I’ve been to a lot of places. Everywhere I’ve been, no matter what, there’s always something beautiful that I end up loving about the place (even Phnom Penh). But I can tell you, I’ve never, ever seen anything like what I’m seeing today. I’ve reached my final destination before heading home, Koh Phi Phi (locals call it PeePee Island). Being a Minnesotan, and enduring our torturous winters, I can only describe this place as painfully beautiful. The bluest water I’ve ever seen. The sand is white, the sky is sunny, and there’s always a cool breeze blowing. What’s most breathtaking are the limestone cliffs that just seem to grow out of the middle of nothing in the water. They’re exquisite.
I caught the 8:30 a.m. ferry from Phuket Town to Phi Phi Island this morning. Once I got here, I went on an island tour to Phi Phi Lei, a smaller sister island, where the movie “The Beach” was filmed. Was very pretty. But tourists are sadly trashing it. Then went snorkeling for a good hour or so. I’ve been snorkeling tons of times, and it never gets old to me. Saw some new things, and played around quite a bit. I grabbed a quick lunch and headed to my hotel to check-in. Since it was just me for these last couple days, I decided to “splurge” on accommodations. After seeing what I got, I am SO HAPPY I did. My room is gorgeous. Incredibly comfortable bed, a fantastic bathroom, loads of room. The biggest perk…I have a “balcony” off my room that has steps that lead right into the pool. This really is a proper end to my vacation. After checking-in to my room, I laid by the pool and got some sun and read my book – I picked up the second book in the Stieg Larsson series in Chiang Mai. Like the first book, I can’t put this one down.
Met a couple Aussie guys while snorkeling, and we plan to meet up for dinner and beers later tonight. Should be fun. I plan to go get a quick massage before meeting up. Other than that, all I really have planned for the next couple days is more laying in the sun and reading during the day, and walking around Tonsai Village at night. I’ll probably sneak a couple massages and more shopping in while I’m here, too. (I mean, it’s almost criminal not to when it’s $7 for an hour.)
Oh…my last day in Chiang Mai. It was…interesting. But fun. Nate, Ansbury, and I walked around Chiang Mai and checked out some more wats. After a late lunch, it was time for Nate to go, so we said our good-byes, and Ansbury and I walked around for a while. We checked out one last wat, and then went to get a massage. At the women’s penitentary. It’s part of the inmate’s rehab program. Have to say, it’s the best massage I’ve had on this trip so far. She even cracked my neck, which after sleeping on some really uncomforable beds, felt SO good. Ansbury and I kept wondering what these unbelievably sweet women did to get into the clink. I guess it’s not for us to know.
After that, we headed to the Night Bazaar. There was a lot of stuff for sale there, but what was more interesting were the number of prostitutes, lady boys, and drag queens. After being here, you don’t really notice the lady boys as much. They’re generally accepted into the Thai culture, which is pretty great. And the drag queens are hilariously awesome. But the prostitutes…whoa. They’re everywhere, just sitting at the entrance of bars. What’s creepiest…it’s almost always a bunch of older, white men who are sitting with them. Actually, I’ve seen this dynamic a lot here. Oh well. As I say, stereotypes exist for a reason. I guess I would have just not preferred to seen validation to this stereotype.
So my trip is coming to an end. Feels like I’ve been gone a while, but I know I haven’t. I miss my dog. And my bed. While I’m not excited for the near 50 hours it’s going to take to get home, I’m really excited about my extended layover in Tokyo. I only have 15 hours, but I’m looking forward to seeing iconic Tokyo and trying out some noodles and sushi.
I’m sure you’ll hear from me in a day or so. Even though I’m totally caught up in heaven right now…