Saturday, August 9, 2008

Headed South

I made it back to Bangkok and got a clean bill of health from the doctor so headed south again. I spent a few days on another beach that I had enjoyed before about 5 hours south of Bangkok and then caught a train to Surat Thani. I spent one night just outside of Surat Thani by the train station in the little town of Phun Phin. I kept a close eye on my bags since Surat Thani was the place where my laptop was stolen but this time there were no issues.

I got up really early for me and caught a local train headed to Sungai Kolok. I had taken a train the day before for about 5 to 6 hours but it was on an express train sitting in 2nd class. The 2nd class train had windows that were very dirty and even though I enjoyed the ride it did not impress me that much. The good thing about taking a local train is the windows open up and I felt more attached to the countryside as it rolled past. Also since it was a local the train seemed to stop about every 10K at every little village and I got to see lots of interesting places. This was really great for the first few hours. It however lost its appeal long before reaching Sungai Kolok after a long hot 11 hour train ride.

I don’t know why but I was told by people that the train was free on this day and it was the reason there were so many people on the train. I had bought a ticket and at least one person was really concerned and said I needed to ask for my money back. The ticket cost me 86 Bhat which is less than 2 Euros so I was not concerned about getting any money back. The ticket for the 5 hour trip from the day before had cost me 450 Bhat and was only about half the distance that I traveled for 86 Bhat.

I sat on a wooden bench for the 11 hours and for the first half of the trip I had it to my self with different people setting across from me but no one next to me so was pretty comfortable. The train got a little crowed just before Hat Yai but most people seemed to get off there but once they were out the train filled complete up. It was really crowed for about 2 hours until the train pulled into Yala and I was happy to see so many people getting off the train but was really surprised that so many people got back on. It seemed the train just sat there letting more and more people on even though I had no idea where they where putting all the people. The train even stopped twice after it had started to pull out of the station to let more people on. I did make it all the way to Sungai Kolok which is on the border of Malaysia.

I took the last night in Thailand to order one of favorite dishes that I have sort of learned how to say in Thai. I have spent so much time in Thailand that I have learned more Thai than anywhere else I have been. I know about 3 different dishes and how to say “how much” and understand the numbers if they speak a little bit slowly. I will miss this little bit of knowledge when leaving the country. The chicken curry that I ordered was good but it seemed to have a sort of Malaysia taste to it. This was also the case for my breakfast which I order one of the other of 3 dishes I know how to say.

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