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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Bus Ride to Bangkok

You haven't really traveled until you have ridden in the top of a 1980's turquoise green, smelling like old people and farts, bus.   The very back seat in the very back row - even better. To say the very least the ride was quite bumpy.  Imagine riding down the road in a giant tin can being tossed around constantly like clothes during the spin cycle.  Loud groans and grinding noises from the belly of the bus didn't put anyone at ease.

I can't even really begin to describe the smell on this ride.  Urine, sweat, sweaty urine - you name it.  It was so unfresh - air, stale from years of stressed out travelers hanging on for dear life in this monstrosity.  It reminded me of the movie the Darjeeling Limited.  Cory, Tara and I sat in the very back and laughed (what the bus didn't jiggle the rest out of) our asses off.

We were lumbering down the highway at a snail's pace, when Cory pointed out to me all the busses traveling by that were nicer than ours.  He was pissed!  He mentioned that this was part of God's plan - some divine comedy to use to amuse himself whilst ignoring the plite of his people.  "But", he rationales, "We are good people - something good is going to come out of this ride."  And then he went on and on about the rain and no wipers.  And how hot it was.  And how absolutely five-star it was.  He actually shouted out at one point, "Does thing have hydraulics on it?"  I don't think the other passengers were amused.  I am sure no one quite got the trip they were expecting.

For whatever reason, people seemed to fall right asleep.  Of course, I didn't have a fancy reclining seat (next time, I will ask for the upgrade).  But I DID have a broken and disgusting cup holder that didn't even work at my seat.  Jealous?  Tara quickly adapted to the stench of the ride by putting her jacket over her nose and mouth - Cory pulled his shirt up, and I sat here typing away, just getting used to the smell.  I mean, I probably had about 15 hours ahead of me on this thing.  Down the road this behemoth jerked and lurched from side to side.  It was nerve shattering.

We all fell into some greatly disturbed slumber.  No one position even remotely comfortable for five minutes.  None of our seats reclined (not just mine), and we were missing parts of the "reclining" portion - it was painful at times.  At around 1:30 in the morning, we made a stop and the grumbling really began.  Cory - nonstop in his relentless complaints about the bus could not stop talking about the horrors of the ride.  He had to keep listing off what was wrong with everything.  It was hilarious, both because it was true and because there was nothing we could do about it - we were captive for the duration.  Even sharing some beer didn't really help.

Somewhere between complaining and arriving in Bangkok - we found some sleep.  Early morning in Bangkok is quite fascinating.  The city seems less hectic, but still busy.  Traffic is amazing - traveling at what seems like break neck pace - cars and scooters alike.  Could be though that I was rolling around in the air at the same level as a semi driver, looking down at all the cars buzzing by much faster than we were.  We arrived at out destination around 6:00 a.m. (thank goodness it didn't take 15 hours).  And were quickly herded into Taxi's to get to our next stop - the minivan to Cha Am (the beach).  It was a fast process that still causes my head to reel, but we are here in Cha Am now, just recovering from the ride.

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