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When you travel you invariably have a list of places you want to go and this is certainly something I had on my mind when we went to South East Asia back in November 2013 (Was it really that long ago??). Before we left I had a few MUST SEEs on the list and for the most part I was able to see them; places like the Grand Palace in Bangkok, Angkor Wat, Phnom Penh, the Giant Buddha in Bangkok but the one place on my list that I absolutely had to see was Koh Phi Phi. I had heard such great things and despite the fact that it was known for being very touristy everyone said it was worth seeing.
Being such a planner I made sure that we were in Phuket for my birthday and that during our time there we would get to Koh Phi Phi. We spent a wonderful three days in the south of Phuket, in Rawaii, and it was everything I wanted an island in Thailand to be. We woke up early, thanks in large part to jet lag, swam in the sea, ate lunch at one of the shacks overlooking the ocean, went for afternoons swims and drank way too much singha. It was glorious. And then it was time to move on, time to head to the ultimate reason we were on the island, to see Koh Phi Phi.
Of course right before we decided to move on we headed to Coral Island, just off the coast of Rawaii. We hired a longtail boat and spent the day swimming in idyllic waters. All was great until those idyllic waters began to recede with the tide and suddenly we were not swimming alone. We were actually swimming right above a shit ton of sea urchins. After I urged our friend Christopher to head into the water with me for one last swim he unfortunately encountered a family of sea urchins and thus ended up with about FORTY little spines in his foot. A local woman was able to use limes, vinegar and water to try and remove the spines from his foot but she was only able to get about 30% of them.
After that lovely experience we took the longtail back to Rawaii, hobbled across the receded tides and were finally able to grab a taxi to Patong. We arrived in Patong at our hostel and I was ready to just relax after a long day and get ready for trekking it to Koh Phi Phi.
The next morning dawned too bright and entirely too early (thanks to the beers and karoke the night before) and we started to figure out what to do. I had read that you could take a taxi from Patong to Phuket Town and then catch a ferry. Here was our first mistake….. Why didn’t we just stay in Phuket Town? Honestly I don’t know…. I somehow confused something while planning and thought it would be easier from Patong or perhaps thought that Patong would be a better town to stay in (in hindsight we should have just stayed in Rawaii) but either way I messed up somehow. Between staying in the wrong town, the sea urchins, the unhelpful hostel staff who told us that absolutely no one would take us to Phuket Town and that there would be no ferries left, to me believing them, Koh Phi Phi didn’t happen. We even looked at re-booking our Bangkok flights to make it work but it didn’t make sense.
The best I could do was come to terms with the fact that I was not going to be able to see something I had dreamed of since hearing about it. And well it took me awhile to come to terms with this. I almost let this ruin our time in Bangkok. When traveling things do not always go right. Sometimes you do plan things wrong and they don’t work out but you cannot dwell on it. I unfortunately made this mistake and dwelled a little too long (especially for Alex, who really wanted to experience Bangkok, and I was a bit of a downer there). You can’t let plans that fall through ruin a trip for you. Instead of moping around the hostel for the rest of the day I should have been out exploring more. I didn’t necessarily love Patong but we could have rented mopeds and explored the island, we could have rented a boat and spent the day on the water, we could have even gone back to Rawaii. Instead I moped and complained about how much I hated Patong, not my proudest moment. In the end, with traveling and in life, everything is about what you make of it. We could have changed our situation and done something amazing (even with hobbling Christopher, who was much more of a trooper about his foot then I was about Koh Phi Phi) but instead I bitched and complained and drank vodka smoothies…..
And Christopher, thank you for putting up with all of this (and me laughing uncontrollably while you were getting spines scrubbed out of your foot, what are best friends for after all?) and dealing with moping me while you had poison in your foot. You’re the best buddy!
P.S. Thanks Alex for putting up with me too!