I am in a desperate need of a holiday fix!!! Since my last holiday was my honeymoon, now more than 6 months ago, I cannot help thinking about sun, sea and pina coladas!!
Speaking of our honeymoon, well, during our honeymoon, we wanted to visit as many beaches as possible and as part of our itinerary, painstakingly planned months before, we planned a romantic day trip to the Phi Phi islands. We scrutinized the weather forecast for the entire week when we were residing near Kata Beach and went for Fri 25th Nov 2011. We went for a Super-deluxe Plus speedboat trip (paid our monies before the trip of course)!! So the day arrived and I was up at 6 am, prancing around and deciding what bathing suit to wear & what to pack and read all the internet reviews about the places we were to see, I was so excited I just couldn`t wait! At 8.30am sharp, the tour people picked us up in van (which I noticed was quite packed) and off we went to the harbour. On getting there it was obvious that there were different tours going on at the same time, so we found our guide for the day and we were asked to go off and change into our bathing suits. Oops! I thought, that`s strange..why should we change now before leaving? However, I did as instructed and for those who have seen or been in a Thai public bathroom, I`m sure you can visualize that it would take a queue of 20 women quite a while to disrobe without landing in some suspicious-looking matter…but anyway I managed and joined hubby and the rest of our tour comrades. The little Thai guide called Jane told us that the wind was 60km/hr and she needed us to sign a paper to say that we were happy. I looked at the sea…it seemed OK, just a bit choppy, so I thought nothing of it. We boarded the speedboat…now you recall I said a Super-Deluxe Plus trip? Well, we were 19 people in all, wedged together in a speedboat, which did show evident signs of overuse and was not in my opinion anything like a super deluxe class! If I was secretly hoping for champagne and caviar…there was no sight of even a fridge, only a lonely battered picnic-cooler!
Then the engines roared to life and off we went…my gosh!!! The speedboat headed straight into giant walls of sea and the ride was a continual sequence of horrendous bumps. Some ladies actually turned grass-green and people who were sitting in the front sought refuge at the back until the crew told us all to make sure there aren`t too many people on one side, otherwise we could capsize! Gosh!! I was really livid but also incredibly scared that if the captain took a wrong turn we would be lost at sea and probably never to be found and we were in the hands of the captain who could only communicate through the guide.
The adrenaline was shooting out of my veins and I felt like I had taken 12 cups of coffee in one go.I held onto my seat, as if my life depended on it (probably it actually did!) and my hubby`s hand (who kept to asking me whether I was OK). Anyway, after an hour of agonizing bumps, and sea-spray spatters, and observing the ashen faces around me, we made it to the first island which was Coral Island where for 45 minutes we were released from the speedboat and we tried to enjoy a quick swim and a stroll around the beach- however we were warned that the tide was coming up real fast and we had to keep to the time, which of course no one thought of doing otherwise. We then headed off to Maya beach and also Monkey beach (where we were not allowed to berth due to the ferocious biting monkeys (they seemed innocuous to me!) but before that we passed by James Bond island.
Maya beach (where The Beach was filmed)which was so congested with tourists that it was impossible to place a towel on the beach and just relax unless you wanted someone`s foot to be thrown in your face. Also, the clouds gradually started acquiring a greyish hue and a few drops of rain fell too. So we were called back to our speedboat and off we sped (by now poor Jane had emptied her first aid box as everyone wanted travel sickness tablets). I do not normally get sea-sick but due to this unique occasion, I decided to be wary and took a couple just to be sure! So off we sped again, now to a little island, owned by the tour company for lunch.
Unfortunately, the lunch was fish-based so poor hubby (who doesn`t like fish) could only take rice! Also the food was not very appetizing (or maybe we had all lost the will to survive really!). Then another diabolic queue for the bathroom!! So when my turn came I noticed that there was a draught, so I looked up and guess what? There was no ceiling and the rain suddenly started falling heavily, in huge drops! I joined hubby and the rest of the tour comrades, all shivering and wet and sprinted across the coral-spiked sand back onto the boat. We were taken briefly to another island and asked for our feedback about the trip- I couldn`t stop writing and after a few minutes, Jane came back to me with a pained expression saying, ‘Oh I am sorry that you didn`t enjoy yourself…are you sick?’. I was bewildered really! Apparently none of the other tour comrades had given a bad review except me!! I couldn`t believe this and was totally disappointed at the lack of support!
Soon after the embarrassing confrontation, we were taken back to a different harbour (as it was too dangerous to go to the first one from which we had originally departed) which took another hour and during this last trip, the sky was a menacing leaden-grey, the rain continued to fall incessantly (so we had to place our beach towels over us to shield us). The waves heaved and tumbled and the thunder rumbled all the way back to a harbour, where after alighting onto the jetty, we were picked up in a van with a cracked windscreen and taken back to our hotel!!