So here’s how my Monday went… why do I have such a hard time with Mondays? Even when I am not working?
1:30pm – Leave my new friends: elephants, people, dogs and cats behind.
4:20 pm – Flight leaves.
6:00 pm – Arrive Bangkok, taxi to Hua Lamphong train station after futilely dragging my bags around trying to take the high speed train)
7:20pm – Run around looking for something to eat since I know from previous experience that the train food will be ghastly. Train leaves on time!
7:00 am – Arrive Surit Thani. GASP! Train on time!
7:30 am – Finally the bus pulls away. Watching how locals sort out and herd tourists- priceless. I have noticed that Southern Thais are way more like us (pushy) than their ever-so-polite Northern cousins.
7:50 am – Arrive at travel agency in town. Since there’s a 10 min wait I decide to run and buy a pen since mine ran out of ink. This proved to be my undoing. I went into a shop to ask directions and they kindly gave me a pen. Then I realized – this is a cell phone outlet! I can finally buy a sim card! Only I forgot to unlock my cell phone and forgot that I had forgotten. (sigh, spotty sleep for 2 weeks can cause brain farts) So confusion reigned because of error messages until I remembered what I forgot. So I paid for it and ran back… to find I, of course, missed the bus to the ferry. f**k.
8:30 am – Finally on bus to ferry with my carefully planned schedule awry. Here I expected the Thai train system to play havoc with it; should have known I would be the weak link.
10:00 am – On ferry, plowing through the waters of the Gulf of Thailand, I’m feeling a bit frazzled. Pretty sure I have missed the boat to Koh Phangan. f**k.
12:30 pm – Arrived Koh Samui. I need to get to the other side of the island and see if the boat has gone. I just haven’t come up with plan B, unless you count swimming. The taxi is B400 and since I have become jaded and tight on money, I argue. He suggests I take a bike taxi. I question how, with my heavy bag? He says; “no problem”. Now where have I heard that before? But no lie. For B300 my hero says; “no problem”. The problem is that, indeed, my boat has sailed. f**k. So the 2 of them come up with plan B for me. Smiling Buddha Ferry on the other side of the island, I can make the 2 pm sailing. Ok then. Scooter guy shoves the big bag in front of him and I climb on board with the backpack. Understand that the difference between this and the air-con mini bus was $3.50 cdn but it was the principle, plus I hadn’t been on one so I wanted to experience it. Yah right. Try to imagine at least 350 lbs on a scooter. At least it kept him from speeding. I was sure that on some of those hills I could have run beside the bike and beat it, but I didn’t want him to lose face, cause that shit is important to Thais.
1:30 – Big Buddha ferry turns out to be the walk-on often featured in the news as “Ferry Sinks in Thailand, 400 Tourists Lost!” This on a ferry that should only hold 50 and where no one could see a life jacket. I got there just as they were unloading and there was an endless stream of 20 somethings with various degrees of melanoma. In the background was the taxi hawkers screaming continuously, looking for passengers. I looked at the small pickup that they were jamming people into and could swear there couldn’t possibly be enough room for one more, just before they got 2 more in. And some idiot was smoking in the middle of it.
2:00 pm – We all pile onto the ferry, with me being at least twice the age of everyone else. I am guessing that by my age most people know better. I’ve always been a late bloomer. I pray that I won’t be the late donnae. Thank Goddess for anti-nausea pills, I’ve been popping those suckers like candy. The sea is rough… sorry there are no adjectives that could possibly describe it.
3:30 pm – Land at Haad Rin Beach on Koh Phangan. I want to be at Than Sadet, on the other side of the island… do you see a theme here? At least I am on the same land mass as my bungalow. I am so close I can taste it. But alas I am to have more hurdles to get over before I can lay down my weary head. One being none of the taxis are willing to take me. f**k. The problem with remote is… well, it’s remote. Finally I am losing it and find myself getting terse and mildly hysterical and a bit loud. Which, if anyone knows Thais, is ridiculously futile. But with my wild hair, (thanks to an over-night train and 2 ferry rides) and spinning eyes they decided to take me to where, ironically, the Than Sadet – Koh Phangan ferry lands. You know, the one I could have caught 6 hours ago but I had a better way. I arrive at the travel agent office that handles Mai Pen Rai Bungalows and she announces that it will cost me B800. f**k. If I had gotten there by 1:00pm it would have been B200. sigh There is no other way, so I talk her into taking visa and off we go.
4:15 pm – My driver throws my big bag onto the roof. I say; “Wouldn’t it be better in the back?” He say; “No problem”.
5:00-ish – We arrive at Mai Pen Rai, I now understand why no one wanted to take me over the road from hell. Wearily I fall out of the cab in time to witness the horror on my driver’s face. I think, “Heh I don’t look that bad, do I?” only to realize the look is because the roof is strangely empty – no bag. f**k. I close my eyes for a minute and take a deep breath. Ok, so we go back. The urge to tell him to go look for it himself while I check in and drink a beer is strong but I suspect my presence will help motivate him in his search, so off we go. Tears threaten, he touches my shoulders and asks me if I am alright. Yes, I assure him, I am alright; as much for me as for him. We end up re-doing the 40 min trip back to town to no avail. He is apologizing every so often, claiming it has never happened before. He asks if I want to go to the police to file a report and I say yes, in case someone finds it and hands it in. He asks if he can give me some money and I say no but if we could stop so I can pick up some cheap tee-shirts and shorts, that would be great. During our search he had been on the phone madly calling and stopping people, asking if they’ve seen my bag. At one point someone had called saying they had a bag but as my hopes soared, they were dashed, it wasn’t my bag. f**k. We were on our way to the police when he got a call, his uncle had found my bag!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And it really was my bag!!!!!!!! As we rocketed back to my resort we were grinning like fools and telling each other how lucky we were, giddy with relief.
6-ish – I have to lug my bags through the sand since my driver was so glad to be rid of me he didn’t offer any help. All that wasted time and gas, not to mention the added wear and tear on his truck meant he lost money.
6:30 pm – I again drag my bags through the sand and up the rocks to my bungalow in the cliff and fall onto my bed. But I am too hungry to sleep, so I drag my ass all the way back to the restaurant with my dirty laundry. I sit at a table with my computer, a cold large bottle of Chang (beer, name means elephant) and a plate of spaghetti with seafood, watching as the light faded.
8:30 pm – Finally replent (ok I am sure this is a wood but I can’t prove it, sorry to everyone that cares), I stumble across the beach, up the rocks, hopeful for a shower. I am greeted by cold water. f**k. I fall into bed, 31 hours after leaving Elephant Nature Park.
If you think this post is long, you should have tried living it, not to mention writing it and trying to post it! And here I am, the night before I start my trip home.