Monday, October 8, 2007

Phi Phi Island trip in Phuket.

I'm sending out a silent scream of frustration. I thought that digital cameras and computers were supposed to make life easier???????!!!!!!
I've been wrestling with my whizz-bang new camera ever since I got home from work. I think that I must have a faulty usb cable, because the computer doesn't want to acknowledge the camera despite my best efforts to introduce them. In desperation, I even contemplated putting a touch of lippy and some perfume on it to make it more attractive, but sanity prevailed. (But only just...)

Fortunately, the old camera has some shots of Phi Phi Island, so I'll talk about that, and hope that tomorrow I can get elephant shots up.

Phuket was fantastic. We had such a great time. We did a lot of shopping at the market in Patong, we rode on elephants, we snorkeled, went to Phantasea (if that's how it's spelled), and the rest of the time we watched dvds, lounged by the pool and just hung out together. The kids spent a lot of time together at the pools while I read or had nanna naps, and we all just relaxed and enjoyed ourselves.

We caught up with my friend from work, who happened to be there at the same time with her family. They have girls the same age as my oldest two, and they've known each other since they started secondary school together. We went shopping for a few hours at Patong, and it was hilarious. My kids couldn't believe how the girls kept disappearing into every shoe and handbag stall we came across. Connor (11) said, "Mum, when we're men and go shopping with women, will we have to camp out in front of every shop they go into?"

Of course, every electronic game and dvd stall we passed, my lot would dive in. The girls found that a little hard to fathom. We also spent Wednesday night together at Phantasea, which is like a big theme park full of garish sea creatures, elephants, tigers and people dressed in all sorts of costumes.

It was really nice having some familiar faces over there. We only saw each other a couple of times, but it was fun. The kids all liked having someone else to talk to, and so did we. Thanks to them, I learned to ask for a watch 'from the back', so I've bought a good quality 'Rolex' that should last me years, not just a few months like the ones I bought in Bali.

Phi Phi island was a good day. The night before I woke up at 4.30 and the rain was teeming down.... I had visions of children vomiting over the sides of boats dancing in my head. Then I thought, "Oh well, you can't control the weather", rolled over and went back to sleep. (Easy to do in my humungous KING SIZED bed. If I was there with a significant other I reckon we'd spend half the night just trying to find each other.) Thankfully when we woke up the rain had stopped, and although the sea was rough we all kept our cool. And our breakfasts.
The boat ride was long.... about two hours or so till we got there. It was boring in parts, but when we got to the islands it was spectacular. I've finally seen islands that rise vertically out of the sea, just like in the movies! Jack said to me, "I can't believe how many trees are on them", and he was right. Vegetation was clinging to the most impossible looking spots. I guess life finds a way....
I was taking photos like a maniac. The scenes were so different from flat Australia. The shapes of the hills against the sky were angular and geometric. It's amazing to think that they happened naturally. Surely they're the product of some long-haired graphic designer in a Hollywood studio. Something so aesthetically beautiful must've been designed.... (Oh how I wish I could put in a shot of this from my new camera. I have about 50 to choose from. Maybe that squirt of perfume wasn't such a bad idea.... )

The water was a bit rough, so instead of going to a bay for photos we went straight for the snorkling. When we were pulling into the place, the guide pointed to a bay behind us where the most picturesque resort you've ever seen was nestled, and said, "This is Andaman resort, where the tsunami hit." I was gobsmacked. The sun was shining, everything was green, blue and sparkling, the buildings were placed on the beach with precision and beauty.... it was incredible (and I mean that in the sense that it was hard to comprehend) that death and devastation could come out from nowhere and hit a place such as this. For an instant, I put myself in their places. Here on a holiday, blissfully unaware of our fate...we've all seen the footage. The kids hadn't picked up what the tour guide said. When I told them, their reaction was the same as mine... eyes widened in shock, then the long look back as the resort disappeared behind us.

The kids took to the snorkeling straight away. I guess it must be like riding a bike- they learned in Bali over a few torturous minutes till they stopped drowning, and they haven't forgotten how. We had an hour before we had to leave for lunch, and I kid you not... it felt like it was just 20 minutes. There were so many fish, and they swam all around us. The ones that had bright yellow stripes were the bravest. The swam just out of reach, and a couple of times they even gave me a nibble. (Didn't hurt, but gave me a hell of a fright.. I heard a yeow! come out of the end of my snorkle tube.)
The coral itself was brown and cream and basically not all that interesting looking, but the fish were the most glorious colours. Yellows, blues, reds, and even some florescent ones in shades of peach and blue. I loved seeing those cool looking square fish with the stripes and the long snout. We could've drifted for hours, just gazing at them. I love dipping my head beneath the water and seeing all of the activity and life beneath the surface, and then lifting my head and looking at the tumbling blank waves. The waves give you no idea of what's going on just a few scant inches down. That was fun, but all too soon when I lifted my head everyone but myself and two others were swimming back to the boat. Bugger. I swam back, head down, looking in seventy different directions at once to try and prolong it as much as I could. But soon we were off to lunch.

We went to the other end of Phi Phi island for a buffet lunch, and then we had an hour or so on the beach. I wandered around with my old camera taking shots of the gardens and beach, (and these are some of the shots. The battery died on my new one), while the boys just played on the beach. It was nice.

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