Upon me just recently finishing a cup of chai before starting this post, that should be enough to tell you that I’m no longer in Thailand anymore and that I’m back in Kolkata. In getting off the airplane this afternoon, I was a bit concerned as to what kind of emotions I’d feel after going from a land of paradise in Thailand back to a land known as the “poorest of the poor” in Kolkata, but surprisingly, it felt like I never left. I’m sure Kolkata was hoping that I’d be able to smuggle back from Thailand a few beaches, palm trees, and turquoise water so it too, could reap all the economic benefits that a land of paradise can offer a country, but unfortunately for Kolkata, I came back empty handed. I guess that’s what I get for only bringing on the trip one carry-on.
After the Thailand experience, a question I've considered in the past about Kolkata has resurfaced itself today and that was the question of whether or not Kolkata is a victim of circumstance, similar to a child being born into a broken home where there situation gives them a handicap of “Himalayan” proportions to succeed, or if they are just a victim of not CARING MORE. Just to give Kolkata the benefit of the doubt, I’m going to treat them as if they were the kid born into the broken home, but when you see them throw trash on the ground for lack of anywhere else to put it, watch them relieve themselves in the streets with indifference and hear of stories where a severe burn victim is admitted to a hospital only to die the next day after just being thrown in a corner on the ground and left unattended to, it makes you wonder a bit.
As for more details of my Thailand trip, I believe I left off last time right before we headed out to the Phi Phi islands. I mentioned in my last blog that this was an area that was devastated by the tsunami that hit the area back in 2005 and upon our arrival there, I don’t think you would have been able to find a grain of sand on the beach that would have testified to such devastation (refer to pictures below). The fact that it wasn’t uncommon to hear people say they came down to Phi Phi with the intentions to only stay a week or so, but now found themselves here for a year, should be enough to tell you that this place is pretty special. Phi Phi is also known as one of the top places in the world for scuba diving and upon finding this out, Doan and I decided to take what they call a “Discovery” diving class on the 2nd day we were there. The class consisted of 2 dives, the first of which was more of a tutorial of sorts that allowed us to get comfortable in the scuba gear and it also gave us an opportunity to learn all the other techniques in the water so we could avoid having our names in the obituary the next day. Despite the fact that I had a moment in the water where I couldn’t remember if I was to exhale out of my nose or inhale to get water out of my mask, and a person could have completed their entire Master Diver course with all the time it took me to figure this technique out, I thought I did pretty good. After our first dive and being able to explore a bit, the only thing our training didn’t touch on was the shark that swam right by us, but since I didn’t end up as lunch, I was ok with the experience. As for the second dive, I can’t say I got to see Arial from the “Little Mermaid” and that was kind of disappointing, but we did get to see a bunch of sea turtles swimming around and a lot of other kinds of fish and that was cool.
After the couple days we spent in Phi Phi, we were encouraged by some travelers to check out Krabi, which is an area that has a reputation for having the most beautiful beaches in Thailand. Since we were only a two hour ferry ride away from there, it only made sense for us to check it out for a couple days and I’ll touch on this place on my next post.