Thursday, January 16, 2014

taking a vacation (part 3).

Day six found us heading to the beaches. I’m not a huge ‘hang out on the beach’ person. I get bored too easily and spend most of the time worrying about whether or not I’ve got enough sunscreen on. I love the ocean but generally prefer the rocky cliffs of say Maine or Oregon to the tropical spots but can be swayed for a day or two if I’m busy doing something. So even though we had a fair amount on our schedule (snorkeling, kayaking and such) I wasn’t really looking forward to five beach days. It didn’t take too long for me to change my mind.

First up we spent a couple of days on Kho Phi Phi Island. Our bungalow looked down over the white sand beach and the turquoise water. It was rather breathtaking. The island had been hit hard by the tsunami a few years ago and it was interesting to talk to the locals about the change and the damage that had been done. We were able to walk up to an overlook (which now serves as the tsunami warning evacuation zone) where you could see the two main bays divided by just a narrow strip of land and see pictures of what things looked like before and after. And of course we then had to look up youtube videos of it actually happening. Amazing and terrifying all at the same time. (If you want a good dramatized account watch The Impossible. It will tear you to pieces but it seems pretty darn accurate based on the all the videos we watched.)

We took a boat tour to some of the surrounding islands to feed the ‘wild’ monkeys, see where The Beach was filmed, swim, soak up the scenery and snorkel. The water was so clear you could look down from the boat and see hordes of fish swimming without using any masks or anything. But of course you got a better view actually under the water. We were able to see sharks, Nemo and Dory, sea urchins, coral and a million colorful creatures I’ll never know the names of. I wish I wasn’t so claustrophobic because I would love to be able to scuba and really immerse myself in the sea world but snorkeling is a close second to that experience and this was an awesome place to do it.

Towards the end of our last dive I brushed up against a sea urchin or something that burned my whole arm. I climbed into the boat and it was all red and covered in little angry welts. I told the guide and he assured me I’d be fine and he’d fix it when we got to the last island (meanwhile I’m having visions of invisible jelly fish and me convulsing and dying on the boat as my arm is getting redder and redder.) But sure enough he tossed me a few leaves later and instructed me to tear them into little pieces and mix them with my spit and rub it on my arm. I felt a bit ridiculous but the sting went away instantly. Amazing that wherever there is a threat there is also a cure. What don’t we with our western knowledge know? What have we forgotten or refuse to see?

the view from our hotel
the overlook

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