Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Travel diary

Well I am in Ayutthaya although I haven't seen much of the ancient city yet.
Yesterday was a long travel day and today not too different. At 10am Viki, Kristin and I boarded a water taxi to take us to a small pier where we got into a taxi (more a pick up truck with bench seats and a cover) that took us to the main pier on koh Pangnag where we said our goodbyes and then I left on the boat to the mainland and the girls went to Koh Tao.
On the mainland i boarded an overnight train to Bangkok. The train was supposed to take 12 hours, but we were delayed and it took 17 instead. I would not have minded the extra sleeping time but I had to get to the Chinese embassy before 11:30 to apply for my visa. The train pulled into the station a few minutes before 11 and I raced to drop off my big backpack at the baggage station, then to change some more money, then to a motorcycle taxi. The taxi driver said it would take 20 mins, I told him to hurry. And hurry he did. He raced through the streets, between cars, trucks, and other bikes. When we took the highway I had to close my eyes we were speeding so fast I felt gravity pulling on my skin... but perhaps that was just the wind. I tried not to think of all my exposed skin that would be taken from me by the pavement if it were to make contact. Instead I trusted, but made sure I had my eyes open when we were weaving between trucks so that I could tuck my legs in to keep them from grazing the burning exhaust pipes that we came so ever close to. We both survived and I was so touched by his understanding of my need to rush that I gave him an extra 50baht...well i also had no time for change as I arrived to the embassy at 11:25am.
The big rush was over, I had made it. I got my ticket (number 590) and took a seat. I talked to the travellers beside me to see how long they had been waiting. The couple beside me had number 433 and the embassy was currently calling number 333. They said they had been there an hour and expected it to be at least another hour before they were called so hours before I would be. They told me to go and get something to eat or walk around. I went to the official at the door and asked if i should go with my number and if I would have an hour. He said yes...maybe he didn't understand me. I came back in an hour and everything was locked up and lights turned out. I can't imagine how they got everyone out of there so fast, the place had been packed! just fabulous! I could have cried, I very nearly did. I called Viki and she sympathised, if I didn't have her to call I would have cried then and there and that would have totally frightened the security officials. I had worked so hard and given up time with her so that I would be able to get my visa for China without paying the extra cost of a rush visa. Being as tight for cash as I am now, I needed to get my visa in today. So that really sucked.
I went back to the train station, got my bag and boarded a train for Ayutthaya and that is where I am now.
I will probably go back on friday and pay the cost of a same day rush visa.
Now I am at an Internet cafe that is full of young boys playing video games, even dance dance revolution as a video game! I don't get the attraction. Books are soo much more exciting! ... as is tv, not going to lie.

I have stories from the islands with Viki and Kristin but I don't know when I will get a moment to tell them.

I am very much looking forward to India. I have been nervous about this part of my trip. South East Asia is like an extended home for me, and Australia isn't exactly difficult to travel. India and Tibet have been my main destinations, the real traveling will begin so soon. It's funny to think that the other side of the world can arise no more fear, stress, or anxiety in me than a trip to Ottawa. I love how comfortable I am here, how easily I move through these countries and even when it isn't easy, it just washes over me. South East Asia and I are tight. What will India hold? I will love it I am sure, but I don't expect it to be as easy going as where I have been.
This experience is truly the best education.

Tomorrow I will update on my Wat touring. Perhaps I will be able to upload pictures.

These video games are giving me a headache. I must jet.



Anonymous said...

Ohhh Linden! It sounds like a nightmare; glad to see you documented it for your future travel writing! Have you changed to date you go to India? Waiting to hear an address for Bangkok.
Love Mom...swimming, swimming, keep on swimming...

Anonymous said...

thank you for updating, i know it is tough to do being so busy but we all appreciate following your journey!! love you

Mike Payne said...

Free Tibet! (we're certain you would have already if it was up to you)

Anonymous said...

Lind- On our way to Florida, Sunday. You dhoulf be in Delhi.Please call soon. I will have email in a couple of days.