Happily marooned

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Flag of China  , Macau,
Tuesday, December 14, 2010

So I never made it to Ko Lanta from Phi Phi for my reservation for 12th. Maybe part of me didn't want to go anyway, just a little longer. This is my fifteenth day in the resort on Phi Phi and believe me when I say I am not counting. There is no real concept of weekends or days here because this is not the local culture. Saturday is probably the quietest day of the week

I went rock climbing as my first activity here; the weather has been too poor for diving as ideally you want three days of clear weather for calm water and good visibility. Time is something I have a lot of, no rush. Rock climbing was really enjoyable. It was organised through a girl I meet who knows an English girl called Judie who runs a climbing shop. Due to the poor weather it has been quiet for her business so it was just the two of us which is perfect for my first time as she gave me all her attention. So we went to a limestone carst rock at the far end of the island and she took me through the ropes and explained what is what and to look out for the monkeys as they come and look for food off the climbers. Sure enough after ten minutes several monkeys came but this time they were just sniffing around for a path to go and not for food. After my dog experience in Krabi I was feeling  brave anyway so it didn't feel threatening. The climbing itself is pretty tough work as you need to plan your route maybe two steps ahead and think of the position of your feet in particular as this is where you spring from. So the idea is to push of your toes, reach your planned hand grips in the rock and then rest and repeat etc.. The whole process is an act of faith because if you slip the first time you know you will fall back and then the safety rope kicks in - hopefully. I felt very safe though as I understand how the ropes work and know the process is very safe so it was really nice to just let go when you could not make the next step and just rest on the rock for a few minutes and look at the view which is amazing. I did five climbs with each taking around thirty minutes and I completed four of them, with twenty five meters being my highest climb; not bad for a first timer I thought! Judie seemed impressed and it felt very rewarding and is something I will do again. I also did some boarding, which is where you simply stand on a surf board with a paddle and gently move along, which was fun and also free of charge

From conversations the people who stay here seem to extend their stays by several days as they like the place so much. Barbara from Austria only planned two days but stayed for seven, Mikael from India was the same. It is a nice pace that people have here. Some days I can just walk around and say hello to people on the way or stop and talk to someone for a while. I exercise once a day around five pm as well and maybe go for a swim in the sea as the sun goes down. The water is tepid like bathwater and a beautiful turquoise colour. Other days we drink and play games in the  bar area until the small hours, other days we watch a fire show in town and go out to some bars. Whatever you want to do if you find kindred spirits you can share time with people. The more senior staff here have also been very helpful and acted as friends towards me; having locals help you like this is a huge plus as it makes life so easy; they basically give me Carte Blanche and I return the kindness to them in some other way, usually with the next round! Coming from a culture in London where so much of life is a means to an end and experiencing some kind of unconditional friendship is a great thing and part of the reason I came traveling was to reconnect with people in this way. Last night the locals were playing Thai songs and we had someone on guitar, violin, maracas, some obscure instrument called a juice harp, bongos and me on the tambourine. We drunk the bar dry with the owner's son and then I went looking for the key to another bar with a guy here at two in the morning. Because it has been raining during the day this is prime time for snakes so you have to be aware and the journey was a bit hairy through the jungle. After knocking on several doors we found the key and returned ninety minutes later to continue and I went to bed as the rooster started crowing. I won't tell you what I think of the rooster

Yesterday there was a bizarre incident late at night. We were drinking and talking at the bar area near the beach at around two in the morning when all of a sudden a guy appeared from nowhere with just swimming trunks and he was walking and breathing heavily with crazy eyes, like a zombie. I thought maybe he had been attacked or was on drugs. He walked straight past our area and up some steep steps, all the while breathing very deeply and slowly and with an angry slightly crazy look on his face. So I thought I had to help him and went after him and tried to get him to stop so we could help him. But he was having none of it and he just kept walking further away and into the jungle. I was worried he might just turn round and belt me as he was a big guy and I was also worried about the snakes as we were walking through an area with a lot of timber. Either way I managed to stop him and calm him down and after twenty minutes brought him back to the restaurant area and we lay him down on a flat surface and put a towel on him. I did some research on my laptop and he had all the symptoms of shock. He was in a really bad way and scared, he passed me several notes on paper saying things like 'have I been brainwashed?', 'scared of Islam' and 'am I going to die?'. I think he was being a bit of a big girl's blouse about it to be honest as he also asked me 'will anyone in Australia know this happened?', so he hadn't lost his pride at least! Anyway we walked him back to his resort through the rocky outcrops and along the beach and returned to our resort and I slumped into bed at six in the morning. I wish I could say I felt good about helping this guy but I was just pssed off he stopped me getting a good sleep to be honest with you.

As you can imagine it is difficult to leave when you are here, there is a conflict between pushing on and seeing new things and just staying and enjoying what you have. As I said earlier I was meant to leave three days ago but I woke up late and it was raining heavily for several hours and my boat was due at 3pm. The boat men were not running on the seas so I just postponed my trip to Ko Lanta (20 miles away) for two days - any excuse. I ended up booking another five days so I will just skip Ko Lanta and maybe head north instead. I was invited back for New Year by the people here which is great as this was the one time I wanted to definitely be around people. I was invited to stay in a bungalow with one of the staff but decided just to book my room and pay for it instead as people can be a bit flaky and I didn't want to take the risk of something going wrong

Oh yes and I also lost my camera, so no photos until I hit land :)

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Aston McNeilly on

Dom, Sawadi Kraap....sounds like you're still having a great time, long may it continue!! I guess all these ups and downs are all part of the rich tapestry! So great that you have time on your side and can adjust your schedule on a whim!

Just as an aside, this new entry didn't appear as it usually does in my inbox, so not sure if it's an error at my end or whether maybe at yours there's something to tick next time....OK, so maybe my life in England is boring enough that I have to live vicariously through you! That said, it sounds like you're having a great time, so if I'm destined to watch and enjoy someone else's adventure from the outside, I'm really glad that it's yours!!

Snow here in the UK!!! Might be an idea to resend the last entry with the magic box ticked so that all the guys get a copy! Take care buddy, stay away from those snakes!! Keep up the updates bro!

Aston McNeilly on

P.S......looking forward to the photos mate! (you in the bar....you near the bar...you rounding the corner as the bar opens)!

Fraser on

Excellent blogging skills! Can't believe you're giving first aid via the medium of the internet!! Are you insured Dr Harrison? Stay safe and have a great Xmas!

M&D on

Another great blog (but beware large mad men with wild eyes plus snakes.....). I think the instrument's called a Jew's Harp, by the way (seriously). Wish we were on Phi Phi too. Weather up here in Durham not as bad as elsewhere - no snow whereas whole of rest of country seems swathed in it. And now Christmas to prepare for - think I'll have to think it out again, as Fagin would say. Lots of love Thai boy. .

M&D on

Very Happy New Year, wherever you are now, Dom, and lots of lovexxxx

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