Travel

PHI PHI ISLAND

on
June 4, 2018

Journey to the ‘Maya beach’ was a dream come true for me.From a college girl inspired by Leonardo DiCapreo starrer movie ‘The Beach’ where the hero receives a map to a secret island of happiness, music and dance,I have grown four years older.But I never let go of that dream of mine.It became intense day by day like how the wine would get intense as it gets older.

The Maya beach spreads along the ‘PhiPhi Leh’ island,a small island west to the Thailand. Hordes of tourists, now visit Maya beach everyday. But there is only one option to stay back for the night.Every evening a licensed boat takes a group of 30 people to the island.After spending a night with people from every nook and corner of the world, the boat will take us back in the morning.I and Goutham were longing for a night like that.Our co-passengers in that boat consisted of mostly British,10 of them,and there were other small groups and couples from various parts of the world.The journey to the island was made remarkable with food,songs and dance. Aboard that boat, we met a Brazilian girl, Luna, traveling around the globe all alone.We found it interesting that her name Luna-the moon and my name Thara –the star will go well together.She is a journalist who left her home seven months back and is here now after visiting Europe,China,Nepal and India.When I introduced myself as a Malayali she shared the luscious memory of the meal served by an ‘ammachi’ during her stay in Kerala.

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We reached Maya Beach in the evening when the day trip crowds were preparing to leave the beach.By the time we set foot on the beach, all the tourists had left the island.The endless sea,the high lime stone cliffs,mighty mountains and the sand as beautiful as pearl–the scene was a feast to my eyes. The sea was a mix of turquoise green and aqua blue.

We walked by the shore and explored the island a bit, before we settled in for the spectacular sunset.We sat on the sand watching the sun slowly sinking into the sea taking the daylight with it.The island only has a single hut, which is made of wood.The dinner there included barbeque chicken and a bucket full of wine served around a camp fire.A night filled with music, turning the Maya beach to a ‘Maya land’ like I always dreamt of .

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Luna was with us during the whole night sharing her travel stories. We also met a newlywed couple from Delhi.Post-dinner we thought of playing some games as a group.Some of us played a Chinese version of Checkers and some played Jenga.We joined for the latter with a British couple-Ali and Sara.Sara looked like a princess from the Arabian nights. Later we came to know that her mother is an Iranian who married a British man during her college days.That confirmed my initial intuition about her.And Ali was the short name for Allister.It was Ali’s birthday that day.To cheer up the mood further,I approached the guitarist and asked him to sing a birthday song for Ali.We celebrated his birthday with that beautiful song on that beautiful beach.

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After a while, when we began to lose interest in the game,we started walking.The beach was few minutes away. The path was lined by tall plants and cliffs resembling monsters. The waves crashing on the beach sounded like the roar of those monsters.But the excitement overtook the fear and nothing stopped us.We lied down in the sand gazing to starry sky, and the sleepy sea for some time.I am not sure whether it is the wine or my ecstatic mind which made me run from one end of the shore to the next like an insane woman. In the moonlight,we saw another couple sitting at the end of the beach.Two shadows in love! How beautiful is the freedom here.

We returned back to the restaurant after sometime.The guitar performance was still in full swing.Luna was missing and we found her lying on a platform,febrile. She had the symptoms of a fever beginning. We gave her the medicines and made her go for an early sleep. Then our group went for a night swim.Since I did not know swimming,I left myself immersed in the water .It was for the first time I am seeing the sea at night. Not just seeing, but swaying on its waves bathed in the moonlight, looking up at the stars. How incomplete, life would be for those who haven’t seen the night-sea and experienced it!

Next day alarm woke us up at 5 am. We wanted to witness the sunrise. I walked with Goutham to the beach to view the sunrise like how we viewed the sunset.The shore was only dimly lit, at that hour. We sat with the camera thinking about the sun.The night was giving way to the day.Crabs ran on the sand like busy people on a Monday morning. the small yet beautiful puffer fishes and the wild plants were totally new and appealing visuals for me. I remembered Luna telling me to make memories rather than photographs. We had to leave the beach around 8am. The first boats carrying the day crowd were arriving already. Once the island faded out of our sight as our boat gained speed, I kept asking myself, whether the last night was a reality or parts of a fascinating dream??

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