22.06.2014 26 °C
Getting from Pak Chong to Nang Rong wasn't that eventful as I thought it would be. The resort offered me a free transport to the Pak Chong bus terminal (I couldn't shake off the impression that they were relieved I left - can't remember any misbehaviour though), I bought a ticket to Khorat and sat on the bus half an hour later. At the Khorat bus terminal I was chased aroubd a little until I got to the right bus, but that happened, because the Thai didn't know the words for the busnumbers.
Another half an hour later I sat on the correct bus to Nang Rong. And it was already sensable that this would lead into something far different from the big city life. It started already before we left. I was lucky to get one of the last empty seats, but noone wanted to take the empty seat next to me. That felt horrible... things got worse, when a monk got on the bus and there were no other empty seats except the one on my side. And I realised straight away that women sitting next to monks was obviously a no-go. The ticket-collector solved the awkward situation by chasing a young man up from his seat and made him sit next to me... mouning the guy obeyed. I sank into my seat and would have liked to crawl underneath it. More and more people got on the bus until the whole gangway way crowded. I thought they would just take a short ride out of Khorat, but most of them spent the next two hours standing in the gangway of a bus with fans instead of air con and loose shock absorbers.
Concerning monks I ran into the next faux pas, when two of them, a young and an older one entered the bus on midtrack. The seat next to me was empty meanwhile (obviously nobody else wanted it), and trying to be polite, I asked them if they wanted the two seats. The young one looked at me with shocked disbelief... I had completely forgotten that I was not supposed to talk to monks Felt even more awkward, but the ticket collector arranged them elsewhere and I sank into my seat again, feeling ashamed.
3 hours after departing in Khorat I arrived in Nang Rong, glad that I made it that far. I had made a reservation the day before at a place called "Honey Inn", run by a retired Thai english teacher. I read different things about it before and can confirm actually all of them. I think it depends what kind of preferences you have if you like the place or not. First of all: they welcomed me in very warm way! And the family-homelike atmosphere wasn't just on arrival but all the time through. But (!): if you have high expectations considering the room itself, this is not the place to pick. The toilet is western but instead of a flush, there's a waterbucket next to it. And after spotting cockroaches for the first time in my life (my goodness they are huge!) in the kitchenarea, I was far away from eating anything - here and for the rest of the night. Never the less I had an awesome time here and even decided to stay another day (since watching the soccer game Germany vs Ghana until 4 in the morning, going to the ruins at 10 and then taking a 6 hours bus to Bangkok would have been a bit too much for a day). And I have to say, that I could cope with the first impressuons quite well and had a pleasant stay.
I met Florian from Böblingen in the afternoon, he stayed at the Honey Inn, too (which is quite funny, since Nang Rong is far from being touristic anyway and especially in the rainy season the place seemed deserted). We had a chat with Sean, an American, who is married to one off the staff members and has a cute 1.5 year-old boy named Lanta, who was chasing after a ball around the front area. His parents met four years ago on Koh Lanta, one of Thailand's beautiful catalogue-like islands. And so they named their son Lanta. A real sunshine, always doing nonsense, especially when he had the audience's attention.
In the evening, Florian and I went out to get dinner somewhere and ended up in a place that served Thai barbecue. Had some difficulties with reakising how it was supposed to be done in the beginning, but with a little help from the waitress, we did quite well I think. It was pretty much fun and delicious, too. And best of all: it was completely local, nothing made up for tourists.
At the inn I was offered a driver for the next day to get me to the ruin. It was 600 Baht (= 15 Euro) for a whole day! My own driver, who would pick me up on his motorbike, taking me to the ruins, waiting outside until I was finished, taking me to the next ruin, waiting for me again, and all together for 15 Euro... of course I accepted. The other option would have been to rent a motorbike myself for half of the price, risking physical damage on the mainroad (never driven a motorbike before) or being caught by the police for not being allowed to drive in Thailand (must have been some kind of fate that they did a driver's licence control on the main road today)- or both. And that was not an option.
Meeting Florian afterva short nap at two o'clock downstairs in the kitchenarea was nice, watching the match together, too. Far better than watching the game alone a hostel rooftop.
I got up on time this morning, my driver was on time aswell and with a shiny pink helmet on, he took me to the ruins. I think I won't become a temple pilgrim around Asia. It was alright, but most of all, because people around here are obvioisly delighted to see western travellers around, bringing out the few english or even german words they know,
After I had finished the ruins, the driver took me around the area on what felt like hidden tracks. In this part of Thailand, most of the everyday life is happening around the main road. When you look beyond that, you see shiny green rice fields, banana plantages, straw huts, chickens running around on the road and ochses with huge horns. A different world
My day out lasted for 5 hours, then I was bet. Waved my driver good bye (who couldn't say more than bye bye in English I suppose, but we got along quite well without talking), and sank to my bed for a nap.
Went out for a stroll around the local market with Florian later, had yet again some very delicious local dinner and fruits freshly from the market. He is moving up North tomorrow, where he's volunteering for spring construction project. I've decided to head towards Chiang Mai, taking a bus to Bangkok first, then getting on the overnight train (which will end up in 24 hours without sleeping in bed without wheels under it).
Nang Rong is definetly (and will probably and hopefully never become) not a tourist hot spot. I don't regret having stayed here for two days, just the opposite. It was absolutely worth taking a look at how life is beyond the big cities. A bit shabby, different from what I am used to, but welcoming and nice. Though I think I won't miss the dogs remembering their wolf genes in the middle of the night or the neighbour's rooster screatchung at half past four in the morning
By the way: with the best internetconnection so far I managed to upload some pictures, visible in the galary. It's just the pictures from the poket camera (the whole uploadprocess is quite effortful), will see if I can get some from the big one in the next days. And I will link them with the blog entries when I find the time for it.