This Side of Paradise

Oh, Phuket, how beautiful is thee! Our time on this beloved piece of paradise involved a lot of beach lounging, a little bad dancing, cheap beer drinking, incredible cave canoeing, questionable motorcycling and all sorts of general merriment.

My favorite part of our stay was the James Bond Island tour where we spent the day exploring the smaller islands in Phang Nga Bay. Although there are 42 islands to choose from in the area, we thankfully stuck to just five. We started the day canoeing through dark caves that led us to beautiful greenery under an open sky on the other side. It was like discovering a tucked away personal paradise, only shared with like 40 other canoes…so not really. Fortunately, the amazing beauty all around you is far more distracting than the hoards of other to tourists. Also, the Thai drivers (or Thai rowers? Canoe capitans?) were super friendly and offered to take many pictures for us, whether we wanted them or not. They even congratulated Liz and I on our honeymoon? I’d say we were celebrating more of a best friend anniversary, but sure, lesbian honeymoon for two straight people works too.

A photo from our honeymoon aboard the THAItanic (pun courtesy of Liz)
Canoes and courtesy pictures

Eventually we made our way to the tour’s namesake, James Bond Island, so named because Die Another Day was filmed here. If I were to describe it in a word I would choose “busy” with no hesitation. There. Are. So. Many. People. This tiny island is jam packed with tourists and it’s a bit overwhelming, but I guess we’re apart of that crowd too so we can’t really complain. It’s a popular place for good reason though and the view was for sure worth having to part the sea of selfie-stick wielding Asians who sported fun hats to boot.

James Bond Island

On our way back we anchored the boat and were able to escape the heat with a much-needed dip in the water. We were encouraged to jump off the top of the boat, which was admittedly terrifying at first since it was a 100-foot drop into the great abyss of water (minus 80 feet or something…), but then you get used to it and it’s actually less scary and more fun. Overall, a solid day!

Later that night Liz and I went out with some people we met on the tour and proceeded to take on Patong Street where all the bad dancing and beer drinking I mentioned earlier comes into play. I also experienced my first Ping Pong show, which is not to be confused with the innocent activity. Oh no, it is worse. Far, far worse. I knew what is was going into it and had been thoroughly warned, but it seemed too unbelievable and I felt it was something I had to see before leaving Phuket. The best way I can describe it is as a strip club with bad carnival tricks that make you squirm and want to puke. To see a woman push fish out of her nether regions was… uhm, interesting. And then she pushed out an egg (which was cracked after she laid it and fed to an audience member… *shudders in disgust*), and then three feet of needles attached to a string was pulled out. At one point she had me catch bananas in a bucket that she flung across the stage straight out of the baby-maker while upside down. It was awkward. I’m not going to lie, I was both intrigued and terrified by the idea of the eventual hamster act, but in hindsight I’m happy I didn’t witness it. I think the banana act was enough to see for a lifetime.

The next day we had the mandatory misadventure, because what trip is complete without one, am I right? On our way to the massive Buddha statue overlooking Phuket we channeled our inner Robert Frost and took the road less traveled. Or the road only a skilled local could manoeuvre on a good day… Apparently Google Maps thought we were pro-motorbike drivers and led us a little astray, as in, instead of taking us down the main paved route we ended up down the 4-wheeler ATV dirt road where we got caught in an elephant traffic jam. Just your average day in Thailand.

Finally made it!

Between our 4-wheeling adventure sans a 4-wheeler and strange (borderline pornographic) Ping Pong shows we relaxed on the beaches and soaked up the sunshine with fresh-squeezed fruit shakes in one hand and a book in the other.

I’ll put sand castle building on my resume

Sadly, Liz and I have since parted ways and she is back in Seattle celebrating America’s grand day of independence while I cuddle a sea of cats and dogs at a rescue shelter in Chiang Mai. I’m hoping to have some downtime between dog baths and kitten petting to catch up on documenting my travels, seeing as I’ve been doing terribly at it. I’m also going a little out of order here as I still have yet to write about the incredible Angkor Wat, hiking in West Java and surviving the bustling streets of Bangkok. In my defense, I’m working with a real annoying cell phone that still has Swype texting which was definitely last used sometime in the 1850s, instead of my keyboard and iPad, whose disappearance is worth a post in itself.
Anyways, I currently have an upset siamese cat giving me some massive side-eye since my precious hands are on a cell phone instead of being used to pet her, which is totally understandable since human hands were obviously made for cat massages and how dare I think otherwise.

So I will leave you all with an accurate depiction of my living for the next three weeks:

Surrounded by puppies- dreams do come true!
This represents about 1/20 of the cats here…
Taking this newly-adopted cutie pie to his forever home!
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Sloth enthusiast, Nutella extremist, and all around sassy human with a deep love for hoppy beer and discovering the world's many gems. Currently gallivanting the globe while drinking more coffee than necessary.

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