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Seasquirt

The adventures of Fe & Chris

Archive for Transportation

The End is Nigh…

We’re back in Bangkok. We’ve arrived early yesterday morning after a 14 hour overnight train journey with non-functional air conditioning. Fortunately the manual air conditioning (the window) was functional, but only after the removal of a moderately-sized screw.

We’ve been shopping. Shopping in Bangkok’s malls is surprisingly pleasant compared to the UK with the one exception of signage. We got stuck in the Paragon Centre for a whole hour whist trying to find the correct exit.

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Bangkok by night

This afternoon we went around the clothes shops of Siam Square - there are many stalls, with little space, so twice Fiona tried on clothes with the aid of a oversized ’skirt’ to protect dignity, whereas I was aided by the assistant holding a sheet across a corner of the stall. We’ve got some trousers now, but not much else.

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Bangkok by day

We’ll be home in less than 24 hours. That’s it, that’s all.

Why is an elephant large grey and wrinkly?

If it was small white and round it would be an asprin.

Fiona and elephant

Fiona is so engrossed in the Thailand manual that she is oblivious to her surroundings.

We are in the former capital city of Ayutthaya. We have had a long day that started before 0500in Bangkok. Since then we have been wrestling with train timetables and bookings for our last few days of adventure. With so much to do and see we have taken to bikes and have had a very pleasant day learning to integrate ourselves with the local road system and its occupants.

Chris on a bike (nice rucsac)

There’s lots of old stuff here (I always forget about that). Temples that have lost their grandure and now show their red brick interior. We did see a restored massive gold buddha though, then nipped outside for a coconut refreshment.

An old temple

Tomorrow we head off to Khao Yai national park for a few birds, bats and beasts before heading north to Chaing Mai.

Travelling the independent way…

…is definitely much ’simpler’ - you still get that “Are we going the right way?” feeling, but at least we are a bit more in control and not at the mercy of dodgy travel agents - we successfully escaped from Ko Lanta to the mainland and then on an overnight coach (VIP by the way!) to Bangkok, followed by an early morning train up to Ayutthya, where we are currently residing. All very satisfactory as Chris might say! And so yes, we agree with you Lachlan!

Travelling the Thai way II

This is how elephants get around in Thailand:

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Travelling the Thai way

We have noticed over the course of our journeys through Thailand that what we expect to happen is generally not what actually occurs (we should have guessed this from our “Pick-up” in Bangkok). Take the following two examples (well actually our only two trips since arriving in Ko Tao):

1. What we wanted to do: Get from the island of Ko Tao to the mainland national park Khao Sok, 190km away.

How we thought we would do it: Ferry from Ko Tao to mainland, bus to Khao Sok.

What the travel agent said would happen: Ferry to mainland, ‘Taxi’ from ferry terminal to ferry company’s office, ‘Taxi’ to Khao Sok.

What actually happened: After a self arranged longtail boat to the ferry in Ko Tao, we got a ferry to another island (Ko Samui for those interested), where we were then driven across the island to another ferry to the mainland. We then got put on a bus to the ferry office (1.5 hrs away), where we had to phone the ‘Taxi’ company to let them know we had arrived and needed a lift (well, actually a helpful Thai ferry rep helped us). Waited long past our booked time for a little songtheaw (truck with a bench in the back) to pick us up and take us a couple of km to the ‘Taxi’ company office. Waited some more. A woman in charge finally arrived and tried to persuade us that to get taken to the national park, we would have to stay in a particular hotel. We refused as already had a place to stay (”Why you angry with me? It not me, it the driver!”). She told us that it would therefore only drop us at the main road. Got put on a (very cramped) minivan which, after some very scary driving, happily took us to our required place, the very lovely and highly recommended Morning Mist resort. In total our journey took 12 hours and 7 different modes of transport - quite an epic, especially when you consider the short(ish) distance travelled!

2. What we wanted to do: Get from Khao Sok to Khao Lak.

How we thought we would do it: A truck to the bus stop on the main road, a local bus to Khao Lak - scheduled at 11.30 and 12.00.

What actually happened: Our resort kindly droped us off at the bus stop at 11.15. We waited. Then we waited some more. At 12.15 a minivan arrived and made a small fortune taking us and four more bored Farang (tourists) to their required destination. No sign of any local bus at any point. Still not even sure what one looks like. Quite embarrassing actually!

Temples and beaches

After a hot and steamy day in Bangkok we are now on the  moderately relaxing island of Ko Tao where we live in a shack  by the beach and eat fine food.  Apart from the changes of location, accommodation, diet and temperature, we now also have someone else to talk to in the form of Bella, who we picked up in a bar in Bangkok.

Talking of being picked up, we enjoyed the best hotel “pick-up” from our accomodation in Bangkok where we had booked a transfer, bus and boat to Ko Tao. Our pick up involved someone coming to find us at 0530 and walking us to the bus. Not quite what we expected, but luckily it wasn’t far.

Bangkok was quite an experience. It’s more laid back than Central America - touts on the street give up after a simple “No”. We stayed in the backpacker district of Banglamphu for a night and wandered the rather amusing Kao San Road. We also got Bella fitted out with a couple of nice dresses (can’t have our travelling companions looking shabby now, can we?).

The King is very popular here, as is Buddha, so we went to the Grand Palace and visited a small green Buddha with a disproportionately large temple, all gold and sparkly.

Fiona would like me to state that I am the “King of Understatement” and that I should emphasise how impressive these buildings were. A picture speaks a thousand words, so here’s one:

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We’re ‘In Transit’

We’re in Sydney Airport. It’s very like many other airports, but has some free internet facilities if you look in obscure corners. It’s not very sunny here, but we had a nice fly over town on the way in.

Must go. Fe needs a new bikini…

Bye bye NZ

After two months and 7000 odd kilometres, our travels round New Zealand are almost at an end. Today we said a sad goodbye to our lovely Campervan (after spending yesterday evening cleaning it). Awww - it served us well, even if it wasn’t mossie proof. Here it is about to fall off a cliff:

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We now have a day or so to spend kicking around Auckland (not entirely sure there’s too much to entertain us, but I’m sure we’ll survive). Next we are going to Thailand for three weeks for more beach bumming, diving and perhaps some temple viewing… ahh how difficult our lives are.

When we return we’ll have to get jobs though, so any offers, of a legal variety only, might be appreciated. Thanks!

Our new abode

Last week we picked up our new camper van. We were slightly apprehensive since we’re going to be in it for two months, and the last one was fine, but basic to say the least (and this current one was even cheaper). We were therefore very pleasantly surprised to discover it had fridge, two hobs, a grill, electric pump tap and even fluffy towels and a duvet - luxury! We’re easily pleased nowadays! Oh, and the fold up chairs even had cushions - so posh! The table and seating area inside the van turns into the bed and so we have seating for about eight people - so if you’d like to come round for dinner - we even have a spare bed in the roof!

We can in theory stand up in the van which is also a nice change, although Chris still succeeds in banging his head at least once a day - think we might have to get him a hard hat for Christmas (if his head lasts that long!).

Needless to say we are enjoying our new found luxury accommodation and have been taking it to lots of nice places - there’s loads of free, pretty camping places if you look hard enough!

Submarines and bridges

We’re in Sydney. It rained today so we went to the Maritime museum. A replica of Cook’s Endeavour is here and a diesel-electric submarine too. The Harbour Bridge is nice, but not a patch on our bridge (above). The Opera house is a little more yellow than I thought, but nice all the same.

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