Thursday, 22 January 2009

The Road To Trang

Waking to depart for pastures new again; departing still pissed again. There’s a bit of a pattern emerging here, I’m thinking? I thought I’d start repairing my liver when I left London, but any more of this and I’ll be pissing it out a shrivelled prune.

I almost broke my own Golden Rule Of Packing this time. The rucksack was all ready to go. Quickly scanning the floor, I decided I had everything and started out of the door. It was only as I instinctively checked behind it prior to locking up, that I realised I’d almost left my iPod. I’d decided to charge it for the journey before going out last night, and the plug was in the corner behind the door. I’d have been distraught, and it would have meant a wasted day just getting there and back from Ranong on a speedboat. Plus the expense involved. Even then it might have gone, and 9 months of travelling with no music, not to mention the invaluable Spanish course I have on it, would have killed me. I made a mental note there and then; not to not get as pissed on a night out, just to make sure I’d packed properly.

The weather was perfect; the ride uneventful. I’d spent 2 weeks around these parts, and they were well spent I have to say. But if you stay too long you’ll put down roots. As we pulled into the harbour, one of the morning boats was setting off back out. I was sat at the front, and saw a familiar face at the front of this one, too.

“Heeeeyyyyyyyyy!!!”
“Song!” We both laughed.
“Where you go…Burma?”
“No, mate…Lipeh.”
“You come back Christmas?”
“Next year, maybe.”

He pulled a disappointed face as I shrugged and smiled. As his boat picked up speed, he ran to the back and mimed a fishing rod motion at me and began reeling in. I stuck a finger in my mouth and pretended to get pulled overboard. Like I said, Song’s as mad as a box of wasps. We smiled and waved til his boat rounded the corner and disappeared from view. I was pleased to have seen him, anyway.

Embarking at Ranong pier, there were no familiar faces. So I jumped in the back of a pick-up with a German couple my age. They’d been to Phayam, and I asked if they’d been at the party. They said they didn’t really party. Oh. So I thought I’d amuse them with my method for not losing anything when leaving after a night out: pack the night before in case you’re still pissed when you wake up, and pass out fully-clothed. Ready to go upon awakening. I was met with blank expressions. You’d have thought, from the worried glance and instantaneous switch back to German, that they’d discovered they were in a taxi with an axe-murderer. I just grinned at them.

The bus departs from the station near the Kiwi Orchid guesthouse. When I jumped down from the cab I was pleased to see Claire, one of the divers from the party a few nights previously, waiting for the bus. So I’d have some company.

Claire had been in Thailand on a few occasions, and had worked as an Instructor for some years. So she gave me the lowdown on where to go, and where to avoid, as a diver in Asia. And having made this bus journey a fair few times on visa runs, she also pointed out a few interesting sights as we went. The standout one for me was the Navy gunboat at Khoa Lak. It’s on a small hill amongst trees; half a mile inland. A friend of hers had been staying at a hotel, luckily a way inland as it was high season and busy, as the tsunami hit in 2004. She’d said the boat had gone past almost level with her window (she’d been on the 3rd floor) with the sailors screaming and waving. Quite a surreal image. The boat’s been left where it came to rest, and all on board survived. They were more fortunate than most.

I said goodbye to Claire and jumped off at the next stop. She and the bus were bound for Phuket, I and another two farangs waited for a connection to Trang.

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