The Finale to an Eventful Week
Koh Phi Phi Travel Blog› entry 4 of 4 › view all entries
Our third day in Phuket was Thai New Years Day, and things were getting crazy. The water fights had escalated three-fold since the previous night. Hundreds of utes were driving down our street, each with 10-15 people in the back tray pouring water on anyone they could. The footpath was also lined with locals and tourists firing upon the traffic and other pedestrians ... and it wasn’t just water pistols and buckets. One kid I went past took delight in soaking me with a full power hose. To add to the madness, an awful cover band and DJ had set up right outside our hotel, and were pumping bad music into the air (and our hotel room).
It was hardly relaxing conditions, but strangely we did just that. Thai New Year ended up being the most chilled day of our trip. We drank cocktails by the hotel pool, I sat in a cafe and observed the madness on the streets for a couple of hours, I had an intense 1 hour Thai massage where the masseuse tried to turn me into a contortionist, and the rest of the guys even had an extended nap on the hotel sun-chairs. It’s a good thing we didn’t have a lot planned though, as I’d woke up feeling quite worse for wear. My tonsils had swollen overnight, and first thing in the morning I felt like I was choking on my own swollen uvula (the dangly thing at the back of your throat). The most likely explanation was that I’d been sprayed in the face one too many times by dirty water the previous night. Not that Phuket tap water is necessarily that bad, but you didn’t know where people were refuelling their water pistols from ... hell; even we refilled our own pistols from a few buckets with some pretty brown-looking liquid in.
That night we made our way to the local lady-boy cabaret show; “Simon Cabaret”. It was good fun, but once again I was slightly underwhelmed. It was disappointing that all the acts were miming (with maybe one or two exceptions), and some of the dancing (mostly from the back-up dancers) was painful to watch. Still, it was good fun – especially the Tina Turner impersonation, and perhaps most importantly, we all walked away saying “surely they weren’t all lady-boys?!” With some of the performers it was bleedingly obvious they weren’t born as women, others seemed fairly obvious in context but you probably wouldn’t suspect anything if you met them on the streets of Perth - but a couple were, well ... really hot. By the end of the show I was wondering what this meant about my sexuality, but some quick research uncovered that a handful of the performers were in fact born as females. It seems they’re kind of thrown in there as red herrings, and it certainly worked in our case. I’m pretty sure that the two I’d picked as definitely being wholly female were just that, but even so, it would have been almost impossible to pick all the red herrings with certainty.
On our last day we joined a speedboat tour around the Phi Phi Island area. It was another great experience, although the crowds and a fair bit of rubbish left lying on the beaches almost ruined my mood a couple of times (the spot where they filmed “The Beach” is beautiful in real life, but it doesn’t evoke the same feelings of serenity as in the movie when there’s 30 speedboats and 300 tourists partly blocking the view). There were plenty of interesting fish to see when we stopped for snorkelling; something I really enjoyed as I haven’t done much before, and there was one type of green striped fish that would swarm in front of you in schools so dense they’d be bumping into your hands and goggles. Our stop at Phi Phi Don Island had me thinking about how it would have been like to stand there when the tsunami hit a few years back, but luckily there was no repeat of the disaster during our visit.
And before we knew it, it was almost home time. A few of us headed back out to the bars one last time, but it wasn’t really worth it. I’d started to realise that a lot of the businesses in the Patong area were owned by Aussies and other foreigners, but I was hopeful that most of them had respect for the Thai people who worked for them. Unfortunately the Aussie bar owner we met on that last night was pretty much a racist, misogynist jerk ... it was a pity to put such a downer on the end of an awesome trip, but that’s how it goes.
The next morning we had to go straight to the airport, and it was clear we all tired and ready to go home. In fact I was looking forward to getting back as much as when I got back from Europe after 2 months, and I’d only been away one week! It was an action packed, and highly memorable trip, and I would still recommend Phuket as a holiday destination; but as I said before, the seedy side of the place started to get to me after a while ... and after all, there’s no place like home.