Stepping in the Same River Twice
Trip Start Nov 15, 2010
49Trip End Ongoing
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Where I stayed
First Hotel Mae Sot
Read my review - 4/5 stars
Read my review - 4/5 stars
Trying to leave town was a Thai experience. I was supposed to be on the Tuesday 8 Am bus to Chiang Mai. I went to the bus station on Monday afternoon to buy a ticket--they told me they did not sell until day of the travel. There are two buses--6 and 8 AM.
Got to the bus station at 7:20 AM. Counter said they were sold out. When I explained I came yesterday and they wouldn't sell me a ticket, they offered to sell me a ticket for the following day. OK, thinks me, what else to do??
Approached a songthaew (a Toyota pickup with a roof and benches on each side of the six foot bed for passengers). I asked if they went to Mae Sot, guy said "Yes" in Thai, I asked "First Hotel?" Yes. There were two monks, two girls, 11 Burmese guys, and me. 16 of us. Six foot bed. Girls can't touch monks or brush up aginst them or anything. Snug.
Anyway, the truck started out towards Mae Sot, then turned north on the Mae Sariang Road before getting to town. Mae Sariang is a 6 hour motorcycle ride from Mae Sot--I know, because I have done it. I ride on for about 15 minutes, hoping he is making a circuitous route back to Mae Sot. He is not, rather, he is heading on the 6 hour trip north to Mae Sariang instead of the 8 minute trip to downtown Mae Sot from the bus station. It is raining. Finally, I press the buzzer to stop, get off, and cross the highway looking for transport back towards where I had come from.
A migrant worker truck pulls up. These things are BIG, and they generally do not serve as songthaews, instead each transporting 50 or so migrant Burmese workers to factories and farms. But the truck was pretty empty at this time as just about all the migrant workers had finished their commute. Trouble was, the songthaew driver was Thai and I speak enough Thai to communicate (usually), this driver was Burmese. Somehow, despite the fact that neither of us spoke five words in each others' language, I got back to town, dropped off exactly where I wanted to go.
Then, after getting a room for one more night. I wandered down to Canadian Dave's restaurant for the best coffee in town. It was about 9 AM. Now if any reader has ever met Dave, you know he is one grumpy bastard. I told him what happened and that I was here for another night. He basically told me I was a dumbass, that I should have gotten a one hour shuttle to Tak and then caught any one of the dozens of buses on the Bangkok - CHiang Mai route. (Of course he was right, but it was too late.) I was the only one sitting inside the restaurant, so his wife gave me the remote. Dave and Gerald (a nice guy from Quebec) were sitting at a sidewalk table. I turned it on al-Jazeera and turned the volume up to 25. Dave walked in, did not say a word, changed it to BBC, and lowered the volume to 20, then placed the remote on a distant empty table. If you don't know Dave like I do you may not recognize this as man love. Truth is, sometime I don't either. But he is my friend, has been, and will be. He's just a grumpy bastard. Period.
There are worse fates than one more night in Mae Sot, and as any Southern Boy will tell you, it's only worth doing if there is a good story in it.