Saturday, May 07, 2005

Ocean Warfare

We left for snorkeling early on Tursday for the Kho Phi Phi trip. This is the island where the movie "The Beach" was filmed. The snorkeling was outstanding - as one would expect.

At one point we saw some dolphins playing very close to our boat. We were informed that this is a rarity however. Dolphins are hunted for food in these parts of the world and tend to stay away from people and boats.

All in all, despite the pricey cost of the Kho Phi Phi trip, it was definitely worth it.

On the boat ride back we requested to be dropped off in Aonang instead of Rai Lay beach. Since it was our last night in S. Thailand we wanted to spend a few hours walking around the markets and taking in all the commotion of Aonang.

As I have mentioned in previos posts, the island Rai Lay - where we were staying - is small with negligible hustle and bustle. The only way off the island is by long boat (obviously).

Aonang on the other hand is comparatively much larger with actual paved roads and cars and mopeds! Yippee.

The trouble with traveling to Aonang from Railay is that the boat ride fare varies depending on the time of day - much like the taxis in NYC, there is a surcharge for those traveling after dark. Further, if the water is choppy, there is an additional charge for the trip.

You can see where this is going.

While Z and I were in an internet cafe, loading pictures for your enjoyment, the sun set and by the time we emerged it was very dark and there were no long boats in sight due to the extremely provocative wind.


There were two Thai men standing in the area where we would normally negotiate a ride to Rai Lay however, so we sauntered in that direction.

After some back and forth they demanded an exorbitant amount to take us to Rai Lay during such poor conditions.

And then along came the inebriated French men trying to bully the Thai men into ferrying us for an unreasonably low price. Things were getting a bit heated and since the plan was for all of us to share the boat together, by default Z and I were dragged into Pepe's nonsense.

Then things got weird. Pepe and his buddy took off on a moped toward the piers where the longoats were being stored. They tell Z, a newcomer, Jack and I to wait on the beach and they will pick us up. Yeah, sure.

Now it is Z, Jack and I trying to re-negotiate a ride home and it is increasingly looking like we might be spending the night in Aonang (this is bad for us because we are leaving for Penang the next AM from Rai Lay - where all our stuff is, etc.).

Finally out of desparationthe three of us agree to pay 500 baht to get back (usualy it would cost only 80 baht per person). But 500 Baht = $10 so sometimes you just have to suck it up.

So, sketchy boat guy instructs us to take a tuk-tuk to the pier and he will meet us there and we will leave on his boat.

We get to the pier, which is full of empty boats, poorly lit and only the cicadas to keep us company. I was feeling relieved that Jack was a tall and strong looking type (not to say that Z is not burly himself. love you bunches big guy).

Then we see sketchy boat guy at the pier and he is now proffering some nonsense story about needing money up front to purchase oil for his boat. We of course explain that there will be no payment until we get to the island.

Suddenly we hear an engine start up and see and boat exiting the pier with a number of tourists. We shout down the boat and low and behold there is drunken Pepe with his buddy and some other backpackers.

We scramble down the rocky slope towards the water and leap into the moving boat in a less than elegant fashion.

Meanwhile,,, sketchy boatman is standing up at the top of the incline whith his hands on his hips frantically yellling "NO, NO, WAIT, STOP!!!!" He then switches to Thai and berates our new boat man with some very nasty language (according to one Thai speaking passenger on the boat).

Got to cut this one short. We just arrived in Penang a few hours ago and I am beat. Don't be continued.


Blogger ninar said...

yay! panang, i loved penang, definatly spend the dough, well we did, and it made all the difference--on a decent hotel room, because truly the budget rooms rooms are expensive and gross compared to thailand...

you have to go take a tour of that restored mansion, i can't remember the name of it but its also a hotel...amazing, eat on the street every night! find the jewish cemetery! people thinks its just gross, but i think its a really fascinating town. oh, the trip up the mountain there is nice in the heat of the day and really interesting and weird to see all the women in burkas vacationing.

write me, tell me your plan, malaysian food...oh god. i have dreams of roti it every which way! the outdoor tandooris can't be beat.

kisses, sounds amazing, i'm jealous of your every step and sketchy adventure.

7:38 AM  
Blogger Dan O'Hern said...

Erin what I appreciate is how every
centimeter of land is utilized.
How the landscape is terraced to
collect the rain water and prevent
erosion. Great pictures. I feel like I am there without the travel
costs and inconvienence. Love Uncle

1:28 PM  

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