August 6, 2007

06 the 2nd day workshop @ phi phi island: 28 july 2007

Phi Phi Tourist Island

The real day started. Some of us woke up early in the morning to have a short excursion to Krabi city, because we had to leave for the pier at 9:00 am. But it seemed that the students preferred their beds...:)

Here is the river of Krabi.... very dramatic mountains on the background. Very serene and calm.
In the city, we found the 'monkey-holding' traffic lights. :O no explanation. This confirms me that Thailand is a land of being 'literal' somehow...

The most impressive thing was the morning market. There were all kinds of fresh food as well as ready-to-eat breakfast. We went around to hunt for the local foods, almost of them are of Islamic people - all of them we tasted were very good. Then we did quite a huge shopping for our ferry boat trip snacks....

Then we all met at the ferry boat pier. The students who came by the night bus arrived safely (I am relieved). Then the ferry was ready for us. Since our group altogether including the supporting staffs from Fa Diow Foundation was about 40 people, the ferry company got a ferry exclusively for us! (Well, the truth was that there were many people waiting for the ferry that morning, they needed two ferry boats anyway!)

On the boat, we enjoyed very calm sea and cloudy sky ...although some of us were very scared to get tanned!

After about two hours, with a short stop at Leam Tong to unload all our luggauges, we arrived to the main pier of Phi Phi Island at Ton Sai Bay.

Before the students going around to observe the most touristic and problematic area of the island, I made a short introduction to the area to the students. Actually the students already made a document research on Phi Phi Island some weeks ago in the class. So more or less they knew where to go.

Khun Pu (Jantima) our great supportor from Fa Diow Foundation led us all the way along the seashore to Phi Phi Island Village School (strangely enough, the signage of the school is written 'Pee Pee Island Village School'). We took a chance to take a little rest there.

On the beach in front of the school, there was a gigantic boat transporting building materials including sands (since the island is in the National Park area, the sand or any other natural elements cannot be destroyed or used for any purposes). So everything has to be imported from the mainland - this is one of the problems for our building too.

Along the beach, there were a lot of left-over or to-be-used building materials.. it was quite dirty and sad. The prefabricated concrete gigantic pipe are to be used for a structure of a well to collect natural fresh water. Because another big problem for the island (with the super tourist industry is how to provide enough fresh water).

We visited the typical mid-range resort hotels around Ton Sai Bay where most of the tourists are. Hmmm we are not so convinced with all air-conditioned sealed completely rooms on the beach..

This is a row house for construction workers from outside the island... actually the weaving bamboo panels are quite nice and light enough for the island condition.

Then we were back to where we arrived at the main pier of Ton Sai bay. It used to be one of the most beautiful sceneries in the world (the information is given by the research of our students) - the area between these two bay. Now after tsunami in 2005, the area is heavily 'developed', a lot of buildings, constructions, shops and so on.. too bad for the used-to-be most beautiful place on earth.

This is newly built structure at the area between the two bays. It belongs to the hotel behind... with quite literally beautiful and fancy fence. :)

We had lunch in the cheapest and most local resturant in the area for the local on this street which more or less very similar to Khao San Road. It is perhaps the only real resturant not for the tourists. Still the price of the food is around double of that in the center of Bangkok, for example in Sukhumvit area where I live.

After getting tired and a bit depressed with the survey of Ton Sai Bay, we headed to Lam Tong by 5 long-tail boats.

Small hotels and local sheds of the local sea people on the west side of the island along our route from Ton Sai Bay to Leam Tong.

Finally we arrived to Leam Tong.. This is the bay in front of the resort where the school is inside (kind of weird situation, I know).

Right after we all checked in to the rooms of Phi Phi Natural Resort and some in the school. Khun Pu whisphered to me that her friend called from Ton Sai Bay saying that soon after we left Ton Sai Bay, the warning alarm of tsunami broke in. Also there was the same alarm in Lanta Island and Phuket. People already ran to the high mountations.. She was trying to check if it was real alarm of a false one. But we could not take any risk, I ran to every room to move the students to the evacuation area where the school is.

The students were mildly panic, they could not believe if it was true. After around 20 minutes.. we learned that it was a false alarm.. we all went down to our room and rest... Only the first day on Phi Phi.

05 the 1st day workshop @ phi phi island: 27 july 2007

On Arrival

Finally we all go to Phi Phi Island for the workshop (27 July - 2 August). Actually we still have few more lessons we had before we go to the island that we should documentate on the blog, but we are now still very excited from the trip and the workshop. So let's get through it before we forget the details!

We started our trip on Friday 27 July...Some of us flew in the morning to Krabi, some (including myself) arrived Krabi in the evening, while the rest took a night bus from Bangkok and arrived the next day in the morning...

The day was not much. We went to have dinner on the street venders next to Krabi river where it used to be a ferry pier. We had some local 'Kanom Jean' - some kind of Thai noodle with curry source in southern style, extremely good indeed.

On the street vender area, we found this intelligent solution for the canvas canopy of a noodle shop - to keep it from the very strong winds by the bottles of water! Simple but intelligent.

Then another vender, he served hot and cold dessert in a cup that big enough to be a bowl...something in between. Besides, the desserts are very good there too. :)