Published: January 10th 2007December 27th 2006
Reception, P. P. Casita
Keeping up tradition at P.P. Casita
After a fun night watching a fire show at Carpe Diem bar we dragged ourselves out of bed early and set off in search of breakfast. We had planned to go to Rantee Beach so needed an early start before it became too hot. Sharon and Scott were surprised to see how much things had changed since last year. Some things had disappeared and others popped up. We ended up back near our hotel for breakfast as most places were still closed. Soon after we were climbing the hundreds of steps to the viewpoint, the views from up there were amazing and you could see how the Tsunami of 2 years ago had been so devastating.
After the obligatory photo stop we set off down the other side of the hill to Rantee Beach. Once here we soon stripped off and headed for the sea to cool down. The weather was quite windy today making the sea choppy but we still managed to swim to the coral and snorkel around for a while. Sharon came across a Moray eel and Stan and Scott swam down for a closer look, I, however, was content to watch from the surface. After a
Made it to the Viewpoint
No easy task in this heat, but worth it
pleasant lunch at the local bar we spent the rest of the afternoon lazing on the beach and snorkelling in the sea. We decided to treat ourselves to a Longtail boat ride back to town rather than slog back up and over the hill.
Christmas Dinner was a very different occasion to what we are used too, no chicken dinner today, stir fries and noodles instead, but we did have 4 tiny crackers that I'd squeezed in my backpack to pull and ended up wearing the paper hats for a photo shoot much to the amusement of fellow diners. We ended up back at Carpe Diem where Sharon and Scott promptly fell asleep on the cushions while waiting for the fire show to begin. 2 days of solid travelling had finally caught up with them.
Boxing Day found us packing up and moving out, we decided to eat breakfast near the pier so we could see when the first ferry arrived. Of course service was so slow that by the time the food arrived, so had the first ferry, loaded with hundreds of other backpackers all keen to find a bed for the night. We threw our food
down our necks as the ferry slowly docked. We began asking at various places for vacancies, the problem is if you go too early no-one will have checked out but leave it too late and any rooms that become empty are quickly filled. Our first choice had one air-con room and one fan room. The grounds looked wonderful, cute little bungalows set around a small swimming pool, bonus! Stan and I said we’d take the fan room as we’re not keen on air-con anyway. Oh dear, when we saw (and smelt) the state of the room we began to regret the decision, a double, very hard mattress on a tiled platform with a fan above dripping with cobwebs nothing in the way of furniture not even a chair. My first thought was “cockroaches crawling in backpacks on the floor” The bathroom was even worse, the toilet seat was hanging off and no flush just a bucket of water to tip down instead. A bit of a hole in the floor below a shower head that dripped cold water. Fortunately an hour later another air-con room became available next to Sharon and Scott’s and we were upgraded.
We dropped our
bags and set off to Long Beach, after a 15 minute walk over the rocks we hit the beach and immediately dropped in the cool water. The snorkelling was ok but Sharon insisted it was far better further up the beach near Shark Point. We had a lazy lunch then carried on up the beach. As I am the weakest swimmer Stan and I set off towards Shark Point first and Sharon and Scott set off a few minutes later. Now I’m not sure if I was secretly afraid of seeing a shark or not, but as I got near to shark point I noticed a lot of Barracuda type looking fish at the surface of the water, My least favourite fish when I was in Egypt. Just at this point Sharon and Scott had arrived close by and I turned tail and swam back to shore! What a wimp! I was devastated when the other 3 arrived back on the beach 15 minutes later and announced that they had seen several black tipped reef shark. I had got so close, oh well, maybe next time.
That night I was taking ages to get ready to go out, being
Looking from Phi Phi Viewpoint
It's easy to see why the island was so devastated by the Tsunami, the wave hit both sides of the flat land almost at the same time, this is where the town is situated
a novice at this backpacking lark I could never find anything in my bag! So many pockets! Sharon and Scott suggested we meet up in Hippies Bar. The trouble was we set off and turned right out of our bungalows, after 10 minutes of tramping along we found ourselves in the middle of town. Where was this Hippies Bar? It was supposed to be close by. We doubled back thinking we’d missed it then and realised what day it was. The second anniversary of the Tsunami. All along the beach front people were sending up little hot air balloons in commemoration of loved ones lost. We felt compelled to watch for a few minutes then set off in search of Hippies Bar again. If we’d have turned left when we’d left out bungalows we’d have reached Hippies in one minute! Doah! Of course by this time Sharon and Scott had decided to come and look for us, so, while we were looking for them, they were looking for us! We did eventually meet up though and had a good laugh about it.
Later that night we went back to Carpe Diem, at 11.20pm the fire show stopped and without
being told everyone quietly filed onto the beach, we were all given a candle to light and placed it in the sand in two long lines. When everyone had done this and was stood looking out to sea, complete silence fell. It was a very moving moment. Up in the sky we could see numerous small hot air balloons floating up. After a few minutes the music began softly and gradually everything went back to normal. I felt honoured to part of this ceremony.
There are more photos below