pounding against the rocks as I try and grab onto the rope to help guide me up along the path. I finally reach ground and begin to make my way up the rocks trying to reach the point where I will jump. Not certain if it was nerves, adrenaline or combination of both, but I feel my body quake every step of the way. I climb up and around the rocks and finally reach the jumping spot. Seth (the bartender/co-captain) is standing next to the jumping point guiding the jumpers. I finally reach him. I gently grab his arm to provide some balance; he politely tells me he is going to hold onto my arm so I don’t pull him in with me. Dave (the other bartender/co-captain) has my GoPro in hand and asks me if I’m ready. I’m not but there’s no backing out now. Dave begins to count down “3-2-1!” I jump in and within seconds feel the cool water beneath me. As soon as I reach the surface, I realize I’m disappointed I didn’t go for the higher jump. I climb back on the boat, watch the rest of the jumpers and then again we’re off.

The next item on the agenda was Maya Beach, where “The Beach” with Leonardo DiCaprio was filmed. Again, the boat stopped short of the entrance point forcing us to either swim or take the kayak. I jump back into the water and again begin to swim. This swim was far more grueling than the previous ones. The current is getting stronger and my feeble attempt at a freestyle swim is getting me nowhere. With my GoPro and snorkel in each hand, it’s becoming more and more difficult to reach the rope. I flip over and begin to swim on my back. I’m exhausted and slightly concerned that my body will give up on me before I make it to the ladder. Austin, the intern for Bob’s booze cruise, is swimming beside me making sure I don’t drown and continuously asking me if he can help carry anything (clearly sensing my struggle). I’m stubborn and unwilling to be “that girl”. I push myself and continue to swim FINALLY reaching the rope ladder. I begin to climb and make it to the top of the landing. I catch my breath and head towards the beach. Maya Beach is a spectacular site even with the massive amount of tourists scurrying around. Our time is limited so we take as many pictures, selfies and videos as we can before we travel back to the boat.

Our last stop before heading back to the main island was a cave filled with ancient history…a truly remarkable site. After learning about the drawings within the cave, we make our way back towards the boat to enjoy a beautiful, unique sunset.
The trip back to the mainland was filled with rough waters and more booze. I sat there with my drink in hand, reliving the day in my head over and over. Tonight was supposed to be our last night on the island. I don’t know if it was the alcohol, or the beautiful men, or the post-vacation depression that was creeping in on us, but we weren’t ready to say goodbye to Koh Phi Phi and I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to Bob. I’m not sure who said it first but someone throws out the idea of staying another night. By this point, we had heard so many negative things about Phuket that there was no desire to spend our New Year’s Eve there. Kirstie and Vaughan had already made their decision, they were staying. Lauren and Sara spend all of 5 minutes pondering the idea and decide we’re staying too! I’m elated!The booze cruise comes to an unwanted end. We scamper off the boat and head in the direction of our hotel. My body is dragging and in dire need of some rest but there is no stopping me from meeting up with my new friends for the night. I shower quickly and rush through the clothes and makeup routine.

I get a message from Bob telling me to meet them at Banana Bar. The girls opt out on joining me for the evening (they obviously hadn’t caught on just yet to how amazing all of these guys are), so I mix a drink at the hotel, and make my way to the 7-Eleven for a beer. Alcohol becomes far too pricey on the islands, so you learn how to drink on a budget. I walk to Banana Bar and begin the walk up the spiral staircase again…by now, I could do this with my eyes closed. I search around for the boys and finally spot them on the rooftop portion of the bar. We climb down the ladder and onto the dance floor once again. One of the boys offers me a drink from their bucket…I happily accept it. Bob tells me he and his friends have adopted our idea of drinking on a budget. They’ve purchased whiskey to mix their own drinks with…wise decision. As I mentioned earlier, it rains often in this country. It begins to rain heavily. Assuming it would stop, we take cover under a portion of the bar. Onno (one of Bob’s friends…and a dancing machine) decides he isn’t going to let a little rain stop him. He steps onto the dance floor and begins to move. Watching Onno dance is one of my favorite things to do! He even turned a few of my quirky moves into something worth watching. I have a huge smile on my face just typing this!  We dance in the rain for what seems like hours. Not a care in the world. My hair is a mess, my clothes are drenched and I’m having the time of my life dancing with these remarkable Dutchmen. A few hours later, we leave Banana Bar in search of…well I’m not quite sure what we were in search of…I was just along for the ride. We walk to a hotel that has a pool (majority of them did not have pools) and just as people are about to jump in, a Thai guard of some sorts promptly puts a stop to our fun. We turn back and separate from his friends again. Bob walks me back to my hotel room and we say goodnight.

Day 5 in Koh Phi Phi:

I’m the first one to wake up again…this will probably always be the case. The lack of sleep is wearing on me. I can feel my body giving up, yearning for more than 5 hours of restless sleep, but it’s New Year’s Eve…I can’t stop now. It’s our last night on Koh Phi Phi and it’s my last night with Bob.

We all feel like we’ve been hit by a bus and checkout is at 11:00AM…a daunting thought. Lauren slowly crawls back under the covers while Sara and I pack our belongings, sifting through the sand and trash that has accumulated in our room over the past 5 days. Now that we’ve decided to stay for another night, we have the task of trying to transport our luggage to the new accommodation. We leave Lauren to her slumber and search for this new accommodation that Carter has been gracious enough to help get squared away for us. The group he is staying with had some people back out at the last minute, so, conveniently there was enough space for us to stay…and coincidentally enough, the accommodation was located right next to our hotel. Now that we’ve located the new hotel, we can finish packing and check out. Sara and I do our best attempt to ask the lady at the new hotel if we could keep our luggage there until Carter arrived. After pantomiming, repeating ourselves over and over again in English (hoping it would make sense each time) and speaking the little bit of Thai we know, we decide to give up…our request to leave our belongings there has gone unanswered. Thankfully the owner of the previous hotel was courteous enough to allow us to leave our luggage there while we waited for Carter.

We go eat breakfast and begin conversing with two Australian boys at the table next to us. They share some funny, entertaining and graphic stories with us that can only be shared in the more personal version of this story. We spend a couple of hours chatting with them, trying to kill time while we wait for Carter to arrive. Carter isn’t scheduled to arrive until after 3:00PM and it was barely 12:00PM. We eventually say goodbye to the Australians and head towards the beach.

After a couple of hours of lounging in the shade on the beach, we begin daydreaming of various meals we would like to eat. We finally agree to drag ourselves to the nearest restaurant and order some food. We wait…and wait…and wait. Eventually I walk towards the ocean to make a call to Carter, hoping that he is close to the island. I spot Bob walking in my direction. He stops in front of me just as my conversation ends with Carter. He begins to explain that his phone is resting in a bag of rice (‘haha enough for 10 phones’).  I’m confused…I’m not quite certain what has happened to his phone. He starts to tell me he thought I was joking when I suggested that he put his phone in rice. Apparently the night before, when we were attempting to go swimming, his phone was in a bag that ultimately became soaked with water, subsequently drenching his phone with water. He was now phoneless. All of this had slipped my mind. I let him know that we are going to eat but that I would like to meet up with him soon. He tells me he will be at the beach all day. I walk back to the girls who have grown increasingly impatient. After 30 minutes of waiting, a waiter still has not come by to collect our order. We agree to go back to the place that never fails us when it comes to food and entertainment…Banana Bar. While we are there, Carter calls letting us know he has safely made it to the island and is checking in. Sara and Lauren go scope out the new establishment while I wait for our food to arrive.  After I finish eating, I gather up my stuff to check out the room we were going to be staying in for the night. We’ve stayed in some pretty interesting places over the course of the past 4 months in Thailand, but this one was the most…unique. I assume it would be categorized as a hostel because it has 5 bunk beds in one room and 1 bathroom to share. At this point, I didn’t care where we stayed so I wasn’t going to complain. All I want to do is get back out to the beach. Carter and his friend, Matt, help me carry our luggage from one hotel to the other so I could branch away from the girls and not feel guilty for leaving them to handle this task on their own. I rush out to the beach where I spend some sober time with Bob and his friends. After a couple of hours, I get a phone call from Lauren. The girls are unhappy and mildly traumatized by our sleeping situation. I can hear by the tone of her voice that they want to look for somewhere else to stay…I can’t really blame them. We were halfway certain there was a permanent bloodstain on the toilet seat. I excuse myself from the conversation with the boys and tell them I will meet up with them later. I walk back to the hostel and the girls and I begin our search for a different accommodation. Each place we come by is booked and I’m not surprised…it is New Year’s Eve after all. We continue walking, hoping that we’ll come across something, but we come up empty handed each time. We walk to the end of the island and realize EVERYTHING is booked…except for the Holiday Inn that would set us back about 25,000BHT a night (it’s possible I’m making that number up but either way, it was insanely expensive). Finally realizing our fate for the evening is with that hostel, we succumb and drag ourselves back.

I shower (a truly repulsive task) and get ready for my first New Year’s Eve overseas…

To my surprise, I’ve become even closer to the girls over the past 5 days, our bond has intensified and here they are with me as we approach the New Year. They’ve conceded and allowed both of my wishes to come true…to be with them and him right at midnight. I’m not one to find an interest in a holiday romance, but he is worth my time. We arrive at Banana Bar and I start making my way around the crowded bar searching for Bob. I can’t find him but I know that if he’s here, he’ll find me. Within moments of being there, I see him stand up in the rooftop portion of the bar and wave down at me. I make my way up the stairs with the girls following closely behind me. He and his friends are drinking in an area of the rooftop that conveniently holds enough people for all of us to fit comfortably.  We say our hellos and realize it is quickly approaching midnight. Fireworks are going off intermittently…I stand on the bench to get a better view.  The countdown has begun. “3-2-1!” I’m holding my phone up, the video is recording…I’m trying to capture everyone on film as we start 2015. The clock strikes 12:00AM, we yell out loudly “Happy New Year!” in unison and begin to hug each other fiercely…smiles from ear to ear…elated to be where we are at that very moment. The guys have purchased a bottle of champagne to toast to the New Year! We say a cheer and merrily sip on the glorious champagne. At this point, I don’t think I could be any happier.  We continue to watch the fireworks go off into the dark sky above and eventually make our way down to the beach where the beach party is in full motion. We dance like it’s the only thing we know how to do! I’m in a constant state of bliss but time is passing too quickly. Before I know it, it’s 4:00AM. The girls and I have to be up at 7:00AM to make our 9:00AM ferry to Phuket so I’m beginning to get a bit anxious about the amount of sleep I’m going to get. Bob walks me back to the hostel and we stand outside saying our goodbyes…but I can’t bring myself to say a final goodbye just yet. We turn around and stroll back to the beach…walking, talking and eating the most delicious ham, egg, cheese, lettuce and tomato sandwich I’ve had in Thailand.  5:00AM quickly approaches and I realize that I SERIOUSLY need to go to sleep. I’m beyond shocked I’ve stayed up this late especially considering the amount of sleep I’ve forfeited over the past 4 nights. Bob begins to walk me back to the hostel again.  We run into his friends along the way and I tell them goodbye and profess my drunken love for each of them for the 10th time that night. Someone brings up the idea of me and the girls visiting Amsterdam and I already begin making plans in my head. I finally make it back to the room and crash out within minutes.

Adios Koh Phi Phi:

After an hour and a half of sleep, I’m wondering how I’m even able to function properly. I muster up the energy to tear myself away from my bed and pack up my belongings to leave this glorious island.



After 10 pages of typing, I don’t think I can type anymore…and this is the condensed version of the story. If I were reading this, I would have likely given up about 9 pages ago… so for now, I’m going to throw in the towel. There’s so much more to say, so I’ll start back where I left off on the next blog. The girls and I are going to have another relaxing weekend so hopefully it won’t take me another month to post.

I assume it’s natural that I want to justify my behavior or maybe I shouldn’t be so forthcoming for the world to see, but this is me. Life won’t always be this way…I won’t always have these opportunities…and I won’t always be this young. I assure you this adventure of mine is not all about partying. We have come to a group consensus that there will be no drinking in January and over halfway through the month, we have maintained this promise.

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