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week one

Andaman Sea Ferry, originally uploaded by Mister Wind-Up Bird.

Phuket is a hole.  We arrived after two days at the Kuala Lumpur Sheraton, which was a fantastic experience in what lifestyle marketers would probably call “affordable luxury”.  Which to my mind means I have to wear my one nice Ben Sherman shirt the entire time, but I can wear it with my cheap shorts and sandals.

Anyway, Phuket.  It’s a hole, and not just because of where we were the days before.  Decrepit bar girls, maimed dogs staggering in the streets, and rich, lobstery, middle-aged Euros shuffling between the Moevenpick resort and a forest of blue umbrellas filling Karon beach.

We were not staying at the Moevenpick resort.  We were staying on the periphery of Phuket, which means paying first-world hotel prices for a small, air-conditioned concrete box infused with the gentle aroma of moldy sewage.  We had planned to spend two nights in Phuket.  Instead, we activated plan B: stay out of our room, drink lots of cheap Singha, watch a pirated DVD of Hot Fuzz, sleep a few hours, and then catch the first ferry to Ko Phi Phi.

KPP has the double distinction of being the shooting location of The Beach and being devastated by the 2004 tsunami.  Today, it’s a popular, laid-back tourist destination.  We wandered the narrow streets filled with bars, dive shops and weaving bicycles (no motor vehicles allowed on KPP), and found a room for the night.  After roaming for a few enjoyable hours, we went to bed early.  About eleven o’clock I was awoken by a steady dubstep mmmthump-mmmthump-mmmthump.  Curious, I got out of bed, pulled on my shorts and stepped out into the night.  The beach was home to what I can only call a really lame rave with a budget.  Every bar on the beach had a stage and a DJ setup.  Every stage had half a dozen drunk blonde chicks (and one or two optimistic dudes) dancing on it.  In front of every stage, four or five poi and fire spinners were clumsily trying to not light themselves on fire.  Around every stage, a dozen or so bored tourists were sitting in the sand drinking.  This scene was repeated up and down the beach.  I took it all in and then headed back to the room where I laid back down with my wife and fell into a deep sleep.

The next day we caught another ferry deeper into the Andaman Sea, to Koh Lanta.  It’s hard to believe we’ve only been married a week, that we only left Australia five days ago.  It seems like it’s been a very long time.  So far, so good.