Culture shock. It's something most people go through when they travel to a new place with new foods, a strange language, and different ideas on how to live day to day life. Reverse culture shock can almost be as scary. When you settle into a new routine in a new society, those old ways of life seem to come back as a slap in the face when you finally reunite with them. While I wouldn't call our long weekend in Koh Phi Phi a moment of "reverse culture shock", there were still moments of "Oh, yea I remember this!"
First of all, I haven't seen this many westerners since I left the states back in April. As we got off the boat at Koh Phi Phi, we were swarmed with backpackers, ravers, college students, and tourists. There were North Face back packs everywhere and neon paint on arms and clothes from parties the night before. Everyone was speaking something other than Thai - English, German, French, Italian, etc.
For the last three months I've been able to hold a conversation in English without having to worry about anyone eaves dropping or chiming in. But now, my brain couldn't keep up with my ears and I was consistently bouncing around and hearing more familiar phrases and accents. I felt as though I had just landed in Cancun for Spring Break...and part of me was ok with that.
Secondly, the food was a throw back to home immediately. We hadn't even dropped our bags at a bungalow yet and already we had slices of pizza in hand! Sure, I can find pizza in Surat but not by the slice! And this New Yorker loves a good slice! It's possible I may have overdosed on pizza this weekend...but that's another story. Anway, one "regular, to go" later and we were nestled into our adorable bunglow!
(Badass bungalows at the Twin Palms)
Pizza in Thailand? No problem. Mexican in Thailand? Good luck. We had heard rumors of a Mexican restaurant in the area and knew our noses would sniff out some carne asada and burritos somewhere! Banana Sombrero (obviously a very authentic name) did the trick for us. While it may not be the best Mexican I've ever had...the fact that there was a tortilla on my plate got me excited. Pair that with a frozen margarita and some guacamole - I was a happy camper!
Aside from the usual lounging and hula hooping routine, we added ocean kayaking to our list of things to do. (Unfortunately, I do not yet have a waterproof camera so photos are unavailable). But man, you should have been there...we were experts! Plowing through waves, navigating swiftly around cliffs, and gliding into shore with the slightest effort. Orrrr we capsized in the middle of the ocean, almost lost our balance several times, were steered off course more times than I can count on one hand... Either way, it was an aquatic adventure!
Most of our weekends have been spent casually hanging out on a beach, listening to some Thai reggae, but this weekend it was back to the club life. With some recent jams (and old school throw backs) we danced until we passed out...but not before another slice of pizza!
If you remember from my last trip to the western coast of Thailand when we went to Ton Sai, there were a few "fertility objects" around...we found some moreee! They aren't here to be rude, they are here because the Thai culture appreciates fertility...we, however, can't resist a funny photo. #sorryI'mnotsorry
So, this may not have been remotely close to the reverse culture shock I'll receive when I step off the plane at JFK and run to Five Guys for a cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, onions, jalapenos, pickles and ketchup, with a large fry and even larger coke...sorry, I got excited for a second. This wasn't the all-American culture I'll have to slowly get back into. This was just a break from reality which - contrary to popular belief - involves me working nine hour days with running and screaming children. This wasn't our usual jam band weekend, on a remote beach, where we were the only farang running amock. This time we had competition and slices of pizza and new people to interact...did I mention we had pizza?