Thursday, October 11, 2012

Sisters do the South

I could not have asked for a better way to kick-off my extended travel than with my sisters and best friends.

Having not seen my sister, Morgan, in over a year, 10 days in Thailand with her and her long-time best friend, Kendall, (who has always been a sister to me) was a trip of a lifetime for all of us.
Morgan, myself and Kendall on Karon Beach, Phuket
After a couple days playing tour-guide around Bangkok's temples and markets, we headed the furthest south I'd been in Thailand -  the country's most talked about beach destination: Phuket.

As is the nature of travel, not everything can go smoothly. But, it's such sticky situations which require the ability to have some faith and laugh a little - and that we did.

We left our central Bangkok hostel with plenty of time to defeat Bangkok's rush hour traffic and catch our quick flight south. Pretty soon, Morgan realized she left her glasses at the hostel, but it was clear that our taxi wasn't going anywhere fast. So out of the taxi I hopped and on to a motorbike taxi, which manuevers through clustered traffic without much trouble. Ten minutes and sixty baht later, I was back (with the glasses) in our original taxi which had barely moved in my abscense. We inched painfully slow toward the traffic light that only seemed to change every 15 minutes. The clock was starting to tick and so were our nerves. Finally - the color of green signaled our driver to hit the gas and get us to the airport as promised.

Semi-frantically running into the airport, the three of us scanned the computer screens for a sense of direction. When no AirAsia flights were to be found on the screen, our hearts simultaneously dropped with the realization that we'd come to the wrong airport!

A rookie mistake, you say? I was well aware (and had informed the girls) about AirAsia's change in airports, which is why I checked our tickets multiple times that clearly (and wrongly) read Suvarniphumi International Airport!

Sisters on a sunset hike
Luckily, it took us all of 3 seconds to connect the dots, and we were out of that airport as fast as we came. Our second token of luck was that our speedy cab driver was still in the same spot, and knew of our flight time and now desperate situation. Another 600 baht later and 100 miles per hour -  he got us to trusty Don Mueng Airport with a half hour to spare until boarding. God bless reckless Bangkok taxi drivers, Thailand's lack of enforced road rules, the small and easy Don Mueng Airport and the giggles that came from that experience!

By the time that we finally rolled up to our bungalow in Phuket nearing midnight (oops, put us on minivan taxi and we were the last stop!) we were exhausted. While the bungalow was extremely comfortable and clean for my liking, I forgot that my standards of living have decreased from the comforts of well air-conditioned and bug-free American homes. So after three nights in the cheap (but friendly) bungalow, the girls decided it'd be worth their hard-earned vacation dollars to move it up a few stars.

Off we ferryed to spend the weekend on the inexplicably, stunning island of Phi Phi at a very comfortable resort. From boozing on buckets to sunset hikes, snorkeling with fishies and feeding monkeys, it was a weekend to remember.
Koh Phi Phi has become extremely built-up and its entire economy revolves around young travelers like ourselves. Despite the commodity the island has become, nothing could possibly destroy the natural beauty that lies on and around Phi Phi. [Stay tuned for more on this in my next post about Phi Phi!]

Beautiful pool with swim-up bar
 at resort

Our final destination was Krabi. We lucked out with a superb deal on Agoda, booking a spacious resort-style room for just over 30 dollars a night. Although this still was over my meager SE Asian backpacker budget, I am grateful to the girls for throwing in a few extra bucks to treat me to luxury for 5 days. After many tasty eats, Thai massages and overflowing suitcases full of souvineers, it was, unfortanately, time to say goodbye.

Part of the reason that I've come to love traveling solo so much is that, to put it frankly, people annoy me. With Kendall and Morgan, our comfort and closeness with one another allowed for such honestly and silliness that I can't imagine having with many other travel partners. For the first time, I could have seen myself traveling with them for ages without any serious annoyances. Ten days was too short and I will miss their companionship.
We got plenty of sun, but it is the end of rainy season
My sister and Kendall were left to fend for themselves one evening in Bangkok before their day-long journey back to the states, while I stayed in Krabi to do laundry and research before Malaysia. With the transition from a 5-star resort to a somewhat rough-edged 5 dollar a night guesthouse, I'm forced into reality that I'm not on an extended vacation, but a learning experience and a journey.

With my biggest decision being at what point to leave one place for the next, life is good. I am in my element in this lifestyle and surrounded by people who share my passion. I wake up every single day grateful to be alive and for the experiences to come.

1 comment:

MorganE said...

This post makes me smile. Spectacular! Had the most amazing time with you and Kendall. Can't stop thinking about it :)