They say, though, that the movie put the largest of the islands, Ko Phi Phi Don, on the map as a tourist getaway, a reasonably priced home to glittering beaches and unlimited partying. And that’s undoubtedly what drew two young sisters from a small Canadian village, just north of the Maine border, to travel there for a summer break from their university studies.
Noemi Belanger was 26 and her sister, Audrey, 20, when they planned the June vacation. Both sisters lived in their hometown of Pohenegamook, Quebec. Did I mention that it was small, the kind of place where people know each other, stay close? The population is about 3,000 and both girls worked for their father, Carl, in his grocery store before starting university classes. They were happy girls, friendly, residents say, involved in their community, helping out at the local library, at public beaches.