DAY 40 Sixth time lucky…I get my Visa. After studying the best way out of this concrete sprawling mass on Google maps and printing off relevant routes I pay 300 baht/6 quid to get me on the main motor way heading north, after the 6th taxi of trying to explain – No Airport!, No Bus […]
Sixth time lucky...I get my Visa. After studying the best way out of this concrete sprawling mass on Google maps and printing off relevant routes I pay 300 baht/6 quid to get me on the main motor way heading north, after the 6th taxi of trying to explain - No Airport!, No Bus Station! I am finally at a petrol station with the thumb out. 20 mins later a lovely guy called 'Kanusit' takes me to Ratchasima... he loves the mission, he showed me a Thai version of '80 days around the world' that he was reading. At the next petrol station he runs round asking anyone and everyone to give me a lift... he succeeds and The Thumb is ushered onto a rickety juggernaut heading North. No one really speaks English away from the tourist parts however the petrol stations are plush and plentiful which is ripe for hitching.
The Thumb was out when I had a Dumb and Dumber moment of sorts, a pretty Thai woman approached on foot in a forward manner, my attention however was focused on the 3 VIP buses parked 10 yards in front of me, packed to the rafters with middle aged Thai women beckoning me aboard... all of them on each bus vying for my attention...it was a surreal sight. My only thought was that I would have to pay - not that I could charm them and have a laugh and a lift at the same time. The lovely Thai woman continues to talk to me... I cannot multitask so she was gaining little response from me.
The moment passed as I wave to the Lovely Thai woman as she drove past onto the motorway. The 3 VIP buses which took up my entire field of view, each with 50 women and 100 pair of waving hands pull away shortly after... to reveal one of the moodiest, darkest skies I have ever seen. 5 minutes later it is Pitch Black... a drop of rain the size of a golf ball landed next to my foot knocking a slush of red dust up my leg. Like someone flicked a switch a storm reached the Petrol Station, I ran for cover outside the 7/11, the rain proceeds to lash in sideways, I ran under and into the center of a tarpaulin tent... the stalls selling DVDS/CD'S and lottery tickets close by are up ended, I stashed my bags under a brick barbeque grill to help retrieve the goods off the stalls that were strewn everywhere, I then get back under the tarpaulin, the ropes get ripped from the ground and the tent the size of a Bungalow gets blown 10m on its side against the toilet block,,,i am left exposed. An old woman struggles with a young boy to retrieve her stock, her 2 big umbrella covers are blown inside out... I hold on to them for her as they both frantically chase their goods around, then someone turns the switch off, normality resumes and just like that things are peaceful again.
I sat drenched on a stone seat with a sign reading Khon Kaen next to the entrance of the 7/11... 10 mins later I am Khon Kaen bound with a bunch of business men in their private taxi. They bought me dinner where a 1 baht bet was made regarding how long it will take me to get to Luang Numtha/ Laos. I say Thursday night, AA ( he had a lot of energy) said Sunday... we will see. I get dropped off at a reasonably priced Hotel Khon Kaen around 2am and put my head down.