December 21, 2008

45 hour party people

I had an interesting two days, let me just start with that. I didn't really sleep much, but sleep is sometimes overrated. It all started at 6:30 am as a normal day of diving. We headed out on the boat for a three hour journey to dive the sites around Ko Phi Phi. This is always a fun day for me, since I can pass the time by lounging on the deck and getting some sun, while air guitaring to Led Zeppelin on my ipod. It also helps that the dive sites around Phi Phi are spectacular.

I spent the day assisting on dives, guiding Andreas and Nicole from Sweden, and Gabriella from Switzerland. We had such a fun group, and that makes all the difference. Nicole works in fashion, Andreas in film, and Gabriella at a micro brewery...hell yeah. By chance they had arranged to get dropped off in Ko Phi Phi at the end of the day, and I jumped at the opportunity to spend another night on that crazy island. I was talking up the place all day, where to stay and eat, and I guess I just got excited to the point where I had to join them.

The next eighteen hours were as if I had never left Phi Phi. We stayed at Golden Hill Bungalows near the dam. It's quiet, but close enough to walk everywhere. We had dinner at Papaya´s restaurant, who serve up the best Massamun curry. Then we took a seat on the corner bar stall outside the 7 Eleven (yes, they have 7 Elevens in Thailand) and proceeded to drink buckets of Sang Som Thai Rum. The rest of the night is blurry, but I do kind of remember dancing a whole lot at Tiger bar, and then seeing a Thai rock 'n' roll cover band. I think Andreas and Nicole took a video of me air guitaring to some classic punk rock song. Aside from being a classic Phi Phi evening, it was made surreal by random Swedish travelers who would stop Andreas to take a picture or shake his hand. I thought it was a joke at first, but when I could see him getting kind of annoyed, I stopped laughing at the situation. The guy was on vacation and I'm sure he wanted a break, although he chose the wrong country to get away from Swedish fans. I think every tourist in southern Thailand this time of the year is from Sweden.

The next day we woke up and spent the afternoon on the tiny and very quiet Viking beach, a little slice of heaven. If you are coming to Phi Phi and want to get away from the crowds, you have to stay at the Viking resort. In addition to getting one of the nicest beaches on the island, you can also rent one of their massive 9 room jungle houses for only about $300 a night. A steal if you're a group of people.

Unfortunately I had to be back at work later that day, and I had only one pair of clothes (surf shorts and a tee) since I didn't plan on staying the night, so I boarded a ferry back to Railay for my evening shift in the dive shop.

As soon as I got back, I heard that the famous Thai reggae band Job 2 Do were going to play one of their infamous shows on Railay East. Job 2 Do is very well known in Thailand, and abroad, thanks to all the backpackers who have shared their music with friends. I heard that this is the only band in Thailand where you can't buy a bootleg copy of their music. That's support if I've ever heard it, considering you can buy every bootleg DVD and CD under the sun in Thailand.

After a four hour shift at the shop, all smelly and tired, I downed some coffee and headed out to Stone Bar to see Job 2 Do play some great reggae under the moon, at the base of some beautiful cliffs. It seems like everyone in Railay, Tonsai, and Ao Nang for that matter, were in attendance. It was a memorable show that finished about 2:30 am.

If that wasn't enough, we still had to take our longtail boat with the day's dive gear, and unload it in another town where we keep all our equipment. I got home at 3:30 am and collapsed, only to wake up three hours later for work the next morning. It was worth it, even if I only got about five hours of sleep in two days.

As of today, I have officially finished my divemaster training, and I am a certified divemaster. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with this, but I am definitely a much better diver, even if I don't pursue a career in scuba diving. Plus, spending six weeks living on a beautiful beach in southern Thailand and diving everyday, now that's what I call living life.

Happy Hanukkah and merry Christmas to all. I lit the Hanukkah candles tonight, and will probably spend Christmas with my new friends here. I have the Stone family to thank for introducing me to the marvel of Christmas stockings. If I don't own any socks, can I use my red flip flops? I wonder how many packets of M&M peanuts I can wedge around the strap? Plus, if I give gifts to myself, does that really count?

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