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I Discovered Thailand By Bus Part 3



By Vincent


At the end of part 2, we’ve decided to go to Phuket with the girls…

We sent the girls off early, to make sure their respective places of employment were informed that they’d be away for a couple of days. They’d be joining us later for lunch. After a quick breakfast at a small restaurant across from the hotel, we went round exploring options for getting to Phuket, and finally settled on the lot of us getting a minibus there and back. It wasn’t a bad deal, as we’d have the whole minibus to ourselves, and the cost was only slightly more expensive than the tour bus would have been. Arrangements were made for the minibus to pick us up early the next day at the hotel, we paid them in advance and they gave us a receipt.

When we got back, Ah Bang (our resident tuk-tuk driver) was lying in wait. Since we did have the rest of the day free, he suggested we take a drive down to Songkhla, which was fine by all of us. So when the girls got back, we all jumped in and away we went.

Songkhla was a disappointment. We stopped along the road leading to the beach for lunch, and there was nothing else but seafood. It wasn’t bad, but we considered it expensive compared to Hatyai. Fortunately, we did get a discount after our Thai friend had a chat with the owner. At least the beers were cold.

We took a walk down to the beach, which was another disappointment. The little mermaid statue looked quite forlorn sitting on that rock, and the beach was quite empty, save for a couple of ponies for hire. The girls wanted a ride, so we bargained for half the price for half the time. No such luck, we still ended up paying for the full hour instead of the half hour we asked for, as the operator didn’t show up for an hour. Ah, well. At least the girls were happy.

In the meantime, we retreated further up the beach where they had some beach chairs and some umbrellas. By the time the girls got back, we were quite comfortable, and had a steady supply of beer from the nearby drinks stall. They settled in with us, and we were all trying to practice the few words we’d learnt with them, with lots of laughs all round. My Malay friend’s girlfriend was still implying that he had something to do with a buffalo by her actions, so I was curious. Nodding in her direction, I asked him, ‘Kenapa?’ (Why?) To which he replied, with a big grin, ‘Bawah diri, bila habis tak turun. Mandi sudah habis pun tak turun, lagi sekali’. (It came up, and didn’t go down after I was finished. It was still up after my shower, so…). ‘Ubat?’ (Medicine?) I asked. ‘Ubat.’ He answered, then laughed. His girlfriend caught that and came over to pull his ear.

The Indian guy’s story was also amusing. After dinner the previous night, we’d all gone back to our rooms. He was already in bed after the second shower, eyes half closed, and his girlfriend snuggled up next to him. Next thing he knows, she’s shaking his shoulder, and says ‘Now.’ He opens his eyes, and is thinking, eh, we’ve just finished not half an hour ago, and while we’re not hermits, that’s a bit of a hurry. So he just shakes his head and says, ‘Later.’ She becomes quite insistent, ‘Now! Now!’ So he sits up…..

To find her with her arms tightly folded around herself, going through the motions of shivering. Oh. ‘Cold?’ And he goes through the shivering action. She nods and says, ‘Now.’

If I remember correctly, most of the rooms had the airconditioner mounted above the door, and the stream of air was directed towards the center of the room, where the bed was. Most of the adjustment knobs had long ago fallen off, making the adjustment an ‘ON’ or ‘OFF’ decision. So you could wake up in a sauna in the middle of the night. At least she’d come awake too…

We’re all in the lobby early the next morning, bags packed and checked out. The minibus is expected in the next half hour, so we’re sitting around chatting. I look over to my Malay friend, he looked as though he’d been up the whole night. He was.

He said, ‘Saya makan ubat, dia nampak.’ (I took some medicine, she saw me). When asked, he indicated that he had a headache. Well, she happened to have a headache too, so she took some. He didn’t get any sleep after that.

The minibus finally shows up. Nice. Fully blacked-out windows, enough mounted spotlights for a night safari, and a complete bar (except for a fridge). It was a pleasant trip, because unlike the bus, you could stretch out where you wanted, and there was available female at arm’s reach. There were many stops to get beer, and we’d take the opportunity to use the facilities available, more so because of the girls. I have yet to come across a toilet that is not clean.

The only thing I still remember of that journey was a tall rock formation, like a big pillar (Similar to Phi Phi island). We saw it in the distance as we approached it, then the road skirted it and I saw what appeared to be a temple of sorts built halfway up the formation, and then it slowly receded in the distance.

We finally cross the bridge and are in Phuket.

We stop in town for a short while, and to stretch our legs. There wasn’t a lot to see, so we get back on and make our way to Patong Beach. It was the final stretch that got to all of us. The minibus had to crawl up the hill in first gear, and the steep final slope into Patong with the view of the sea was absolutely exhilarating.

We found a place halfway along (and directly opposite) the beach called ‘Ocean Bungalows’ where we finally decided to stay.

Stickman's thoughts:

Good stuff!