The day we left Cambodia, Ramet kindly offered to drive us to the airport in the open air bat mobile.  We were all very sad.  It is so strange to spend two days with someone and feel as though you know them.  Side note: and you paid them to hang out with you. Either way, the warmth of the people in Cambodia continues to permeate my experiences here.  Okay, enough with the sappy.  So we hugged Ramet goodbye (which is unusually awkward in this culture) and boarded a plane to the southern beaches of Thailand.

Immediately once we got off the plane, I could feel a difference in the temperature and culture.  It was hotter as I think there are only two temperatures in Southeast Asia – hot and hotter.  It also felt much more like a tourist destination than a cultural experience.

Phuket.  If Panama City Florida and Las Vegas Nevada shacked up on Canal street in Manhattan and had an illegitimate child it would be named Phuket. That is all I have to say about that.

We stayed in Phuket one night and then eagerly headed to the island of Koh Phi Phi in the Adaman Sea. This had been the portion of the trip that I was most looking forward to.  After a two hour ferry ride, we arrived at an equally busy tourist trap at the dock of Koh Phi Phi. To remain consistent with my analogies, if Spring Break 2012 shacked up with the Burning Man festival on a deserted island their offspring would be named Koh Phi Phi. I now fully understand the stubborn will of Sal from the movie “The Beach” when she asked if they had shown the map of the island to anyone. She emphasizes that they value their privacy because if they found out about the beauty of this place they would ruin it.  I believe she called them parasites.  I think that might be a bit harsh, but it is hard to imagine how breathtaking this place might be without the throngs of fake goods shacks, trash and body paint all over the Tonsai village.

The endless search for the authentic adventure has led all us touron to the same place meeting each other and experiencing nothing of the place we are visiting.  It seems that by continuing on the same path, the scores of travelers searching for a unique experience end up exactly where they started – eating a sausage biscuit at a Hardee’s with a Starbucks coffee and a screen saver in the backdrop. Why leave home? The 2 days of brutal travel? The massive amount of trash everywhere? The language barrier? I think we may have all lost the plot (new favorite Aussie phrase).

Anyhow, this place is still amazingly gorgeous and I feel infinitely lucky to be here. Just a little deflated today.  Our next pursuit is to find a secluded place to relax after a day of planes, trains and tuk-tuks.