All day on the bus ... again !
Up at 06:00 this morning and we hurry to catch a skylab to take us to the VIP bus terminal for the 07:00 departure of the International Bus back to Thailand. Arriving at a very quiet bus station we soon discover that there is no longer a 07:00 bus and that the first of the day is at 08:30 so we settle down to wait. We have not had breakfast and cannot see anywhere nearby to get anything that we fancy at this time of day. The bus comes and leaves on time and is nearly empty. We arrive at the border town of Vang Tao at about 09:30 and fifteen minutes later we are sat back on the bus in Chong Mek on the Thai side of the border with all formalities completed. Leave at 10:00 and begin the long drive to Ubon Ratchatani the nearest place of any size to the border crossing. Arrive at Ubon at 11:45 and after a quick rush to the toilet we are on a Bangkok bound bus heading for our next stop at the town of Roi Et. This bus looks quite new and we were expecting it to be comfortable but as well as having all of the seats full there were about 20 additional people standing up and little air circulating. It was hot and sticky and by the time we reached Roi Et at 15:00 we were both feeling a little ill. The fact the we hadnt eaten all day was probably contributing to thngs so we found our bus to Phon Thong and was told by the driver that we only had five minutes to eat before he was leaving. We hastily grabbed a couple of bottles of water and some cakes and crisps then back to the bus to wait for 20 minutes or so whilst the drivers '5 minutes' passed. With a packed local bus we headed off towards Phon Thong. At least with the open sides there was plenty of ventilation to make us a feel a little better. Upon arrival at Phon Thong we needed a tuk-tuk to take us the last 15km out to the village and as the bus pulled in the drivers swarmed around to get our custom. I think most of them know us by now and walked away when they saw we were the only people getting off. The ones who remained were asking for 250Bht for the usual 140Bht journey. It was obviuos that although none of them had any money they were all too lazy to take on a fare that was going to be an hours round trip and they retruned to playing games and drinking whiskey. We started to wealk towards the market where there are always tuk-tuks but were intercepted by an old boy en-route who happily took us back to the village for the usual 140Bht. We get back at 17:45 and just time for a quick shower and change before going to the village market to stock up with a few bits and pieces so that we can eat tonight. I am pleased to see that both of our bunches of bananas are still in place and that only one of the two dragonfruit has been acquired by persons unknown - well, Jais sister in law next door gets my vote ! I quickly pick the last one and get it into the fridge for later consumption. Just before we left we had bought a new gas cylinder which usually lasts us about 3 months. Upon our arrival we find that it is turned full on although the cooker is not in use and that the cylinder is nearly empty. It looks as though Jai's mum has managed to get through 3 months gas in 5 days !!!! She is hopeless at doing anything but it is quite scary when she doesnt turn the gas off !