Sorry for these brief updates but the cost of internet here is ridiculous. I’m pretty much disappointed with the cost of everything here compared to the north, but trying to stop comparing. Oddly, accommodations are the one thing that we still have managed to find quite cheaply. We’re back to the “rustic” bungalows in the jungle, with geckos paying nightly visits and who knows what else ( I don’t want to know)…I’ve not yet become accustomed to cold-water-only showers, and don’t think I ever will. Hoping to find some accos with hot water for cheap on the next island. Ko Phi Phi: All of the beach bars here put on nightly theme parties, drink specials (that last only 10 minutes, so you end up running frantically from one bar to the next trying to get the drink special before it ends), and fire shows. The last night there had a bunch of us dancing in the sand at one of the many popular establishments. I looked up at one point and was instantly mesmerized by a billion stars in the sky. I couldn’t help but draw a life comparison (come on, you knew that was coming, didn’t you…)…. I realized that I had been so busy watching the fire shows and all that was going on on the ground, that I didn’t notice nature’s own light show that had been there all along…quiet and unassuming and clear and perfect and just waiting to be appreciated. How often we distract ourselves with the “lights” of everyday life – material posessions, unhealthy relationships, chasing the dollar, etc – that we forget that the truest happiness lies within each of us, just waiting for us to take notice of its beauty and simple perfection and constancy. So. We kicked around on Phi Phi for a few days, soaking up the hippie / diving community vibe and listening to the odd story about the tsunami from the locals. It’s amazing how it’s both so fresh and yet put behind them at the same time. They speak of it with a calm profoundness; ultimately as though they are at peace with what happened to their island, their lives and their families. Construction is still in full force and the island is booming. Prices are high and the crowds are thick, but they’re very cool crowds, for the most part. we had a great day of snorkelling around 6 different beaches on a hired boat. We hoped to swim with some sharks at Shark Point but sadly nobody was out to play that day. The monkeys on Monkey Beach were, though! Check out the photos. We also discovered a new addiction on Ko Phi Phi: at the intersection of two dusty little streets is a man with a wok, making coconut donuts. 10 baht for two. I think we ate somewhere in the neighbourhood of 362 in the space of 3 days on the island. I miss them so much already. All in all a gorgeous island, but quite SCUBA-focused. We left for Railay on Saturday afternoon, thinking it would be quieter and less expensive than Phi Phi. Quieter, yes. Less expensive..not a chance. Railay is a study in contrasts. It’s poised to be Thailand’s new sweetheart, and as such, construction and growth are rampant. You can literally feel the locals trying to grasp on to what Railay clearly once was…a very laid back, hippie-ish, Bob-Marley-loving, rock-climbing-addicted little village on a stunning island – even though it’s being eaten up by bulldozers and cement trucks day by day. High-end resorts are taking over and most accommodations are cost-prohibitive here. It’s all a bit sad. We did some fantastic rock climbing yesterday though…check out the photos. Quite proud of myself! And I have to say, the locals here are my favourite people so far in all of Thailand. There’s just something about them. We’re headed to Ko Lanta by ferry boat tomorrow. Don’t know much about the island, but Fab wants to go, so why not. Ohhh…major downpour outside!!! Eh. Whatever. It’s maybe pouring rain…but it’s also 30 degrees. And I’m in Thailand. 🙂 PS – thank you to everyone who leaves comments on the photos and on the blog. I read every one of them, and it makes me feel like you are all travelling with me. PPS -more photos coming soon, check later on Phi Phi entry (previous one) and this one….