Sunday, December 31, 2006

My Amazing Race (The Backpack Tour)

DAY 1 & 2

I just got back from the wrong side of the Chao Phraya River. I took the wrong ferry to the other side of the river and it was the last one! I had to take the cab to come back to Baan Sabai Guest House, Banglamphu. FYI, I am in Bangkok. I am doing my virgin trip. Heard so much about Thailand and at last! I managed to do it. It is my second day in Thailand but it has been like The Amazing Race for me.

It all started on late night bus traveling to Hat Yai on last Saturday from Pudu Station. It was about 11.55pm when we left. It scheduled to leave at 11.30pm but as usual everything in Malaysia is delayed. Anyway, the trip was quite cozy. I slept on bus and this was good for me. We arrived at R&R next to the border. The bus driver collected our passport to be processed and I had a very early breakfast at 6am. At the R&R, they had their signboard in Thai and played some Thai folk song. I felt the Thai border was very near. At the border, we had to go through the boring immigration process and it took us about an hour to clear. This was because there were so many people going through to Thailand from this entry point. I guess the school holiday contributed to this. After immigration, it took about an hour or so to reach Hat Yai. It was 8.30am (local time) in the morning. Nothing had open yet. There were so many tuktuk and motorist there but I refused to take them. Having backpacked, it was easy for me to travel around. Asked for the train station and I walked there. It was at least 10 min walk. After getting my ticket to Bangkok at 5.30pm the same day, I took the tuktuk to send me to the market where I was to catch a bus to Songkhala. The tuktuk man told it was easier to go by a minivan. I agreed and taken the minivan. As I got into the minivan, I realised that there was only one seat available i.e. in between two Thai young boys. One was quite cute and I was happy with the arrangement. But along the way, the driver keep on collecting more passengers and we were basically so pack that even the sardines in the can had more space!

Arriving Songkhala, I walked heading for the Samila beach. This was about 10pm. It was so empty. I decided to walk the beach the whole way and back, just for the heck of it. It took me about an hour and a half to do that. Coming back, I sat under the shade to rest. I then realised that a middle aged man was going up and down from where I was resting. He did look like local but damn sure he cruising. He smiled and I smiled, and we made friend while he was playing with himself. I just let him be. We could not have a conversation obviously, but we just sat there and tried to communicate. Moment later, his friend came and took an instant liking on me. He warmed up quite quickly I might add. He wanted to bring me to his place for a fuck (using hand language). I had to decline as I had to rush back to the Hat Yai to catch the train and I wanted so much to do lunch by the beach before I go off, which I did alone. But at least I know that where I went on the beach was apparently cruisy even in the day time. Rushing back to Songkhala town was a problem because I took the motorist and he sent me to god-know-where. I just had to walk and walk and walk till I found a bus that was going to Hat Yai. I was so relieved I got one.

Reaching Hat Yai, I decided to check out a gay outlet, Buddy Menclub. I took a motorist and off we went to the other side of the town. Unfortunately, it was closed. I spoke to a cute Thai boy working there and asked if he knew if anyone could do a massage. He told me that he could do it as the place does offer such service. I was happy and followed him up the parlor. On the way up he told me that the usual rate was 600Baht but because he had to open the 'parlor' he had to charge me 1000Baht. I just agreed because I was too tired to change my mind. After my shower he gave me the worst massage I ever had. However, this was in nude! Then, he threw himself on me and I decided to just follow the flow. We had a quickie.

As I was coming out from my shower after the massage and quickie, he told me that the management knew that I was having sex with him and the management demanded a total of 1,600Baht for the whole ordeal. I knew just had to pay but I managed to bargain for 1,500Baht. Damn! I have never paid for sex and this is gonna be a lesson for me.

After the expensive lesson, I decided to cool myself down by going around went round Hat Yai and walked my heart out. Managed to buy some food stuff and an accessory for my mobile phone. I got to the train station around 5pm and was excited again about the train trip. I asked the information counter for the right platform and sat happily waiting for the train. Every time a train came to that platform, I had to check with the station officer if it was my train as the announcement was made in Thai. The officer kept on saying that it was the next train but so many trains came and went from that platform. I waited and waited until it was about 6.20pm I was getting panic, thinking that I might have missed the train. The platform vendors were packing their trolleys and some had gone off the platform. That was definitely not a good sign! I asked another station officer and he calmly told me that the train was delayed and he will inform me if the train was coming. At about 6.35pm, came the train. The officer I spoke last help me to board the train and introduced me to the cabin steward. Phew! The train was comfortable. They have room service for the meals. They hand out the menu as you get in the coach and they delivered the food to your seat. The seats are convertible to bunkers. The stewards changed the seats to bunker later in the evening about around 9pm. The bunker is so roomy. I slept most of the trip night trip.

I woke up early in the morning. I got the glimpse of sunrise. The view was beautiful. Padi fields looked golden in the morning sun. As I woke up and freshened up, the steward converted back the bunker to seats. I ordered my breakfast and started my day 2 in Thailand reading Zadie Smith's latest book with beautiful scenery on my window. The train arrived at Bangkok at 11am. I came out of the station and took a taxi straight to Banglamphu to checked in the Baai Saban Guest House. After lunch at the guest house, I went to Wat Poh to see the leaning Buddha. I tried the legitimate monk trained massage there and it was so damn good!

After Wat Poh, I went to the Grand Palace but it was already closed by the time I got there. I decided to check out the National Museum instead. It was closed too because they are closed on Monday and Tuesday. I bumped into a local at the entrance of the Museum and he told me to check out a gem factory which was open for public. He stopped a tuktuk and instructed the tuktuk guy to bring me to the factory. I have no idea where it was but trusted the tuktuk man. It was about 5.00pm and the traffic jam was really bad. We arrived at the factory's showroom at 6.30pm. After the factory, I told the tuktuk man to take me to Discovery Center near Siam Center. He asked me if I be able to spare 10mins in a silk shop where the shop would give him a patrol coupon for his tuktuk and I agreed to this. But the jam was so so bad that we were not moving for about half an hour. He decided to scrape the idea and sent me straight to Discovery Center instead.

At around Siam Center, I had dinner and took the sky train to Ari Station. I was heading to my final destination in my itinerary for the day i.e. Chakran sauna. As I arrived at the station, I realised that I do not have the address with me. I decided to depend on my memory of a map drawn by my friend. I was sure that he mentioned Soi 27. I walked and walked and walked looking for this lane. It was already dark and I was getting restless. I did not find the lane and I had to go back to the station and started all over again. Based on the map in my memory I went looking for some kind of signboard. At 8pm, after looking for it for an hour on foot, I gave up. As I was walking back to the station, I saw an Internet cafe. I went in and did an Utopia search on Chakran and voila! the sauna was not far away.

Chakran was a beautiful place, well decorated and all the spaces were well thought of. You somehow could spent a whole day there chilling out. My first encounter there was in the Heart to Heart Room. I was walking into a maze and a guy was following behind me. He immediately hug me from behind and started kissing me from behind. I turned and faced him. Cute, tall and Chinese looking. Apparently he was a Singaporean air steward. He took my hand and led me into one of the many rooms. We had a quickie and boy, it was a quickie! He came so damn fast. Emmmph ......

The other encounter for the nite was a threesome with a Korean (they all mistaken me for a Thai!) and a Thai boy. By we were done, it was 10pm. Time flew when you have fun. I rushed out back to the station. I did not know what the public transport is like in Bangkok on Sunday. I got the sky train and went to the last station at Saphan Taksin, where I was supposed to take the ferry ride to Phra Arthit. There were passengers from the train running towards the jetty and I ran too. Without thinking I jumped into the ferry thinking that that was the right ferry to my stop. However, the ferry only went across the the river. As the ferry approached the other side of the bank, the lights of the jetty were switched off one by one. I knew then that it was the last ferry ride across the river. I asked people around there and all they did was to direct me to the nearest taxi.

So, here I am, thank god for I managed to return to my guest house after the little adventure I had today.

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