In the time I have not been posting anything, I have traveled to Thighland (ba dum ch) and started a new job- which I have been at for over a month now. I never said I was perfect, all I said is that I would be worth it *hair flip. The last time I blogged I was sleeping outside of an airport at 3am, with no money, no way of getting money and no way of getting out of that smelly airport without money. Of course, my only reaction was the sporadic, actual sprint into the bathroom to cry and think about how far I had to have fallen in order to land where I apparently was- emotionally and literally. That was probably the most out-of-body and existential experience I have ever had. “How could I let this happen?…Really?! Who comes to a foreign country with no money at all?!” …”Everything will be fine’ I said, ‘I can just use my credit card” I said. Stupid white girl. I will say though, that the reason I was in that airport for a whopping 4 hours, is because my credit card “didn’t work.” I use the quotations very dramatically here because it did actually work, but the lady who ran it the first time didn’t have the midas touch and threatened to cut up my card. Not a dramatic, first response at all…….. So I did the only thing I knew how to do in fight or flight situations- sit down and cry. I’m not proud of it, but I’ve learned to accept that my initial reaction is to cry, immobilized- sometimes in public. Only once in an airport and twice on mountains- separate occasions, separate countries, same tears. I digress. I was especially emotional because I hadn’t eaten or drank anything for the 10 hours I had been traveling for…the agony of sitting down at your destination, hungry, thirsty, tired and smelly and watching people eat and drink copious amounts of water while I sit and cry! I felt like the lonely loner who is stuck outside in (insert severe weather storm here) watching a happy family inside their sickeningly warm and dry home.
Occasionally, I would talk myself into approaching a foreigner and beg for money for food or water. This happened four different times and every time I would walk with purpose right up to them, stop and sit my sorry ass back down. Honestly, those 4 hours were very humbling; and I instantly have so much feeling for those who do it everyday. When you have no options, starving and thirsty or otherwise, it’s humiliating to ask strangers for help. Clearly a stupid white girl stuck in an airport is not the same thing as a homeless persons’ existence, but I feel as though I can relate somewhat. I still have no idea why the lady thought cutting my card was the appropriate response for it not working the first time? I feel like that reaction is comparable to someone who walks into a store, gets followed by the sales associate the entire time, gets weirded out and walks out of the store because their uncomfortable and the sales associate runs out after the person offended and screams at them to never come back in the store. You’re probably thinking: wow that’s an extreme example, Molly. Also, weirdly specific. Well, you’re right, and that happened. I have never been kicked out, and forbidden to come back. Have you? Lol@mylyf. I digress.
When I finally asked the lady to run my card again, she must have realize how desperate I looked so she amused me and tried again. When it worked, she clearly was trying to apologize for her extreme reaction to cut up my card (?) and for keeping me in the airport for 4 hours. I didn’t even care though, because as soon as I made it out of that airport I actually fist pumped as I walked out the doors. Breakfast club style.
I’ll surely never forget that airport. I took a shuttle from Krabi airport to the loading dock, and caught a boat to Koh Phi Phi (Pee Pee) Island. If you don’t know about this place, and you’re between the ages of 16-23 and a frat boy, then this is your mecca. It’s a small island with 3 walled bars right on the beach. If you don’t want to commit to any one place, you can buy a child’s sand bucket and fill it with booze for about $3 and watch people play and dance and do acrobatics with fire on the beach. The whole island is a 24/7 raging party. It’s beautiful and tropical- you know those screen savers of those beautiful beaches you think aren’t real? They are real, they do exist and they are on Phi Phi; which is basically a floating frat party, with more expats than you will ever see in one place, in all of Asia. The first day I met my sister and her friends, I was instantly reverted back into the prime of my party girl years (which is where I left my dignity, and sold my soul for a 6 pack). It was really fun, but after that first night I was pretty much tapped out.
The next day we ended up taking a long boat tour of the surrounding islands on the second day. It was absolutely worth the money and I highly recommend anyone to do this. If you’re a frat boy, or Jack Sparrow then you want to take the party boat. If you want to have a liver the next day, take the long boat tour. The whole day was spent snorkeling and swimming with the fishes underneath the most beautiful sky I have ever seen and the pictures don’t do it justice. For me, the best part was Monkey Island- a magical place where wild monkeys survive off foreigners trash. It was amazing to see because they could clearly hear our boat coming, and they knew that meant food; for which they came charging and in droves. I’ve never seen so many animals sprint that fast, but to further do it for an empty canister of Pringles…priceless! Also, very heartbreaking. What’s more interesting is that they knew exactly how to open it to get at the Pringles, if there were any inside. Which there weren’t, and was therefore chucked to the side; which pissed them off and then approached the foreigners slighted, as if demanding for better junk food. There are no people living on that island, so it’s clear that the monkeys have gotten so used to foreigners feeding them that they have become entirely reliant on the delivery of processed food. It’s very sad, but I had enough common sense not to get close to them, let alone appease their demands. Another highlight was watching a Chinese tourist give them all her food, and when she ran out got hit by a monkey looking for more. This interaction was priceless, and was the clearest demonstration of Darwinism I’ve ever seen. I already know I’m a horrible person 🙂 It’s fine. Really though, if you’re feeding wild monkeys what do you expect? Here’s a video of stupid tourists being stupid tourists:
But then, there was this at the end and it was just perfect
That night we got cleaned up, and were told that “we looked like the cleanest people on the island.” All I did was take a shower and wash my hair. I took that as a compliment because all the other people there looked like they didn’t even know what a shower is. Walking around Phi Phi is a blast in and of itself, and we wound up at a bar playing live music. I had had one too many buckets, and started heckling the acoustic guitarist. He thought it was hilarious and invited me up to dance- so I picked Taylor Swift- Shake it off, and wowed the bar-goers with my amazing lip syncing and dancing abilities. A video of this interaction exists somewhere, I’m sure, but all I have is this one picture.
That night, we went to a club on the beach. I was having an amazing time not caring about how I looked, and got into multiple dance-offs…and won. Obviously. Total domination! It started raining about halfway through and it was the most refreshing, carefree experience I’ve ever had. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to describe the feeling when you’re dancing the night away, on a beautiful beach, surrounded by people playing with fire and it starts to rain. The party doesn’t stop it just gets better! In that moment, I remember giving zero bucks and just felt alive. I realized the sky looked beautiful, so I walked to the ocean about 20 feet away, and tried to take a picture but dropped my phone in the ocean. I reached in to grab it but it was too late- my phone was already dead. I don’t even have the picture that cost me my connection to the world! 😦 I imagine it looked something like this:
After we realized we weren’t in college anymore, we decided to catch a boat back to Krabi and hang out there for a few days. I stayed in a hostel with my sister, while her friend and her friends’ friend stayed in a posh, 4-star beachfront hotel. Because no one knew that Thailand was dirty. That night we learned of another hostel called Slumber Party 1 and it’s sister- Slumber Party 2- the most fun discoveries of Krabi! I highly recommend anyone to go there to hangout, because again- it’s pretty much a non-stop frat party 24/7. There are drinking parties every night at both locations, they are filled with expats, and regularly schedule tours around the Thai islands. Heed my advice- you want to VISIT these places and stay somewhere quieter near by if you value personal space…. like, at all; because you’re going to be sleeping in a cubby hole with a curtain. That night we went on a bar crawl, and of course, I made an instant friend in a lady boy, or Katoey. She wasn’t as beautiful as others I had seen, but she was working there and spanking people with a menu. I was looking at her, she was looking at me, and before I knew it I was getting spanked with a menu. It hurt so bad that I turned around and grabbed it from her, and spanked her right back. She loved it, and when we danced- it was beautiful. Two girls, loving life. Even though we couldn’t understand each other, we were speaking the same language: dance. It was love in a club.
That night my sister, her friend, the friend’s friend and I went out to dinner at a Thai restaurant. The friend’s friend ordered pasta with butter and was then shocked and annoyed (?) that the pasta wasn’t up to her standards. So she went home and was shocked that she got food poisioning. All I have to say on the matter is that when you’re going to a country where credit cards aren’t an accepted form of payment, what do you expect? The next morning we decided to ride elephants. We took a motorcycle taxi and within 10 minutes we were at an elephant park. I should have known right away that this was a bad idea because I saw an elephant playing with a hula hoop right at the entrance. Ignoring the sinking feeling in my stomach, I proceeded to climb the stairs to the platform where you get on the elephant and sit on the metal seat tied around its back.
Immediately, my fears were confirmed that this was an unethical elephant park to which I had just given money- though it was only 100 baht, I still don’t feel comfortable that we supported the camp. The elephants were led by a Mahout (Ma-hoot): a Thai man whose job it is to control the elephant with a handheld miniature sickle/hammer shaped tool called a Goad. The Mahout trains the elephant by stabbing the animals’ head with the speared end.
Our elephant was old and clearly tired, often times afraid to go up a muddy hill. The most unsettling thing was the gaping hole on its ear. I asked how that happened but the Mahout pretended not to hear me. I kept trying to ignore the blatant animal cruelty to maintain an open mind about the experience. We got to trek through a jungle and swim in the river with the other 8 elephants. They got to play with us by shooting the muddy/poopy river water with their tusks at the foreigners, who were giving them lots of back pain. Fact: the weakest part of an elephant is it’s spine. Everything was fine until our the elephant suddenly got an itch on his back. Before my sister or I knew anything, it started aggressively using a nearby tree as a scratching post. The whole 5 minutes of this violent scratching I thought we were going to die. Screaming and holding onto my sister for dear life was the only thing I knew to do. Her friends were on the elephant in front of us, so they turned around when they heard our shrills and calls for help. Reacting the way any friend would in that situation, they did the only logical thing and filmed it. I was laughing the whole time, but it was more like “haha omfg this is how I die! Haha but really, get me off this thing now! haha!” The Mahouts had a good time laughing at the stupid foreigners so when he thought we had had enough, he took the goad and smashed it into the elephants head. As soon as we heard that loud, sickening noise, the elephant came to a screeching halt. As the noise reverberated throughout the jungle, my sister and I sat bolt upright, and I may have cried a little- not gonna lie. The Mahout saw we were very unhappy and equally disturbed by what had happened. He tried telling us that the end of the tool he used to hit the elephant didn’t hurt and it was just a loud noise, which he showed by smashing it on a nearby tree. I had half a mind to take it from him and smash him on the head with it and see what happened, but I held myself back. Then we saw my sisters’ friends Mahout show them something from his satchel, so I asked what it was. He said they sell jewelry from the elephant tusks they “collected.” I knew enough that this was a huge lie, because elephant tusks grow the same way human teeth do. Once they’re pulled out from the root they don’t grow back; if they’re broken the tusk will continue to grow but only if the root is still in tact. No matter what, the point is that this elephant park was severely mistreating their elephants. They are social animals and they were all isolated from each other. The only reason I’m even mentioning this, is sad as it is, animal tourism is a huge part of Thai culture because it provides so many people with jobs and boosts the economy- but at a highly unethical and depressing cost. As a result, it doesn’t make sense to completely eradicate it from these countries. Rather, look into where you’re going with a little research, and support responsible and sustainable animal tourism. If you are allowed to ride an elephant, turn around and go somewhere else. If an elephant is playing with a hula hoop or is painting- these are signs of extreme animal abuse. Be aware.
After our day spent with abused but beautiful animals we decided to walk around the streets of Krabi. We stumbled upon a spa which had flesh eating fish in a tank on the sidewalk. Called the Garra Rufa, or Doctor Fish, you stick your feet in the water of the fish tank and watch as hundreds of them swarm around your feet to nibble away your dead skin. I decided to do it along with my sisters friends, and while my sister stayed on the sidewalk to film it. These “fish spas” are all over Asia and it is the weirdest, most unique thing I have ever experienced in my life. I suppose it feels like pins and needles in your feet but on the outside rather than on the inside of your feet. Just picture a bunch of white girls on the sidewalk, screaming, because fish are eating their feet. It was definitely an experience but it’s something you can’t prepare for- it’s just a weird Asian thing that you should do if you have the opportunity. Here is a video of Kim Kardashian getting a fish pedicure. Although it’s short, it is a little satisfying to see her suffer.
A little bit of justice. Come on, you enjoyed it too! Lol. After we were done getting eaten alive, my sisters’ friends’ friend had a serious emergency and needed to leave because eyelash extensions and a manicure were her only salvation in a developing nation. I got a facial and didn’t have time to deal with that, so when I was done we parted ways and I went off with my sister to our ‘unacceptable’ hostel and got ready for dinner. Just about halfway through our meals, all the lights on this girls’ side of the street completely went out- for as far as we could see. Our side had light, and thank God because we were eating dinner. This girl was only getting mink eyelashes glued to her face in the dark. I can only imagine the horror that poor girl was subjected to….a little bit of karma? I don’t understand how someone can be that oblivious to where they’re going. Any simple online search would tell you that Thailand is not the United States, and you shouldn’t expect the amenities you’re used to …because it’s a developing country. I did feel bad but at the same time, that naivety wasn’t my problem. I hardly have a right to speak though, because I thought my credit card would work for paying for things. So I guess we’re even in this sense.
We all had to wake up at 6 in order to catch the 8am flight to Bangkok. While my sister and I got up and packed our measly backpacks in 10 minutes, Paris and Nicole were throwing up and “peeing out of their butts” because of food poisoning from hamburgers. Again, western food in a foreign country like Thailand….never a good idea. As they debated missing their flight on purpose, my sister and I ran the streets looking for an open pharmacy. She bought them a Thai version of pepto bismol, and a Thai version of gatorade because the brand names weren’t available. We eventually boarded the plane, and touched down in Bangkok. The girls hadn’t booked a hotel room ahead of time, so we checked a few hotels before finding one for them; while my sister and I stayed with her friend. It was my sisters’ last week in Thailand after 2 years of residence, so every night was a going away party and it was so much fun. There was copious amounts of embarrassing dancing and it was glorious!
I eventually discovered that my legs were throbbing, so when I checked in the bathroom I was horrified at what I found. The day before, I had fallen asleep on the beach under the shade of a tree because I didn’t have sunscreen. I still got burned though only in specific spots on my legs. After all that dancing, I guess there was to much friction from the clothes I was wearing while dancing, and those specific spots turned into three, huge sun blisters on my legs. If you don’t know what it is, google it but be warned; the google search is graphic and gross.
I initially didn’t know what they were, but they hurt and the paranoid person I actually thought some weird creatures were living inside of my skin. So we went to the pharmacy, sat down at an outdoor bar and drained them right there. Because Thailand. Getting eaten alive by mosquitoes and then these three monsters on my legs- of course I didn’t have any pants. I know the picture is gross, but I don’t even care because as gross as it was, I’ve never seen anything like that before. Also, you aren’t fully experiencing Thailand if you don’t have some sort of medical ailment, or gross mosquito bites somewhere on your body.
The last day we spent in Bangkok we all went to an outdoor market for some shopping. My sister and her friend go t separated from the friends’ friend and I so I just got to hangout with her for the whole time…until she got sick, again. I honestly felt, and still do feel really bad that this girl had such a hard time traveling in a beautiful country. Most of the time was spent in her hotel room, and she didn’t leave…like ever. Whatever, your experience is what you make of it. I could have let my experience be ruined when I first landed in Krabi but I didn’t and wouldn’t let that hold me back. When I look back now it was all just part of the “welcome to Thailand” welcome party. The worst party ever. The day after, my sister and I parted ways at the airport- she left for a week in Bali I flew north to Chiang Mai for a week.
Stay tuned for Thailand part deus!