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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Monkeys, Fish, and Bugs... Oh My!

Absolutely nothing! Nothing was under our bed and nothing was in my (Alisha's) luggage. This was even more scary because we had no idea where it could have possibly been hiding. It had apparently found a good spot, waiting for the perfect moment to jump out and get us. Whitney and I couldn't take it anymore. We went downstairs and asked if we could get an upgrade. The lady just nodded her head and said they had a new room with air conditioning. Was it really that easy? Why did we not do this before?!?! We each paid like $20 to live in a small slice of heaven. Totally worth it. We walked up to our new room with huge smiles on our faces. I am currently sitting in a room that is clean, cool, and not falling apart. It feels SOOOOOOOOOO good!

After we spent the morning basking in our wonderful air conditioning, we got breakfast/lunch at our favorite place, Tom Yam Restaurant. We've started to make friends with the little Thai lady that owns the place. After breakfast/lunch, we prepared for our trip to go snorkeling. We had bought a package to spend a half day of snorkeling and boating until sunset for only $15. It was so much fun! Our day of snorkeling and getting air conditioning definitely made this trip to the Phi Phi Islands feel more like a vacation to be enjoyed, rather than endured.

The snorkeling trip mostly entailed riding a large boat around all of the small islands of Phi Phi. We first rode the boat to Monkey Island. The boat stopped a good distance away and we got our snorkeling masks and flippers on. As soon as you jump in there are lots of yellow striped fish to greet you. They tend to collect around the boat because oftentimes the people throw bread to them. I thought that it might be weird to swim with fish close enough to touch me, but it was actually really cool. We swam all of the way to the beach, looking at the coral and all the strange looking creatures that live on the bottom of the sea. The beach was high tide, so it didn't really seem like a beach. But there were monkeys! There was even a mommy monkey holding her baby. We didn't have a lot of time to be with the monkeys, but i did get pictures and a video of them.

-I stood on the beach and tried not to be scared, I apparently have a fear of monkeys. PS surreal to be standing in the ocean under trees with monkeys above you. -Whit

We swam back to the boat and rode around, hearing stories about a bird that lives in some of the caves on the island. They use this bird to make a soup, or maybe they use the nests to make the soup, that supposedly makes you stay young. I could barely see the white birds because they were so far away at the top of the cliff. We would have had to pull a Nacho Libre and SUMMON OUR EAGLE POWERS to find something that would help us be uunbeatable. Just around the rock from the birds, we came to the Phi Phi Lagoon. Our mission: to kayak through the lagoon and be back in time to also snorkel a little more. Kayaking was fun. I went with Jenna, but Whitney, Sarah, and Laura's kayak was tipped over by one of the Thai boatmen. I heard him chuckling to himself evilly as our kayak passed by him.

-Yeah what the heck that man was pretty proud of himself. Dang Jenna splashed us hard and after that the sinking was so bad that I couldn't paddle (in the front). Sarah had to take us back singlehandedly, thank you fearless leader.- W

As we started off to our next destination, the wind picked up and it seemed like there would be another storm. The waves were huge. We came to a place where there was a beautiful beach to go swim in, but the only way to get to it is to swim to this rope thing that leads to a rickety, wooden staircase. It was a challenge to swim against all of the big waves, let me tell you. The trick was to swim to a rope in the sea that was attached to the bridge and then pull yourself in. I did this, but when I got to the bridge I somehow got tangled in all of the ropes. The giant waves made it incredibly hard to get myself out of the ropes and onto the stairs. The guy in front of me was taking forever (you could only fit one at a time), so I was stuck. Suddenly I heard the men helping everyone onto the bridge start yelling that a bad wave was coming. I braced myself but was still flung into the rocks, tangled in the ropes. I have cuts on my legs and feet to prove it. It was rather terrifying. I was pretty shaken up so I had an even harder time getting myself up that bridge/staircase. After we got over the stairs we walked until we got the Maya Bay. It was absolutely gorgeous, with the warmest water yet. Too bad my favorite beach almost killed me to get there.

-My swim wasn't nearly that traumatic but I still thought death was immanent. The ocean is freakin scary. I'm adding it to my list of fears I have sort of conquered. -Whit

The group has labeled me the "Damsel in Distress." Throughout this whole trip, I have constantly been receiving help from some very kind, considerate men. I have brought a rather large and heavy bag here to the islands (-who does that-), but I have rarely had to carry it anywhere. Its not like I am looking for help (Okay, well sometimes I am. But not always!) All I have to do is make the motion like I am about to pick up my bag and POOF - a nice man appears to carry it for me (-which is ridiculous, no one does that for anyone else-). All of the other girls have had to mostly carry their luggage. I am spoiled. I was also helped by a very attractive Brazilian man with looks comparable to Enrique Iglesias after I struggled so much on the bridge. After you finish climbing the stairs, there is an area of rough shells and small rocks that you have to cross over. I was shaken up and my feet were already hurting, so I was trying to take the rough sand slowly. We didn't have our shoes because they had us put them in a bin right from the start. That's when he showed up, holding out his flip flops to me. I graciously accepted them, while he took off. He wasn't even from the same boat as me, but he did not seem too concerned about whether or not he would get them back. Luckily, I did see him again as we headed back to the boat. Thank you, beautiful Brazilian man. You are a real life saver. :) (-I will admit he was fun to stare at-)

We completed our tour by watching a sunset, although it was unfortunately too cloudy to really see it. I am sure it was truly majestical behind all of those clouds. We pulled up into shore and they fed us dinner. During dinner, they had a fire dancing show. The first kid was probably only like 10 years old, yet he was flying fire everywhere. It was awesome. We walked back to our place (after all getting the Magnum ice cream bars that we are all addicted to) and breathed a sigh of relief as we felt the cool air in our new, air conditioned room. Oh, how well we slept.

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