Greetings my fellow Americans (and the internationals I’ve met along the way), this is my state of the vagabond address. I am writing to you from my porch in Koh Phi Phi, watching the sun set.
I will have to move indoors soon since swarms of mosquitoes will be out in force when that big glowing disk moves below the horizon. I have been in Thailand for close to 3 weeks now and I already feel as if I have some blog housekeeping to do. I want to catch you up on a few thoughts, pics, and goings-on that I have neglected in my previous postings.
First, my current location, Koh Phi Phi (pronounced pee pee), the small island off the coast of western Thailand, slightly south of the more renowned tourist destination of Phuket (pronounced foo-ket). Phi Phi’s local Thai population is 80% Muslim, but i don’t believe there are many actively practicing Muslims here due to the raging beach parties this island hosts on a nightly basis. There is one Mosque and a noticeable lack of the requirement for the removal of shoes. I have been here for 2 nights and am staying at the Tara Inn. The Tara inn is low budget at best (numerous cockroaches and geckos share my room with me), but the hillside view is amazing. My surroundings sort of remind me of a Brazilian favela.
Down below are the bustling sidewalks of Koh Phi Phi’s urbanized area. The area is an interconnected web of narrow stone walkways, as automobiles and scooters are not allowed on the island. The cobblestones are tightly lined with markets, bars, food stalls, dive shops, tour agencies, hostels and mostly shallow storefronts selling the same t-shirts and trinkets the tourists love to buy. Koh Phi Phi is definitely a young backpacker port of call, tons of twenty somethings are roaming the streets at all times and you can hardly notice an ounce of Thai culture left on the small island. While the westernization for the sake of tourism is depressing to me, i realize that it is vital to the Thais and many Malaysians that live here, since this area was ravaged by the big Tsunami in 2004. Many structures are still damaged and there are empty lots here and there where nothing has been rebuilt. Almost every store or restaurant I enter has pictures of the local owner picking through the post-flood rubble. To my knowledge this was one of the hardest areas hit by the carnage. On a positive note, this Island was the filming location for the Hollywood movie, “The Beach”, starring Leo Decaprio. The nearby beach of Koh Phi Phi Ley (Maya Bay namely) was the setting for Dicaprio’s hidden island paradise (and hippie commune) in the film. Keeping things positive, as I’ve been writing the sun has set and colored the bay a gorgeous purple.
As far as food goes, I am trying to keep my eating habits regular. Sometimes I eat twice a day, sometimes eight times a day. It is common for newcomers to SEA to lose 10 to 15 pounds at first but I think I have reminded stable since I eat more carbs here than I did back in the States, although all the scales I step on measure my weight in Kilograms or Stones, so its hard to know exactly. I try to eat local whenever I can and I find that breakfast is the hardest meal to eat local since Thais dont have many breakfast options other than the rice porridge, Jok, or fried rice with a fried egg on top. I have had just about every Thai dish that appears on a common menu. Lots curries, soups, rice, omlettes and the bounty of condiments. Here are a few more food pics I snapped along the way:
Just to clean house, here are a few pictures of some things I deemed noteworthy but not enough for a full blog post:
Ok! I feel much better after getting these words off my brain and pics off my hard drive, I hope you enjoyed them also. Barring any travel mishaps, my next post should be about my upcoming visit to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.