Vodka. It’s everywhere in Ko Phi Phi.
And I’m not referring to the alcoholic drink (great joke, Allison!).
Jennifer and I looked at Hostelworld.com reviews before going to Ko Phi Phi. On Blanco Beach Bar’s reviews, we kept seeing people refer to “Vodka.” An English male wrote, “Vodka is an absolute legend.” Another American female tourist liked her stay at the hostel and added, “Vodka’s pretty adorable as well.” A group of English boys even said, “Vodka the dog was the best thing about this place.”
There was a lot of build up to what this “Vodka” was to be. Vodka was special. Vodka was a great mascot and absolutely deserves all the attention that she (she’s a girl!) got. But something about her was was slightly…boring. She walked aimlessly from Blanco’s bar to the edge of the water. She stared off into the distance. Backpackers raged until 3:00am and she could be found next to the bar snoring. Was she cute? Very. One night after too much dancing, I laid in the sand next to her and petted her as she slept. Jennifer and I were walking with Lance, our outrageous Kiwi/Aussie friend (claim to fame: blurry in every photo because he won’t stop moving), through “town” (one pedestrian street through a maze of tattoo parlors, bucket stands, and restaurants) and we saw Vodka lounging in unsuspecting places. “Vodka seems to be very far from home lately,” Lance observed.
Cute, yes. But exciting? She wasn’t. That’s why the title of this post is misleading. Because it’s not really about about Vodka per se.
Blanco Beach Bar was next door to Stones Bar, where Jennifer and I stayed. I started seeing Vodka everywhere. And then I realized she was in two places and once. And then I remembered that I’m not so dumb. There was another Vodka! And not just a Vodka lookalike, but Vodka’s son, Paolo (it’s unclear who the father was. In fact, he wasn’t even in the picture).
Unlike Vodka, Paolo wears a leash. Curiously, no one ever watches him. He wears the leash but roams wherever he pleases. In the mornings, Paolo can usually be seen cuddling with hungover, usually female, backpackers.
He is not unlike Vodka in that often he sits. And stares. But his glances are more calculated. More scheming.
He wants to know where everyone is going and what they’re doing. On the beach, he inserts himself in unlikely places. First, he figures out where he can be of most obstruction.
He might even join the lads in a casual game of pick-up.
But soon, he’ll be over it. “Such a lame game,” he’ll think.
After engaging (or not) in a game of soccer/football, Paolo often decides he’s done with the sun. At least for a moment. Taking refuge in the shade, he’ll sit by a chair and wait for admirers to pass and give their attention. Most of them will make the same mistake I did and call him Vodka.
They’ll stop petting him, but he’ll pout until they continue.
But quickly, he’ll realize that Ko Phi Phi is burning up! Even sitting in the shade makes you drip sweat like you’re in a sauna. He’s due for a dip. And perfect timing – the tide is already starting to come up.
Soon he’ll grow tired of the condom-infested, alcohol poisoned water. He’ll come back for more sunbathing.
This is a day in the life of Paolo. He’s free to go wherever he pleases. The island is his. Not even a leash can hold him back. But he’s right where he wants to be. On the beach, in the sun, with us.
Top Photo: Paolo observing a passerby.