What follows is the review, as promised, of the hostel I ended up staying at in Phuket, which won the most votes from YOU BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE.
Thank you again So Much to everyone who sent me a gift/voted on a place to stay. I’m am blown away by your generosity every time I think on it! Just, wow. Really. Wow!!
The winner, with 300 Mutherfriggin Votes, ended up being the cheapo-but-relatively-safe-looking hostel choice: iHostel Phuket. 4 USD per night and no mention of blood or prostitutes in the reviews. Yea! It’s what I would have chosen had the voting game not taken place.
I wasn’t able to go with that specific hostel in the end, but was able to find a good approximation. Baan Kamala was a pricey 14 USD/night, but it was walking distance from where the yacht was going to toss me ashore. If I had taken a taxi from the yacht to the original iHostel Phuket choice, it would have been at least 20 bucks extra anyways. Plus, I wasn’t feeling so well… more on that later.
The captain of the Candela’s son took me in a dinghy to Kamala Beach and I plodded through the muddy sand with my bags. I must have looked like the strangest castaway that beach has ever seen.
Actually, I take that back. The beach was very close to Patong. That beach has seen shit.
Anyways, it was a bit strange. I’d been living elbow-to-elbow every second for weeks with people who I’d just met but had become sort of close to… And now, I was all alone. Yet, I still felt the sway of the sea when standing on solid ground.
I pulled out my phone, which thankfully by now, had a Thai SIM card in it, to help me navigate to the hostel. Trudging through the maze of narrow streets packed with shops, I wondered if I’d be able to make it there on my own. By this time, the afternoon’s papaya salad which I’d eaten on Laem Sim beach, just to the north, was really taking its toll. I’d had cramps since shortly after eating it, which were getting progressively worse. As a bonus, my belly which normally looked like that of a pregnant lady 4 months along, was now at least 6 months pregnant with botulism. …Or with whatever the fuck parasite was breeding a militant colony within me.
I finally made it to my destination, and I would have blown right by it if not for the attendant calling out to me. He didn’t realize I had a reservation already. He was just being a Thai salesman, lucky for me.
After checking in and climbing a few flights of stairs, I thanked God for letting me lay the fuck down. I’d reserved a cheaper option without A/C, yet somehow, it was on at full-blast in the room. I had only experienced air conditioning when passing through malls in Southeast Asia, so this was a refreshing, welcomed luxury, especially in the state I was in.
I snagged a bottom bunk and threw some of my things into a generously-sized locker, which even came with a lock. Fancy!
There were 2 other lovely and interesting travelers already staying there whom I met when I arrived. I wish I’d had more time to spend with them when I wasn’t feeling so shitty! We talked about possibly going out for the evening even though I was still debating in my own mind whether that was prudent. I told myself that I at least needed to take a proper shower, because I promised myself. That would happen first.
I pulled out all the stops for that shower – soap, scrubby glove, I Even Shaved – like, with giving all the fucks about shaving, not that, “eh good enough, I won’t stab anyone with my knee hair” kind. There was shampoo — the good stuff I had brought from The West, and even… *gasp* conditioner. Yeah, I splurged by using conditioner. It had been difficult to find hair conditioner on the islands, so I had just stopped using any and was saving what I brought with me for a special occasion. I guess that special occasion was a hot shower.
It was difficult to do all the showery things I wanted to, because washing dishes in sea water for a half-dozen people, along with all the swimming had taken a serious toll on my hands. My paws were peeling and cracking and became painful after exposing them to water for more than a few minutes. They are only now — 2 weeks later, starting to get back to normal.
I scrubbed the shit out of all I could before my palms disintegrated. I had sores all over everywhere from a mixture of biting flies, mosquitoes, stings from I-Don’t-Even-Knows, and a retarded amount of ingrown hairs. I assumed things weren’t healing because I was only washing in microbe-infested sea water and it was hard to do a good job of scrubbing while partially clothed and keeping an eye out for sharks and bastard jellyfish.
After cleaning up as much as my palms let me, I went back to my sweetly air conditioned room and tried to remember “how to girl”. I still debated whether it was a good idea to go out as I put on makeup to Slut Level 6.5 and threw on a civilized skirt and blouse over my bikini.
My awesome new friends – a German of Thai decent taking a gap year, and an Australian PhD student on holiday, were keen on going out. I resolved to suck it up and go, even if I’d only have a juice. Solid food was not happening.
We took a lovely walk along the beach dodging kiddos and swinging, flying, glowing LED objects before deciding on a restaurant in the sand. I had half a pineapple juice, while the other two ate and drank things I wished I could eat and drink. As time passed, it became more difficult to keep my composure, and at one point, the waves of nausea were more than I could take. I got up to go to the bathroom, certain the time had come to birth an alien colony of parasites from my mouth.
I was taken by the waiter on a fucking sight-seeing tour to another building to use the bathroom. It was such a long trek, I almost told him “fuck it, I’ll just puke over the bridge into this river. Smells like it wouldn’t be the first time that happened.” My composed side won, however, and I made it to the toilet.
And then nothing.
Oh right, so now you want to keep it together? NOW? Damn it, guts. Damn it.
When I returned, my companions and I jetted back to the hostel, stopping at a 7-Eleven along the way for water and Gatorade, which would be my breakfast and lunch the next day. I was so thankful they were there to lead the way.
I think I passed out fully-clothed in my bunk bed when we got back. It’s a bit of a blur and the cramping was to the point where I was beyond composure. In the middle of the night, I felt, “nope, now is really, really the time,” and shot out of bed for the bathroom. As I shut the door behind me, I had a decision to make.
“I have food poisoning. Which end will it come out of? Which way should I use the toilet?! Oh God, what if it’s both?”
But then I realized a beautiful benefit to bidets and the messy Asian bathroom style of making the entire room the shower floor. I can do both at the same time! I’m covered. I can hose whatever happens down. A small ray of sunshine in this mess. Hooray!
In the end, it was just some moaning and explosive vomiting. I apologize again for the inconvenience to my hostel-mates. Somehow, even though the bathroom was down the hallway, you can hear everything from where the beds are. Thanks again for putting up with that shit so kindly.
Somehow I had gotten vomit like, just, all over the toilet bowl and bits of the seat. I panicked for a second, not wanting to cause further discomfort to my hostel-mates. Again, I remembered the bidet hose thing. I’m saved! So THAT’S what it’s for. I was able to hose down the chunks on the toilet with the hose thing and dry it off with toilet paper. Squeaky clean! PHEW!
When I returned to the bunk-bed-room I tied a just-in-case bag to the metal railing and was thankful once again for the A/C. It was like the whole room had turned into the soothing, cold tiles of a North American bathroom floor.
I spent the first half of the next day using the hostel’s fairly decent wifi to create and upload a video and blog post. It had been a long time since I’d had enough data and speed to do so, so their wifi gets a thumbs up, too, in my book, even if it went out a couple times.
So in all, Baan Kamala Hostel was not the cheapest option, had I stayed somewhere longer than 2 nights, but if you have some raging food poisoning going on, it’s a very pleasant use of your 14 dollars. Plus, Kamala itself was a cute little town. Thumbs up.
Thanks again to everyone who played. I am so grateful to each of you!!