Published: October 4th 2007October 4th 2007
One of the Tour Boats at Phuket Harbour. This one is similar to the one that we took.
So more training last week, leading up to sunday which was my next full day off. Some of the guys from the gym and I thought it might be a nice idea to take a tour of some islands near Phuket. We chose to take a tour of Ko Phi Phi and the islands that surround it. So we went in to Patong and booked ourselves a tour. Thus started our adventure......
We arrived at the Phuket harbour at around 7:45am, and located our tour boat. It was a 4 engine speedboat that fit approximately 30 people. From our booking, and the brochures, we were under the impression that it was going to be quite a bit smaller, but it didn't bother me too much. The boat ride to the island took about an hour, and was quite enjoyable. The ocean was quite calm, and I took several pictures of the ocean and some islands. Plus I was in good company, so it was pretty relaxing.
Our first stop was a beach on a smaller island near Phi Phi. It was actually the same spot as the movie "The Beach" was filmed. Had there not been 10 other tours
View out the back of our boat.
going on at the same time and had the beach not been so crowded with people, and had those people not just left their garbage on the ground when they were done with it, I would say that it was the most beautiful place I had ever been. There were no trash cans around, just signs that said "Take your garbage with you" and nobody there to enforce it. Had it been a little more maintained, it would've been a nicer place. But it was still gorgeous. The pictures don't quite do it justice.
It was when we got back in the boat, and started to head to our next destination that we saw it. Off in the distance, and closing fast, was perhaps the meanest, tallest, darkest looking stormcloud I have ever seen. I took a picture of it. From the time of the picture to when it had completely surrounded us was maybe 15 minutes. After a brief snorkling session with colorful fish, the storm came. And this was not just any little storm, it was a biblical, perfect-stormesque, torrential downpour that made the ocean very very choppy. We were soaked through in a matter of minutes,
Ko Phi Phi
View of Ko Phi Phi
and the boat would go off a large wave every 10-15 seconds. It was at this point that the camera went away. To begin with the crowd in the boat sounded like they were having fun on a roller coaster. When our tour guide let us know that the time to our next destination would be 45 minutes, suddenly the mood changed and people were having a lot less fun. It was not long before there were women screaming, babies crying, and masses huddled together hoping to warm themselves off of each other's body heat.
As luck would have it, I seem to have an iron constitution, worthy of NASA training. I did not get the least bit seasick, or even remotely queasy. So that was not an issue for me. The Irish guy that I was sitting next to, Mike, did not have it quite so easily. He turned the greenest I've ever seen another human being turn. It was only a matter of time before he became ill. This lead to the most hilarious event of the day, and potentially of my entire trip. After finishing being sick in a plastic garbage bag, Mike decided that
This is "The Beach" where the film of the same name was made.
it would be a good idea to dispose of it, and rightfully so. Rather than walking to the rear of the speedboat and tossing it off the back, he decided that he would rather just huck it out the window directly over my head. It was at this point that the bag ruptured and showered me in his vomit. My response to this was to jump up, dash to the rear of the boat and launch my puke-covered T-shirt into the sea. Later on I would have Mike buy me a new one. But at the time he was in some rough shape.
So I spent the rest of the day wearing somebody's extra t-shirt that was way too big for me. We stopped at a lunch buffet and got some food. The storm had not let up in the least. As I have probably expressed in earlier entries, I have never seen it rain like it does in this country. We came up next to an island that was called "Monkey Island" and usually has monkeys running around in the trees. But the monkeys were smarter than we were, and rather than being out in the pouring rain,
View down the beach
Very crowded with tourists. I suppose I didn't help the situation.
they were comfortably hidden somewhere where we couldn't see them. It was a nice looking cliff though.....
One quick, choppy trip and our tour adventure was over. My hat's off to the captain of our humble vessel, he did quite a good job of not capsizing us into the Ocean. When we finally got back to Phuket harbour, we were all laughing uncontrollably. By all rationale we should have been completely miserable, but it was one of those situations where we had such a bad time that it turned into a good time because the story is hilarious. Somewhere between the choppy sea, the torrential downpour, the flying vomit, and the clinically insane tour guide, we had a really good experience. It was definitely something we bonded over. Mike didn't so much apologize to me as he just walked up to me, put his hand on my shoulder and burst out laughing. What do you say? Sorry I vomitted on you?
The next day I trained only in the afternoon. I was feeling some illness coming on. I know you don't actually get sick from being cold and wet, but it certainly doesn't help your body fight off
Another view down the beach. Some people should not wear speedos.
anything that it might be catching. That night I got the chills and was feverish again. I turned off my air conditioning, put on layers of clothes and was still shivering in my blankets. In a country this hot, that's not normal.Another day or so of that, not training, feeling generally icky, we decided to go to Kata beach.
Kata beach is just down the road from Chalong and maybe 15 minutes from Tiger Muay Thai. I spent that time relaxing on a beach chair and sleeping. I also took some pictures there. Not quite as nice as Ko Phi Phi, but it didn't rain or cost any money. At one point I saw a Thai man going for a run while smoking a cigarette. Nothing in this country phases me anymore. 90% of the weirdest stuff I've ever seen has been here.I'm just on my way out of being sick, but I'm a little disappointed because I don't have that much time left to train here and I'm wasting it by being ill. But I'm still having a good time relaxing.
There are more photos below