Archive for August, 2012

        • One of the greatest parts about backpacking is when it’s over. Not the whole experience, but some of sum that makes up the whole. When we left Koh Samui we bought a joint ticket to Koh Phi Phi. That means we didn’t have to organize and try to find our own way to the different terminals. We just got on the bus to port, the boat to the mainland, the bus to the other port and then another boat to the next island. You pay a little bit extra for these tickets than you would just showing up at each place and buying the seperate tickets but we deemed it worth it.
          The guy I gave my money to handed me one slip of paper I couldn’t read and said “wait here, I go get other half ticket. You go on internet.” He jumped on his scooter and roared away, leaving me, seemingly in charge, of his empty internet cafe. A few people came by and asked me about this and that, as I was obviously the one in charge, so I helped them out where I could. He returned about 30 minutes later with the other half of my ticket and said he’ll pick us up at the top of the road at 8pm. I asked him why 8pm when the boat doesn’t leave until 9:30. “The boat is a long way away.” 
          We got our bags together and Kristi continued up the hill while I snuck off for quick pee. I got to the waiting spot to find her standing there, unknowingly, next to our porter. We couldn’t see a van or truck anywhere. I reckognized him because of his t-shirt. He grabbed our bags and set them on top of his scooter’s side car. Now this was a home made side car, fabricated from material I can only assume he found in the ditch, something I might trust to haul around hay or garden pots at home. Instead, we jumped in on top of our bags and set off down the pitch black hi way. You could feel it wanted to dump us off the back end as it laboured, with the weight of two grown men, one pregnant woman and their luggage, up the tiniest of hills. It wasn’t so bad.
          We got to the port and saw a sea of people standing around. Where are all these people going, we asked, his reply; “same same”. Of course. We look at this rickety old wooden boat that has a hand painted warning on it’s bearth “125 passengers only”. The boat looked as though it should transport 75 seated people, maximum. After all, this was the overnight ferry and everyone got a mattress and a pillow so they could sleep through the night. We looked at the sea of people and then again at our tickets. Okay, there are assigned seat numbers, we don’t need to worry about fighting over space. After the customary hour or so of waiting, we board the vessel. The floor is completely covered in sleeping mats, the isle is covered in sleeping mats and the walls have our “seat numbers” just above our plastic pillows. Crouching down, because there was only about four feet of standing room, we surveyed and found our spots. Near the back of the boat, far away from putrid smelling toilets that are standard on any mode of transport. We noticed that the engineers of this grand design must have made some sort of mathematic error when dividing up the space for their desired passenger load. About a third of the way through the stenciled numbers they must have realized they wouldn’t have enough room. They switched to hand painted numbers and our allocated 15 square feet, per person, dwindled to about 9 or 10.

          Note; I never finished this entry and to try to recreate the experience months later would be an injustice. Kristi wrote a post about the same experience here http://chad-kristi.blogspot.ca/2012/03/from-ko-tao-to-ko-phi-phi.html


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