17.06.2014 30 °C
And I got kicked out of mine yesterday..
But to start at the beginning.
I finally made it to Grand Palace! And since it was our last day under the same roof, I was happy to spend it with David, a young man from Columbia I met on the second night upstairs and I really like as he -though being tired- is always surrounded by an aura of cheerfulness
I met him at the Marine Department speedboat station and felt a bit ashamed. Those who know me better will confirm that I'm usually late... Well this hasn't changed since I left home :S But he was sitting there, just smiling like he always does.
We took the next boat up the river and the long way to the entrance. To those who might get there one day: the stories about touts telling you the palace was closed, the monks would be praying inside, you cannot go in there dressed as you are etc are true. I had to grin, when they managed to keep David's attention, firmly gripped him by the wrist and dragged him away.
We finally found the entrance, got in without problems and I'm still relieved that it's off season. The place was crowded, but I don't even want to think about how packed it must be in the main season.
I was a bit disappointed of the emerald buddha (which isn't made of emerald, but jade; when it was found, jade wasn't known in this area and since it is made out of green stone, they called it "emerald"). After seeing the huge buddha statues in Wat Pho, he seemed even more tiny. I think, these temples are most impressive, when you see them for the first time (like I did in Wat Pho), but the effect wears off quickly with the following ones.
We seperated afterwards and I felt like going back to the hostel and chill a bit. Went to a shopping mall at Silom station instead. Without needing anything and knowing that I would be punished for every useless gram purchased (for being extraweight in my pack), this turned out to be a waste of time.
Had dinner with David later in the restaurant just across the street from the hostel. And what am I supposed to say: it was delicious! I really enjoy the thai food, especially for being rich in taste but still light. Had a green curry with prawns. The sauce was spicy, but still bareable for my sensitive tounge, with lemongras and mint in it.
And then it was time to say goodbye to David who had to catch his train to Chiang Mai. I thought I would be through with goodbyes after leaving home, but this might be something I can learn to take more easily during the trip...
I decided to watch the Germany vs Portugal match on the World Cup upstairs on the rooftop, didn't feel like going out to watch it somewhere else. Like so often I was up there all alone and began to miss my home and my friends... But tried to make the best out of it by staying in touch via Facebook. Was very happy to see Pan (my Chinese friend I met the other day) answering my comments, too
Nina kept her promise and joined me later. The commentators were as passionate as if they were commenting on a chess duell so we almost missed the goals, since we were chatting happily as ever.
After a short photosession, I got to bed at 3 in the morning (I think I never made it to bed much earlier since I've been here) and got up late, when I had to check out. Bad idea.
I didn't take the time to pack properly, so the backpack felt quite unbalanced later. And I didn't take the time to prepare my onwardtrip to Khao Yai nationalpark, which was even worse.
I wanted to take a minibus from the Victory Monument station, but when I arrived there, I couldn't find anyone to offer such a tour. Would have been easy to go to Pattaya or Chaing Mai, but Khao Yai seemed to be unworthy... Imagine you have almost 14 kilos on your back and 4 kilos hanging on your front, 30 degrees and humid air, sweat running down your face in streams. I was so desperate that I asked at the tourist information. She wrote the destination down in Thai for me and sent me to the next street. I showed the paper to the tourvendors, but they directed me further to the right, to the other side of the street. When I showed the paper there, people were laughing at me, sending me even further to the right, under the highway. I was annoyed and my back hurt, but I was still sure that it was worth the effort , I might be the idiot who just didn't understand and moved on. Same thing there. Laughing, pointing to the right. The plaza around the Monument forms a circle and they virtually send me around a full course -.- After getting back to where I had started, I was so frustrated that I gave up the idea of going by minibus. The bus terminal was only three stations away by skytrain, so I decided to go for a more reliable solution instead (I would pick the train the next time...).
I left the station and found a map. Looked like the bus terminal would be within walking distance, but I seem to lack the ability to estimate this correctly in Thailand. I walked for about an hour and thought my backpack would crush me every second.
But I made it. I think my body is going to hate me for that one tomorrow and I should get used to taking taxis around here though I never do at home. At least things worked out the way I wanted to at the bus terminal and 15 minutes later I seat in a usual public transport bus with many locals and noone like me.
My eyes were open until we left the station - sleeping on transports is something that I never could during the last 30 years. I was soaken wet from sweating and woke up about an hour later because the aircon made me shiver. Nothing but my raincape to wrap around me, but that helped a little bit.
I started to feel uneasy, as I had no idea how long the trip would take (I estimated, 2-3 hours, it was 4 in the end), and had made no reservation for a place to stay. Worst idea ever and I'll never do that again if I can avoid it. All I knew is that I would end up in a town called Pak Chong with no idea how to get to the park from there. It was five p.m. when I left Bangkok and it's pitch dark here at seven. Made me feel even more uncertain as I hate to arrive in places I don't know in dark evening hours.
At half past eight the driver told me it was Pak Chong and I was supposed to get off. He left the bus and talked to a woman at what seemed to be some kind of tourist information. I had no clue what they were talking about, but obviously I played a major role in it. She barely spoke english and just could manage to tell me that a taxi to the place I had found in my guidebook meanwhile would cost 300 Baht. But there was no taxi anyway and she sent me down the street to ask for a mototaxi in front of the 7 11. I already knew, where this would end (I could see the shop and there were no motorbikes or scooters) - nowhere -and for the first time I was deeply disappointed that people just try to get rid of you by sending you away to anywhere.
I kept a grip on myself, tried to ask people if there was a taxistand or hotel around but noone would understand me. Even one of my most useful items (a tiny "nonphrase"book with images to tap on) didn't help that much but came in handy later.
Finally stumbled into a supermarket, where a young thai girl greeted me politely. She spoke no english, too, but I showed her a piece of paper with the telephonenumber of the place I planned to stay and she phoned them for me. I talked to the receptionist myself and he told me they were full for the next five days. That felt like a slap in the face - with a chair - but I had to accept that this was my own fault.
The girls must have noticed that I was desperate and did their best to comfort me. It was overwhelming. They told me (via google translator ), there was a hotel around, took off my backpack, placed me on a chair, gave me water to drink and even refused payement for it (cut yourself a slice, Norwegian Airways!). They asked me to wait for a moment, then one of them went to fetch her scooter and drove me to the hotel. It was such a nice gesture and I didn't know how to thank them for it because they virtually saved me!
The hotel is definetly below European standards, but I have a place to stay for tonight, a comfy double bed (just chose to use my own towels and sheet) and for 700 baht wasn't that expensive.
With those words I finish for today and hope for a better day tomorrow.