Now as my summer break is about to end, I have been busy being a tourist in Paris so I could not complete my blog about Thailand. But here I am, I am going to try and finish all my summer blogs for this summer.
Before going to Ao Nang in Krabi where I spent 2 weeks, I went to Phi Phi islands for a day. I took the morning ferry from Rassada Pier in Phuket. The ferry was approximately 90 minutes. As expected, there were a lot of tourists on the ferry. I have motion sickness and I was a bit worried but these ferries move so slowly and it put me right into sleep without even taking any medication :P. I had seen Phi Phi in the pictures and I was really excited. When I saw it in person I was really impressed. The scenery was straight out of a postcard – bright sun, long tail boats and crystal clear water. As soon as I got off the boat, I knew I had to spend the night here instead of Phuket. My friends and I walked on the beach on Loh Dalum Bay until we came across different resorts – we found “PP Princess Resort” right on the beach and it was $40 a night which was ideal.
The room was not bad and there was access to the pool. The beach had a low tide so it was better to stay by the pool which was infact lovely. Well Phi Phi island has a lot of activities but unfortunately we didn’t do any of those and just relaxed on the beach and swimming pool all day.
This island is really small – you can only walk your way through it – no cars, no bikes etc. There were many backpackers from Australia and England in particular. I loved the vibe of this island, everyone was so relaxed and even the locals were so friendly. There were plenty of cute little shops with souvenirs, food and tour options. Since there were so many Europeans on this island, every single restaurant offered the same menu – Thai and Italian. Since this was a low season and also a weekday, the beach was quieter and cleaner. We stopped by this restaurant “Ciao Bella” for dinner. It was right on the beach and it had a very laid back atmosphere.
I had heard about the fire shows on the beach every night so we headed to Slinky restaurant and ibiza hostel around 9 pm. These fire shows are really popular in Thailand and I thought it was pretty cool. They were doing different stunts and even break dancing on the fire. A huge crowd had gathered to enjoy this and it lasted almost 2 hours. I even got a temporary UV light tattoo for free which was awesome!
I had a really nice day on the island and it was actually my favorite so far. People come to this island for snorkeling, monkey beach, scuba diving etc but I did not do any of that and did all the activities in Ao Nang instead.
Next morning I relaxed by the pool a little more and enjoyed the breakfast which was included. We wanted to spend the evening ferry back to Phuket but due to some reason the last ferry was at 2 pm. I was really sad to leave the island because it was actually my favorite so far. On my way to the pier I finally found a guy selling Ice cream rolls! I had been waiting to try these and I finally got a chance. It is really fun to watch the guy make the ice cream on the cold stone and add your favorite toppings.
After that tasty ice-cream roll, it was time to head back to Phuket which was a mistake I was supposed to meet my friends and colleagues in Koh Samui which is only an hour away from Phi Phi and I did not think it through and instead went back to Phuket where rest of my luggage was. I booked a shuttle and ferry service via Phuket travels for the next day. Little did I know it was going to be the longest and wasteful day of my trip but oh well it’s all about the experience. I will tell more about it on my next blog 🙂
What’s the first thing I did after I finished my physiology exam? I napped! Sounds cliched but I really needed some sleep before getting a headstart for my weekend.
My first stop after napping was to grab lunch at container park. So basically, container park is true to its name, there are bunch of cafes and restaurants in huge containers. My favorite is Mocha Spoke for their delicious smoothies and iced coffees and also Island Fever because they always have a trendy menu. There is Shawarma King too and their food is amazing! It’s such a good break from the food options available on campus.
I did not know what to do first so I just decided that it was time to HIT THE BEACH FINALLY. As I said, I had not been to the beach in over 2 months so I could not miss the opportunity. How I missed the water – so calm and so warm. Surprisingly, the weather was not too hot either which made it even great. All FTMers were just cooling off in the sea. I literally just relaxed for few hours on the beach until it got dark and well it gets dark at 630 pm here in Grenada. I just ended my Friday evening at Bananas with some good food and good music.
Saturday was the most relaxing day I have had in months. I woke up at 7 am (usual time for classes), realizing that I had no classes and I didn’t have to study for anything. It was the best feeling and hence I went back to sleep. I stayed in bed till almost 1pm, something I had not done in forever so it felt great to be lazy. I finally got the energy to get ready and head to the beach again. I went there around 4 pm when the sun was not too bright All my friends had gone for snorkeling but I chickened out because I remember how sea sick I was the last time I went. I just laid on the warm sand and enjoyed the mesmerizing sunset with some music. I never realized how amazing it can be to just sit and not do anything. Sometimes, you just need one of those days. The great thing about the caribbean sea is that it never gets a high tide(atleast in Grenada), it’s always calm and peaceful. I think that’s why they call it the “Island time” here. Just going off topic here but the days are long and slow and so is the service at any restaurant/supermarket etc and hence the term the “Island time” was coined to describe these situations. No matter how much you really complain, it’s not going to change anything but only increase your frustration so you might as well stay calm and enjoy your time here.
Well after my introspective evening, it was time to get some dinner and my roommate and I headed to Yolo Sushi. Asian food in Grenada is very average and this place proved my point. I miss good Asian food and I guess I ll get my fix for it when I am back in New York in 2 months.
I wanted to spend my Sunday exploring the ‘Carenage’ but I did not realize that it’s closed on Sunday. I will have to go back after finals. Carenage is in the heart of St. George’s . It has beautiful houses, spice markets and restaurants. My roommate and I gathered a group of 7 to go hiking instead to the “Seven Sisters Fall”.
A little background here, as the name suggests, you can hike up to 7 waterfalls and it takes at least a day but our plan was to cover only 1 waterfall. So we called Sheldon. Sheldon is a reliable taxi driver and he literally reminds of my driver Manoj back in India. He is extremely resourceful. Also he charged us 40 EC each(~15USD) for roundtrip to the falls and also for being our guide during the hike. Usually this trip would have been at least 50 USD.
Interestingly, one can go from one part of the island to the next in 1 hour. In other words, you just need to fill the gas tank once to complete exploring the island.
As we progressed uphill, our view changed from the buzzing ports to empty roads with abandoned houses and cars. The views were breathtaking. There was just so much greenery around us which was remarkable. I have lived in big cities all my life and honestly seeing so many trees around me is kind of a big deal.
My previous blog had pictures from “Grand Etang” so this time I wanted to make sure I went to a different waterfall. Our hike was only an hour and the trail was not too bad. Honestly this was the second hike of my life. My first hike was literally 2 months ago to Neuschwenstein Castle near Munich. I never considered myself as an ‘outdoor’ person. I was concerned that I would be out of breath and I would slow others down during the hike but I was actually impressed with myself that I was able to complete it without any issues. I actually enjoyed myself. The path was really muddy though and my shoes were completely ruined and my feet were just filled with dirt but I guess that’s the trade off for hiking in a rainforest, right? I also learned that Grenada does not have any poisonous creatures which was a relief. Surprisingly, I did not encounter any bugs or even mosquitoes while hiking.
We could finally hear the falls as we got closer. So we skipped the Annandale Falls and went to the 2nd falls out of the 7. We decided to go here instead of the touristy/crowded Grand Etang. This area was secluded and we were the only group there which was nice. We relaxed at the falls for maybe an hour.
The water level was fine near the rocks but apparently closer to the falls was really deep so we did not even bother going directly under the falls.Also, the water was really clean and refreshing. I would not dare do this anywhere else in the world(especially India) but in Grenada as I said there are no poisonous creatures and there are no reptiles(except for lizards). My friends found a spot for cliff jumping. I just stayed on the side to get their pictures. I have decided that I will cliff jump after I complete my 2 years here in Grenada 🙂
We had a nice day out at the falls and shout out to Sheldon(the guy in green t-shirt in the back) for guiding us throughout the hike. I can finally say that I do enjoy outdoors as long as it’s not too hot(hah). We did not go to the other falls but we did end our hike by stopping at the Grand Etang Lake. You know the cool thing about this lake? It’s a unique crater lake and no one knows the depth because of that.
We were starving by the end of this day so Sheldon took us to a Grenadian buffet called Creole Shack in St. George’s. This was my first time trying Grenadian food and it was rather interesting. My plate had veggie rice and noodles, plantains spicy eggplant and a potato salad. Grenadians use a lot of spices and I realized these spices are similar to the Indian ones. Almost every dish has turmeric in it and so does every Indian dish. This restaurant did not have doubles but if you every come to the Caribbean, I would highly recommend it. It’s a local dish with spicy chickpeas wrapped in a roti. I would compare it to Chana Masala wrapped in a Roti(indian bread).
I had a pretty adventurous day in Grenada. I still have a lot to explore on the island but I just want to take it slow. After returning home from that long tiring day, I just spent rest of my evening catching up with all my friends in Boston and Delhi. I realized how much I miss them and I am looking forward to meet them again in December.
I really needed this weekend to recharge and be geared up for the last 2 months left in this semester. I have 2 more round of exams so I just need to come up with a new study schedule but continue using the same strategies that I have been using.
Wow. I can’t believe it’s been a week here on the island. Everyday has been so different and exciting that I feel like I have been here for a while. The highlights of this week were Grand Etang Rainforest and Snorkeling! As I said before that this place is so picturesque that this blog is going to have tons of pictures from this week.
SGU organized a free tour to Grand Etang Rainforest on 8th August (2nd day). I have been to rainforests before but never to a tropical rainforest. Usually I would never dare to swim in a waterfall but this time I did. Grand Etang is part of the Seven Sisters Fall in Grenada.We started our day early at 8 a.m. SGU tour bus had 2 students to guide us around the city. We saw different sites like Port Louis, Fort George. We also learned a little history about Grenada and its famous politician Maurice Bishop who was assassinated in 1983 and the airport is now named after him. Anyways after a little island tour we began our journey on top of various hills and finally reached Grand Etang after almost 1.5 hours. We stopped to see the Grand Etang Lake first which was gorgeous.
Also, I met some awesome people on the tour. I became really good friends with Anna, you can see her in the picture above and also Hassaan. They both had go pros so obviously I had to become best friends with the(just kidding). They are really sweet and a lot of pictures in water you will see in the blog have been taken from them.
We started making our way back through a trail. Our next stop was going to be Annandale Falls.
Finally arrived at Annandale Fall and of course we had to stop to get some refreshing coconut water! The coconut water was really warm but it was a relief in the scorching humidity.
As we descending down, I was amazed to see the sight. The falls were not too deep which was perfect for a swim. Students were also cliff jumping but I was too scared. Maybe next time I will try it.
I had a really tiring day and thankfully our ride back was shorter. I took a great nap and then went grocery shopping which was a nightmare. I will soon write a blog on the prices at IGA and Spiceland Mall. I had heard all about it but actually got to witness it now.
My orientations for school started the next day and I was busy during the day with them and then evenings were dedicated only for sunsets at the beach and chilling. This was my first week and last week of chilling before classes start tomorrow.
Grand Anse beach does not have any coral reef to offer. The water is so clear that you can see your hands and feet but occasionally you will see some tiny fishes swimming around and one day we actually found a starfish. It was so pretty and felt so weird to hold it.
Sunsets on the beach are breath-taking. If you don’t believe me then checkout these pictures
Our evenings ended at Bananas which is the typical college hangout spot for Medical School students on the island. We also had an ice-cream social where students could decide which organizations they want to join. I did not join any club because I want to focus on my studies but I will join it next semester.
My week 1 ended with snorkeling and my next blog is going to focus on that with tons of pictures (Yayy). My week 1 was amazing and I already feel like I am adjusting to the island well. I met some great people and got oriented with my school. I can’t wait for classes to begin tomorrow. I am glad I am starting this journey on a positive note.