Wednesday 27th December 2000 Day 15

Today I got worse! I started pissing through my arse!

It would be safe to say that I could have easily sieved it through muslin without leaving any residue whatsoever. Totally fluid! The day started badly in the early hours of the morning. At 1am, Julie woke me up to suggest I should take some paracetamol to reduce my temperature. A good idea, only that the second tablet lodged itself at the back of my throat. I baulked, but regained my composure. It was however short lived as I swung back into an even deeper heave. That time I couldn't hold it down, and I filled my mouth to bursting point. I sat there with my cheeks full of bile, knowing full well that I could never make myself swallow its contents. I had to get up from my bed, and make a dash for the toilet. There I was, stark bollock naked, with one hand covering my modesty, and the other hand across my mouth. Half way across the room another wave of vomit came hurtling up my system. My hand was a feeble barrier as the sick came shooting between my fingers. Whoosh! It hit the tiled floor of the bedroom with a splat, and in my state of panic I put my foot in it, and almost skidded on my backside. From then onwards the rest of the early morning was spent losing more fluid, but out of my Big Ben bottom, on the hour, every hour! I felt like I'd been colonically irrigated by an elephant's trunk!

I decided not to go for my breakfast. Instead Julie brought back some toast and a croissant. This was some achievement because the security around the bakery seemed tighter than the Customs through Bangkok airport!! She had to prove who she was, and explain why she was taking food out of the restaurant! I wonder what the penalty is in Thailand for smuggling pastries? After all the effort of bringing me my breakfast, I hardly managed to finish one piece of dry toast. I unfortunately didn't come across as being at all grateful for their kind consideration!

Our transfer to Phi Phi Island was today, and our pick-up arrived at 8:30am, in a seriously cronky old Nissan. It took her ten minutes to work out how to fit all our cases into her car. The boot was filled instantly, and then eventually she decided to put a case and a bag onto the front seat. That meant the three of us had to squeeze into the tiny backseat! We finally crammed ourselves in, and set off. She immediately apologised for the Thai Muslims. Every single one of them! Every now and again she would say "Thai Muslims - sorry"! Sometimes she'd point to people on the side of the road, and say "Thai Muslims - sorry"! I have no idea why she was apologising! She had this most amazing collection of statues and symbols of good luck gathered together beneath the hanging gardens of Babylon dangling from her rear view mirror. There must have been at least a dozen garlands of jasmine protecting this vehicle with their good luck symbolism! It all looked like a fully functional miniature altar constructed into the car's design as if it were carved into the hillside of her dashboard. Judging by the Buddha statues our driver was a superstitious Buddhist. Perhaps she was envious of the Muslims having the day off? It was the Muslim holiday Ramadam, today, and as we drove through the villages on the way to Krabi they were all being called to attend their mosque. It was quite strange hearing someone wailing over a loudspeaker to call everyone to worship. To be honest, I much rather the ringing of bells!

We arrived in Krabi, at the Ferry Company office, at 9:00am. The Kuoni rep back at the hotel had told us that the ferry left at 9:00am, but thankfully he was wrong! It was 10am. As we had some time to waste, Julie and Hannah went for a walk, whilst I guarded our luggage. I tried to sit still and not think about my stomach situation, but when a wave of nausea came I had to swallow really hard, and breath methodically as if I were having a baby, to regain control. I'm sure I was within inches of throwing up all over the reception desk. What a Happy Ramadam present that would have been for them!

At 9:30am we were taken to our boat. It was literally just across the street, on the riverbank. We boarded the boat following the ferry staff, who were lugging our luggage for us. The boat looked really cool, just like the photographs on the posters at the reception office. A very modern and sleek ferryboat. However, just as we were about to go down below deck, one of the crew members told us to keep walking, off this boat, and onto another one, hidden from view, moored by its side! Well, what a difference! This boat was a right heap. To start with, it was half the size of the deluxe model we'd just walked through! It smelt of diesel, and of hot plastic seats. But worse than that, I'm sure I could smell stale vomit rising from the sticky carpeted floor! This journey was going to be such an ordeal. I was so wrapped up in my own suffering that I hadn't taken much noticed of the real concern on Julie's face. She was definitely worried about the sea worthiness of this vessel! If there ever was the anti-Titanic this was it! The 'sinkable' ferryboat!

We sat on the junk for 45 minutes before we set off for Phi Phi at 10:15am. The journey took 90 minutes, with every second of journey spent trying not to vomit. I had opened a window for some fresh air, but I was made to close it again by the staff. Later I could see why as we cut through the waves, water crashed against the window. I would have been utterly drenched. The good news was we could see Phi Phi getting closer and I had kept my dignity without any leakages or spillages from neither one end nor the other! Our first glimpses of the island were exciting! We passed fairly close to one of the smaller ancillary islands, possibly Bamboo or Mosquito. The skies were grey, but a beam of brilliant sunlight was shining on this beach. It looked spectacular. As if it were a promised land!

We reached the ferry terminal at Tonsai Bay at 11:45am. We got off the boat onto the jetty. There was a real hustle bustle about the place with so many people getting off the ferry, being met by so many resort reps, trying to spot your suitcase amongst the mountain of luggage that was piling up on the platform. For a brief moment, I was in my own world, captivated by the most incredible school of large black tropical fish. They swam from underneath the jetty and continued in between all the boats in this busy port. Four naked boys in a canoe pulled up, and dived in after the fish. I wanted to take their picture, to get that interesting 'National Geographic' style photo but I decided not to compromise their innocence! Or in other words, I certainly didn't want to be seen as a pervert taking pictures of naked boys!

The village that has grown around this port is nothing more than a shanty, but with cheap accommodation, pizza delivery, and plenty of bars, it's really popular with travellers. Two porters from the Palm Beach resort met us off the boat, and carried our luggage some 300 yards to the other side of the island! Tonsai village is effectively built on a sand bank between the two major parts of Ko Phi Phi Don. It only took two minutes to walk from the South side to the North side.

Waiting for us on the beach was a longtail boat. We waded in, and climbed into the boat. We waited briefly for a young Japanese couple to arrive. They didn't want to get their feet wet, so they struggled to climb onto the boat directly from the back. They almost ruined their grey Nike ¾ length trousers with engine oil, just because they didn't want to get their Reebok trainers soaked!

It was midday by now, and the sun was beating down very strongly. The boat didn't have a canopy to shelter from the rays, so I was suffering at this point. Keeping conscious was my only objective!

Thankfully the boat was low enough in the water for me to hang my arm over the side to catch some refreshingly cool splashes!

It took us twenty-five minutes to reach the jetty, which was on the West side of the island. Once again we had to walk across the width of the island to the East side. It hardly took us 2 minutes. As we got closer to the beach we walked through a collection of small Beach Huts with a concrete shower block and communal toilets. Julie's face was a picture of horror!

There was a moment where she thought these huts were going to be our home for the next few days! I must admit I couldn't help but to laugh! Although I could have ended up with egg on my face because I wasn't a 100% certain either that these huts weren't our Palm Beach Resort.

A communal toilet with my arse wouldn't have been a laughing matter!

After walking pass the huts, we reached the beach, and we were truly knocked aback by its outstanding beauty. We stood there with these huge smiles on our faces. I felt lifted.

The sand was the fabled powdery white, and the sea was such an unreal kaleidoscope of crystal blues. It was breathtaking.

We had finally found our picture postcard paradise!

Even the Sea Gypsy village on the beach couldn't spoil the vibe of its beauty. We followed the porter along the beach until we eventually reached the Palm Beach Travelodge Resort. By the time we checked in our luggage had arrived from the longtail boat, which had sailed around the coast to meet us.

Why we weren't taken that route I don't know? Perhaps the sea gets rougher further out to the North of the island? Whatever the reason, I'm so glad we hadn't because walking up to the beach, and seeing this paradise for the first time was an unforgettable experience.

We were then shown to our chalet. The resort had hundreds of huts, and as we walked along the paths we kept expecting to turn inland towards the majority of the chalets but the porter kept telling us to carry on along the beachfront.

We'd almost come to the end of the path, and we could not believe our luck when he turned and pointed to our chalet. No. 116 had to be the best positioned of the whole resort.

Not only was it beachfront and literally three steps away from the sand, but it also had nothing obscuring our view of the sea. Many of the other beachfront chalets had trees or large bushes in the way, but not ours. Wow!

We had a coconut tree on either side perfectly framing our view.

This was a dream fulfilled. The dream I had four years ago about taking my daughter to this beautiful Ko Phi Phi tropical island that I had never even heard of before,

As soon as we got into the room it all got too much for me and I vomited!

All I had done was drink some water, and it all came back up. Julie noticed that there was a medical centre on-site and decided to take me to see the nurse. There was a huge language barrier to overcome, but we eventually got her to understand that I had diarrhoea. Or at least we hoped she understood because she gave me this orange flavoured powder solution to drink. She kept on saying it was 'Electrolyte' as if I was suppose to recognise the word, but it meant bugger all to me. It did however sound like something you would give to someone in my pathetic condition, so I drank it. And it didn't come whooshing back up. Much to my relief! But just when I thought I'd survived without vomiting, I had to test my nerve of steel once more as she gave me two massive paracetamols to swallow. Even the thought of it getting stuck in my throat was making me baulk. Heavy swallowing was essential to keep it all down. I sat there like a condemned man, with a cyanide pill in his hand, delaying the inevitable. Eventually I went for it. The timing had to be just right. As soon as I took a swallow, then breathed in sharply, I popped in half a tablet, a gulp of water, and swallowed deeply again. It slid down my throat relatively easily. Only another three halves to go! They all got gradually easier as I broke down my psychological hoodoo!

As we left the nurse said "No sea food", "It's OK, I'm a vegetarian" I replied. But she repeated herself as if to get her point over again. We all just nodded, thanked her for her help, and walked out. Julie later realised that she was trying to say, "No see food". Or in other words her advice to me was probably don't eat any food, not just the SEAfood!! I spent the remainder of the afternoon in the chalet, writing this journal, and sitting on the toilet! Having not eaten at all and with a raging temperature I descended into a feverish episode. I felt like one of those aesthetics that fast for spiritual enlightenment. My mind and body became detached. I looked at my legs not believing them to be a part of me. At times I floated away from myself. What the hell was in that orange powder!?

Whilst I was enjoying my out of body experience, Julie and Hannah had hired a set of snorkels and flippers and went snorkelling in the sea. I could see them from the chalet. They were having a whale of a time, and were amazed by all the fish they saw. I did feel a bit of a hermit, and felt sorry for myself, missing out on all the fun. But I couldn't even walk down to the beach, let alone have snorkelled! All I was capable of doing was floating around my room! There was no TV in the room, which made it even more of a peaceful environment. We all sat and read our books for a while, feeling incredibly relaxed. By now I had returned into my body, and was able to hold a conversation. At 6pm I phoned home, and I'm sure my mum was on the phone for over 10 minutes! I've somehow forgotten what she was talking about though?

At 7:30pm, it was dark, raining, and quite windy, when Julie and Hannah went out to have supper, and I continued 'not seeing food' in the chalet. My enforced hunger strike was working in as much as I no longer needed the toilet as often. My biggest fear though was farting in my sleep and waking up to discover that I had shat in the bed! Imagine having to explain that to the cleaners!

It was 9:30pm when Hannah and Julie returned from their meal, singing the praises of the quality food, and singing, "Welcome to the Hotel ... Phi Phi Island", the resident band's witty adaptation of The Eagles song. Despite not eating all day, I wasn't in the slightest bit envious of their delicious supper, and I certainly wasn't disappointed in missing the band!

Julie has renamed the island. It shall no longer be known as Ko Phi Phi, but be forever remembered as Kol Pooh Pooh! Shortly afterwards we all stopped laughing, and fell asleep.

Day 16>>

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