Every time I return to a place of happiness, I'm disappointed by how much things have changed. I don't know why I continue to pursue these threads of dreams, but there I was, fending off the touts as I tried to sort out my ticket from Phuket town to Phi Phi island, a place I'd not visited since 2003 (scant weeks before the tsunami struck). Where before there were only a couple of average size boats going to the island, now there were half a dozen ships departing the dock ... all at 8:30 in the morning, for some reason. The ships were tied to each other so some passengers had to walk across the deck of one craft to get to the other. Then we had to wait for the outermost ship to depart before our own vessel could cast off. Why not stagger the ships in fifteen minute intervals? I would have been very happy to leave at 7:00.
|New cottages are piled upon each other|
|Tourists flood over the side of the boat to splash around in the deeps.|
|Taxi boats, pulled up on the beach, awaiting tourists.|
The island really should be called Kitty Kitty island for the startling number of friendly cats inhabiting the place. They lounge outside the shops and homes and welcome a scratch behind the ears. Dogs are not as common here as in the cities, oddly enough.
I decided to leave the island after two nights. I figured that the 9:00 boat trip would be the least crowded as so few of the party-goers would get up so early. I was very wrong. There was quite a mob at the docks, though not as crowded as I had experienced in my arrival. There were only two boats going out. I realized then that theses two had remained on the island overnight and the great flotilla was only now leaving Phuket town. With our baggage piled up in the stern, we crowded aboard these two boats and cast off. Our boat stopped just at the edge of the harbor. Racing toward us was a long, slim ship. The crew gestured to us to get away from the side of the boat. Apparently we were going to hook up with this vessel. They transferred a few dozen bags and then passengers from a nearby island climbed aboard our already crowded boat.
Surely we'd be on our way now? No. Another high-speed boat was racing in from another island. Their bags were piled on the lower part of the stern and few score more travelers joined us. There was no room inside so the newcomers were at the mercy of the sun for the next two hours.
Hopefully, this will be my last trip to Phi Phi. I could not bear to see it get more crowded.