So here I am, back in Bangkok. What is this...the 4th or 5th time I have been here in the past 5 months? Well, however many times, I am getting pretty used to it. It actually feels a little like being home.
I crossed the border from Malaysia into Thailand at 6:00am, I did it so early because I didn't have a Lonely Planet on Thailand (it's on its way home, hopefully, with my suits from Vietnam), and I didn't know what time the trains left for Bangkok.
The border crossing was a breeze. Took a rickshaw to the train station and bought my ticket to Bangkok. The guy said they only had 3rd class, and the train didn't leave until 11:30am. So there I was sitting at the train station for hours. About a half hour before the train left I met an Israeli girl who informed me I was crazy to take THIS train to Bangkok. I guess it's a local train that stops everywhere. I went and asked the guy how long it was going to take me to get to Bangkok...22 HOURS! I'm not talking a train with air conditioning or sleeper cars...this is a hot, smelly, cramped local train...for 22 Hours!
So I changed my ticket to get off at Hat Yai with the Israeli girl with the hope I could get an express, sleeper train from there.
Four hours later, in Hat Yai, I am informed that all trains are sold out. I am tired...and I am lazy...I ask a taxi driver to take me to the airport and I buy a $58USD plane ticket to Bangkok. 3 hours later I land!
When I hop in the taxi I tell him where I want to go. He says no problem, throws my pack in the back and we're off. He tells me 500baht to Khao San. I tell him that's a rip-off, but I'm too beat to argue. He doesn't seem to know where my guesthouse is, even though he said he did when we left. He's calling around, asking if anybody has heard of it. "You have a book?" he asks. "No" I say. But can I have a piece of paper and a pen? He hands me one and I draw him a map of where I want to go. He looks at the map then back at me then the map, then back at me…he repeats this a few times...then laughs "OK, 400 baht" he says. I smile. We start to talk about the weather, our home lives, where we're from...blah blah blah. Just by writing down a few street names and landmarks, I have shown him that I know a little about his city. I have just gone from being some sucker to being his new friend. I feel pretty good about myself. Even though 400baht is still a little much,
I get to my guesthouse and the auntie and niece who run it want to know all about where I've been and where I'm going next...just like the last few times. See what I mean about feeling like I'm back home?
Now I'm waiting to get my visa for Burma...if that all comes through I'll be there a couple weeks and then back to Hawaii on June 2nd...then depending on things I'll probably come home.
More Pictures Up (Just click links): Australia Malaysia
My Newest Map of the World. Visited Countries Map
Tot: 1.827s; Tpl: 0.047s; cc: 16; qc: 76; dbt: 0.042s; 1; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.5mb