Tuesday, October 10, 2006

monsoon with chicken

So there we were: it's 10am, the sun in shining, it's 120 degrees, and we have no idea where the hell we are.

The bus driver abruptly kicked us off the bus and drove off, with the gorgeous children waving out the window. We stood for a moment on the curb to get our bearings, and realized we were indeed fucked. Time to find the bus station. We figured we were somewhere in southern/central Thailand, and we needed to be on the southwestern coast. We had arranged to meet some friends from the states at a bar on an island in 24 hours, and had no way of reaching them.

Our second realization was that we were not on the tourist track - none of the signs were in English, there were no "travel agents" or "taxis". We would walk patriotically up to shop owners with stupid grins and the Lonely Planet outstretched, only to be greeted and offered a purse or a rambutan, but no found no translation or even feigned interpretation. We were on our own. We tried for 3 hours to find the bus station to no avail. Yes, it was listed in the Lonely Planet, No, we could not find it. Yes, we think that is rather odd, too.

We were hot, tired, pissed; keep repeating those and that would about sum it up.

We were finally able to negotiate a ride to the coast on a mini-bus. The ride was 3 hours long (not bad) and cost quite a bit (pretty bad). Problem was, the bus didn't leave till it was full, and full was hours away. The "mini-bus" was an old VW van, and had seats for 8. Apparently 13 could fit if you really worked at it. And a chicken. And off we went.

The driver was a madman, swerving around buffalo, dogs, cars, and people. Driving well over 60 around blind corners, using his horn continuously to alert folks we were barreling towards them. And then a monsoon struck, and we were pummelled with water and wind and well, if the van is a rockin'....no one's getting the hell off.

So I did the only reasonable thing left to do, which was again, go to sleep. It was either that, or hyperventilate onto the chicken.

We somehow made it to the coast safe and sound. Now all we had to do was find a place to sleep and we were golden. Except all the guesthouses were full. That had never happened to us before on our entire trip. We probably could have taken a bus to the next town, but we were so tired, and so worn, and so terrified of where public transport might lead that we just couldn't bring ourselves to do it.

One of the guesthouse owners took pity on us and charged us $2 to sleep in her foyer. You know, the kind with dirty tile floors and 24 hour flourescent lights and lots of bugs buzzing around the light because there are no doors. Weird things happen in Thai foyers at 3am. Things we shall not speak of. But eventually morning was broken.


Now all we needed to do was find a boat.

I forgot to mention the dessert course earlier. Hope you left some room.

18 comments:

scribbit said...

Are these all your own pictures? They're wonderful, you're quite an artist.

Momish said...

These pictures are amazing. Looking at them while reading about your adventures almost takes you there. Almost. I know I will never experience anything like that in my life, so I appreciate you sharing it so beautifully!

Anonymous said...

Krabi? Hat Rei Lei? Where are you?

Jenny said...

Swerving around buffalo and hyperventilating onto chickens.

You need to write a book. Seriously.

acumamakiki said...

I loved that last photo, amazing. This story has me hyperventilating and I didn't even live it!

Anonymous said...

I think you bring the word 'fucked' to a new level, when it concerns travel!

I love it.

I thought I was 'fucked' when told by a friend to 'crash here'...here being a bed in a squat in which the 'usual' inhabitants had not been seen lately.

Riiiight...slept good that night.

Scary becomes more fun when it is with friends though, doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

That last photo is amazing! So many beautiful places in the world. How wonderful that you are experiencing many of them. Thanks for sharing with us.

Mrs. Chicky said...

I am so enjoying this recap of your trip to Thailand! I'm getting all wrapped into it and I keep things saying out loud like "No! Don't get on the superfine bus!".

J Fife said...

Bring on dessert! The monsoon chicken was delightful.

Lucia said...

Wow, I can relate to this, having just taken a cramped crazy bus in Cameroon. Now you should be in the sweet, sweet spot, on the coast in Thailand. Enjoyed the read.

Lisa Goldstein/Kelly Kelly said...

Sigh. I love travel. I am really enjoying reading/seeing photos of your adventures.

Lisa

C said...

Man - this is some wild fun. Reminds me of romancing the stone with Michael Douglas.

QT said...

Nice work, Ms. Jen - great pics, I love them all but the monkey is perfect. Thanks for sharing.

mrs. incredible - aka Tabb said...

I'm too tired/sick to come up with a good comment. Just know that I look forward to reading these. Thank you for putting them out here for all of us to gobble up. There's always room for more.

sunshine scribe said...

Stunning photos Jen. What an experience. I look forward to dessert. I always have room for dessert!

metro mama said...

Wow, you've had adventures. Wonderful pics.

Hulai said...

im soo loving your stories! I wish my life was soo exciting!

Nancy said...

Your travel posts are fascinating to me. I may not always comment, but I always read. You have had some amazing experiences.