Broken Down Buses And Stoned TAT Officers
The last drink of the night was a bucket of Samsung. \"Jesus Christ\" I said to my mate as he walked back from the bar with 2 buckets, \"groups of people share these, you don\'t buy rounds of them\". The night had been on a down hill slope since 6 when we had our first Singha with our meal. Now 9 Singha\'s each later we are both smashed and are about to drink on a whole bucket of Samsung mixed with Red Bull and all sorts of other stuff each. I try and say something, already my words are slurring. We are talking to an American girl who has more than noticed that we can not string a straight sentence together.
\"Morning crazy night last night\". We are both seriously hung over but perhaps my mate slightly more than me. Today we are heading back to Bangkok. We are staying on the small resort of Ao Phai on Koh Samet, and we have had a couple very heavy nights, last night being no exception. We get our backpacks together and check out of our bungalow. As we check out the fire juggler Ken who works for the bar laughs at us about the state we were in last night. We catch a pickup truck back to the port where we wait for a boat, hung over in the Thai heat. As the boat pulls out, a guy jumps off and starts to swim to shore, me and my mate both look at each other and even though feel hungover we both laugh - you really do see some crazy stuff here.
After reaching the mainland and about an hour of finding the bus station and waiting for the bus we chuck our back packs in the hold, the lady checks our ticket and we board. I am looking forward to sitting in a comfortable seat which has air conditioning blowing from above. We have been travelling for 3 hours already today and we haven\'t even left for Bangkok yet. As we get comfortable, I put my mini disc on and prepare for the journey back to Bangkok. The journey here was something like 3 hours so I assume it will be the same back. The lady walks up the bus and asks everyone for their ticket again, did she not just check our tickets? We sit there for another 5 minutes and someone comes up the bus asking for every ones ticket again -is this a bloody joke I think to myself. The bus pulls off and we are on our way back to Bangkok
During the journey back a video of an Irish band who both me and my mate have never heard gets played. They are playing in Ireland and we both find it amusing that everyone is watching this, because if we don\'t know why they are the 50 Thai\'s can\'t either. A few hours later I look out my window and see that we seem to be getting close to Bangkok. I don\'t think we are inside Bangkok yet but it is certainly getting busy with people selling food on the street and cars on the road. The traffic is a nightmare, I watch the guy on the street walking along side of the bus. I notice that we seem to be travelling the same speed, both probably do a mile in about 15 minutes. I wonder how long it will be before we can get off in Bangkok? I wonder where we are going to end up in Bangkok? And whats more I wonder where we are going to stay tonight?
After about 3 hours of sitting in traffic, the bus hits the empty express way. An express way is a motor way that is about 100 meters in the air. They run through Bangkok and there is small fee to use it, perhaps this is why it is empty. Then all of a sudden the bus breaks down and pulls up to the hard shoulder. Uhhhhhhh I think to myself as we clamber out the bus onto the road. Just what we needed. I look over the side of the barrier, we are really high up and can see kids playing below.
Our bags are taken out the hold and we gather them together. A number of Thai\'s stand on the side of the bus where the road is and where cars are passing at 80+ miles an hour, bit dangerous I think to myself. Another car shoots past at high speed, but this one actually has to move lanes because of the Thai\'s standing in the road. What a bunch of nutters they are, why don\'t they stand on the safe side where there is no speeding traffic hammering it past. I see the bus driver walking around the people saying something. He walks over to us and asks for our ticket in broken English. I find this highly amusing as I have already been asked for this a number of times before the bus left and now I am being asked again at the top a 100 meter high express way that is just impossible to get to unless I was on the bus that just broke down. I look over the side again and see the sun starting to go down. The thought of where are we going to stay tonight, starts to run through my head.
We sit on our bags at the top of this express way for another 5 minutes wondering what is going to happen next. Then I see a bus in the distance pull over to the slow lane and start to slow down. As it gets nearer I see that it is full of people, I wonder if we will be getting on this. We have stopped for about 45 minutes and this must be the bus that is after ours coming from Ban Phe. Half hour or so later we pull off the express way and descend back to ground level where all the traffic is gathering. Not much further along we pull into a garage where we are ushered off. Our bags are taken out the hold and we realise that we are going to have to wait for another bus. I see the sun starting to go down we are both tired, hungry, need a shower and I know my mate is still suffering a killer hangover. Another bus comes along and I am so pleased with the thought of this being the final bus. This bus is empty so we both get 2 seats to each. As the sun sets I look out the window at the Bangkok traffic. We are underneath the express way and we are certainly in the city now. While the traffic is so dense, I watch people going about their lives. It is so interesting watching this as everything is different, from the street sellers to the power cables hanging high above the pavement. Because of the traffic this leg is the slowest yet, but at least we have 2 seats each and the temperature is now cool. After travelling at slower than walking pace for about 2 hours we hit our destination. It is now pitch black and we catch a cab to central Bangkok. After half an hour of walking around Siam and my mate pucking in a plant pot in then sky train station a very nice Thai gentleman helps us by pointing us in the direction of the TAT office, so we get in a Tuk Tuk and head off again.
It takes about an hour to sort out a booking in a hotel near the Choo Phray River. The TAT guys are very helpful and we even get a well needed lift. We put our bags in and head off into the Bangkok traffic once again. I am hoping this really is the last leg now, because I am tired and hungry. We head towards the Chao Phray river and see the big bridge with the ropes lit up with golden lights. It is now nearly midnight and the traffic is still thick. I look out the window at all the Thai\'s sitting in their silver Toyotas in ques of cars. The TAT guy giving us a lift is a skinny fellow and dosen\'t speak good English but is very friendly. He asks us if we want a joint. We both turn it down, and tell him we don\'t mind if he smokes. He sparks up the joint and starts to puff away, the weed filling up the stationary car before being sucked out the window in the draught when the car pulls off. We stop again, in a line of cars, the TAT guy still smoking his weed. Then my mate leans out the window and pukes in the road. A bike rushes up from behind weaving through the gap in the traffic and nearly knocks his head off while he continues to chuck up. There are about 50 Thai\'s who can see this Farang being sick out of the car window and it is highly amusing. The TAT guy panics and thinks it is his joint and starts to apologise and starts to rub his back. My mate tells him it\'s not the joint and pukes once more,the Thai\'s in their Toyota\'s watching. The TAT guy carries on rubbing his back and offers him his water. 5 minutes later we arrive and I am so relieved as we take our bags from the boot. My mate gives the stoned TAT driver a generous tip, so generous that he thinks it is Christmas. We wave good buy and thank him for the lift as he pulls off. We get our key and catch the lift to the floor where our room is laughing to our selves.
This hotel looks nice I think to myself as we walk through the corridors. We find our room number and go in chucking our bags down in the first spot we see. I lie on the bed and am so glad we have reached our final destination after 15 hours of hardcore travelling. Me and my mate laugh about the whole scenario of the TAT guy smoking a joint while he pukes out of the car window in front of 100\'s of people. All of a sudden there is a knock at the door. I open it to find it is the TAT guy back. He looks really stoned and has sweat all over his forehead, he is really excited and starts to check every corner of the room. That tip that my mate gave him as turned him into some sort of stoned maniac. He is obviously very pleased with the money and is now making sure that our room is up to scratch for us. He finds that the light doesn\'t turn on and phones reception requesting in Thai that someone come and fix it. I watch this excited lunatic as checks other points in the room. His mouth is really dry and this causing him to make really strange faces. I remember that he gave Dan his water. I am so amused at what is happening. A person knocks on the door and the stoned TAT guy rushes over to open it. It is someone to fix the light, the stoned TAT guy talks in Thai and shows the person that the light doesn\'t turn on. The person simply gets the plug and pushes it into the socket in the wall. I look at my mate as we crack up. As the person leaves the room the stoned TAT guys who seems to be in a state of stoned euphoria double checks everything once again. We say thank you to him as he thanks us and wishes us well. He leaves the room and we laugh about the last half hour of our lives. We have a quick shower before heading down to a noodle soup stall at the end of the soi laughing about our day.