Tag Archives: Intrepid Travel

So this is paradise? (What “The Beach” looks like today)

21 Jul

Suffice to say “The Beach” was pretty packed today. Leonardo DiCaprio seems to have filled out a bit however. He chose to hover with a camera at the shoreline, his bulging beer gut hanging over his bright blue speedos in full view of the masses, all of whom were struggling to find a spot to swim amongst the bobbing speed boats.

Maya Bay, where Danny Boyle chose to film the scenes of utter Eden for the movie back in 2000, was once a solitary beach paradise, a tropical bliss in the middle of the turquoise ocean that was hard to reach and even harder to leave. Today however, it looks like this:

Perhaps it was a tad naive of me to think the Intrepid explorers and I would actually descend in paradise when we stepped off our noisy, diesel-guzzling speedboat this morning as part of our Phi Phi day trip. But hmm, I wasn’t really expecting the essence of Skegness on a Saturday.

An added treat was a bunch of blokes in turbans doing star jumps…

Wikipedia says the beach seen in the film is not the same as it is in real life anyway. A lot was added with special effects during post production and apparently crew members flattened the beach with a tractor and added a few palm trees, just to give it that extra zing. The Tsunami of 2004 put it right again, as nature tends to do, whipping it up and reshaping it back its former glory. Well…  I’m sure it’s glorious at night, anyway, when there’s no one on it. But in the day, it’s just more of this, really:

I did manage to get a couple of nice shots of my new (younger obviously) friends looking hot in their bikinis. It’s a shame you can see half the global population of Japan, the UK and America behind them. Maybe we can fix it up somehow… bring it back to its Hollywood movie splendour. Is anyone any good at Photoshop?

Thai River Rapids and the Spooky warnings of doom…

20 Jul

Today has been the unluckiest day I think I’ve ever had. In spite of setting off for my Intrepid tour (from Bangkok to Singapore) with no problem, on the way onto the train, which we rode south overnight to Khao Sok National Park, I fell over the prongs of a fork lift truck and smashed my foot. Yeeeeoooowwwww!!! Luckily my new friends (there are 12 of us in the group) didn’t cast me off as a complete loser and we spent the majority of the bumpy ride talking, bonding over the questionable food and discussing what the next two weeks have in store. It’s my first Intrepid trip and within seconds of meeting this bunch I just knew we were gonna have an awesome time!

However, today, after I’d had a long-awaited shower at the gorgeous Morning Mist Resort in Khao Sok, I tripped and fell over a random bathroom step (which really shouldn’t have been there, hmph) and did one of those cartoon slippy slidey dances all over the tiled floor for what seemed like hours until I finally regained my balance by grabbing the toilet seat. Oh, the class.

AND THEN, after a two-hour trek through the National Park, to a stunning waterfall with two other girls called Lizzy and Jenny, on stepping off the roadside and into a store for a bag of fresh pineapple (just 10 baht, bargain!) I completely failed to notice the pointy roof of a hut sticking out at forehead level, and smashed right into it. Fergodssaaaaake! I clutched my head, expecting blood. Thankfully, there was nothing but the beginnings of a bruise…mainly to my pride.

But that’s not all… after getting back to the resort, thinking OK, now what the hell else can go wrong (?) I looked down and noticed blood gushing out from between my toes. It seems a leech must have seen a prime opportunity to feast on my foot when I stepped through the grass near my hut. I didn’t see the little bugger, or feel anything actually, but the river of blood marks the point of his snack quite clearly. He’ll be full for a week on what he’s just drained from my body.

But that’s not it. Oh noooooo. Our guide Moh suggested a tubing expedition this afternoon, on giant rubber rings down the nearby river. Ummmm, hell no. Seriously. After everything that’s happened today already, I’d be pretty damn stupid to get in the river rapids, wouldn’t I? I mean, I already feel like a big enough tool, the last thing I need is to be the one who gets stuck on a rock, deflated and drowning as my group sails past me, oblivious.

“But you’ll be fine”, came the chorus.

“But I’m still gushing blood,” I protested (more to myself than the others).

“Oh come on, it’ll be OK, the water’s shallow anyway.”

I deliberated, “Ah, OK, I suppose I can wear a life jacket…”

I was the only one in our group who strapped on a bright orange inflatable lifejacket prior to our downstream expedition. Turned out, just five metres down the river, my ring decided to veer completely off course, straight towards a gathering of reeds and rocks. Naturally I hopped out, and immediately felt the strength of the current between my knees. Holeeeeee craaaaaaap!

My ring was begging to be let go, so I released it, watching it tumble into the reeds and then off down the river without me. My mind gushed over with movie-scene imaginings of helicopter rescues and those nice, warm, shiny tin-foil blankets they give to survivers. I stood there, rooted to the spot, thanking God for the previous “accidents” that led me to wear the lifejacket in the first place.

I noticed some people standing on the bridge in the distance, so I started waving, but they didn’t respond. I think a couple may have even whipped their cameras out and started taking photos of the girl in neon orange peril. (Tourists!)

I admit, I panicked, picturing my pathetic end, getting washed away in a river that all my new friends were using as a merry theme park ride in rubber rings, just moments away from my doom. The lip went, then the chin went, and then I screamed. I said the F word, which may or not translate in Thai but there was movement and suddenly a guy appeared on the river bank. He pulled off his shoes and started wading out to rescue me. My saviour!!!

Back on land he let me walk in his shoes and instructed me to get on a motorbike. HOLY CRAP, are you serious? I’ve escaped death what… four… five times today already and you want me to get on your motorbike?! But like a fool I got on, and he drove me back to the resort, relatively unscathed aside from the leech wound, which was still oozing blood like a miniature vampire bite between my toes.

I will point out that these “accidents” are entirely my fault, but it’s pretty freaky that they’re all happening at once, isn’t it?

I don’t think I should go out tonight, just in case. I think I’ll just stay here at the Morning Mist lodge, watch the birds and the butterflies flutter round my cute wooden cabin and read my book on the hammock, where nothing can kill me.

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