Same same, but different

By | May 15, 2010

Well, I haven’t posted a blog in a while mainly because nothing has changed. As the street vendors (hawkers) say… same same, but different.

The story left off in Railay beach, I can’t say enough about the place. If you’re in the Krabi area of Thailand at all, this is a must! It’s only accessible by boat, which costs about $5 per person to get there which is a small price to pay for the little chunk of gold you will find at the end of this rainbow.

We left Railay and headed to Phi Phi (pee pee) Island. From the quiet, zen-like atmosphere of the secluded beach, right back into tourist chaos. ‘taxi boat, Thai message, tshirt for you sir?’. Rather annoying after spending 3 calming days sprawled on the beach and floating in the 25+ degree salt water of the Indian Ocean (you actually do float, with little to no effort, and 25 is on the low end of the scale).

That being said, it’s another tropical paradise. It’s got shopping areas, beach front BBQs, fire jumping, and discos. A good place to go and party, if that’s what you’re into.

Since a few of the guys we had trekked in Nepal with were going to be on Phi Phi at the same time as us, we decided to coodinate our hotels and meet up. Scott, Tim, and Ken (aka Trailmix) were scuba diving the day we showed up but joined us in the early afternoon by the poolside of the Banyan Hotel. That night we all ventured to the North side of the island for a bite to eat, and to check out the nightlife.

After dinner, we headed down the beach to watch some fire games. Juggling, stick spinning, tightrope… Any event you can do on a beach at night they were doing, with fire! They even had a limbo bar set ablaze with a lineup of people to risk their eyebrows and lashes, all in hope of receiving a free ‘vodka bucket’ (silly tourists). The local, who I would have to believe is the reigning champion, was able to limbo down to about 2feet with his Afro hair-do freely flowing and light a cigarette while passing under the bar. A rather impressive feat considering there is no hospital on the island, and I’m sure their firstaid equipment is a little sub-par.

When the limbo was over, they lit a 6foot ring of fire for anyone and everyone to jump through. I must say, the highlight of the night was jumping through a ring of fire with a group of firefighters (Scott, Tim, and Ken are all active members of the BFD). Somewhat ironic, but good to know I was in good company if something were to happen.

The following day my father and I headed out on another snorkling tour, this time on a power boat, and we visited some cool spots. Monkey beach, where there was 2 families of primates playing on the shore as our entertainment. We also went to Maya Bay, where they filmed ‘The Beach’. All in all, a good way to spend the day.

From Phi Phi we caught a ferry to Phuket where we jumped into a minivan and headed for Patong Beach. The hustle was all around us now. Suits, messages, tuk tuk (golfcart style taxi), copy watch, tshirt… You can’t walk 20feet down any street without being offered something. Eventually you get to a point where you ignore everyone. I’m pretty good at that already, so it wasn’t a far stretch.

We spent some time on the beach, relaxed a little in our AC’d hotel room, and went out for dinner… As I said before, same same but different.

The vacation was soon over and although it is sad, it was about time. The humidity is starting to get to me. Step outside the AC’d room, and your entire body starts to sweat. By this time tomorrow I’ll be back in Canada, and it’s going to feel better then ever!

There are so many things I miss, I don’t even know where to start. My girlfriend, my friends, lacrosse, relaxing at home to some pvr’d shows, hockey games on tv, cool evenings, North American food, real cheese, real milk, mountains (ones I have no intension of climbing), fresh air. I’ve never been away from the home for this long in my life. It may sound silly, but I’m probably going to kiss at ground when I get back to good old sunny New Westminster.

For those of you who have never travelled to a 3rd world country, you don’t know what you’ve got. The usual saying is ‘you don’t know what you’re missing’, but it’s not actually that good over here. What it will reinforce is how much we take for granted back home. The freedom, the choices, the toys, the expendable cash, the whatever whenever we please. Everything is a luxury, and I mean everything. This trip has enriched my life with more then travels and culture, it has given me a wealth my vocabulary can not describe. I am rich. Maybe not in the financial or material sense of the word, but until you’ve been where I’ve been and seen what I’ve seen you won’t understand how truly rich I, and every other Canadian, really is.