Travel Notes from Surat Thani, Thailand
I left Koh Phangan with a sad, sad goodbye. I was in tears. Oh, dang! I wasn't trying too much to remember everything so that when i get to the city, i will still have enough memories with me. There are no words to describe how beautiful the beaches are in Thailand. I lied down on the beach north of Haadrin and found a spot where bartenders where fixing their streamers and bucket signs. It was depressing for me, because after more than a week of beach it's time for me to go back to the city. I've arranged for a taxi to the ferry port of Koh Phangan, ferry going back to Surrathani, bus to the train station and finally, a long sleeper train to Bangkok. I'm excited to go to Bangkok but i'm depressed that I'm leaving South of Thailand. I'm just so stoked to finally ride a train. You know, we have MRT'S in Manila, but I've never ridden a long sleeper train. What's even better is it's a sleeper train with amazing views of the mountains. That is one of the things i'm looking forward to be doing in every trip i have.
There are so many more islands i still want to visit like Koh Samui, Koh Tao and Phi Phi Don and Lei but due to budget constraints i needed to go back to Bangkok already. I left Phangan with just enough dollars to last me for a week in Bangkok, i guess it's time for me to move again. It's sad knowing, again, i will be asked by the new friends I've met at the bar where i hang out for a nightcap, to stay for a few more days where they will have a private party. Believe me, i wanted to stay but i am not yet ready to be stuck in the islands with no money, maybe next time i will bring enough dollars, or maybe i will find some work.
I guess, later on you will realize... everything happens for a reason.
I rode the taxi van going to the ferry port. From there, i needed to show my ferry ticket to Surrathani and train ticket onwards Bangkok. The minute i got to the desk, i said "Surrathani", just as the same time a beautiful lady next to me said, 'Surrathani'. It was funny, like a scene from a movie. I do this shit all the time for my work in television, but it's different when it's happening to you in real life. I guess there's something here. But i was still a little nauseous from all the winding roads.
I got to the ferry, i was alone and sad. Bought a go-to meal: Pepsi Max, Thai instant noodles, and then a pack of ciggies. I was able to sleep, a few minutes after my meal. Thank goodness. The next thing i knew i got up for a smoke, and in less than ten minutes, it was announced that we're docking. It's faster leaving Phangan than going there. I got out of the ferry and rode the bus going to Surrathani. I saw the girl again, she was seated in front of the same bus i was riding. She's going to the train station also, i guess. The trunk was full of oversize backpacks so i carried my duffel inside. It's really a backpacker's route as all foreigners were there. I'm the only brown skinned dude there. They must have been curious. Who is this guy? I wasn't feeling comfortable, like what i said about Thai buses. It was so packed, worse is that my cellphone that i borrowed from my mom is dying on me already and my iPod needs some long time charging. I'm left with nothing to do but sleep. They closed the lights and all i can see outside were a handful of local Thais in their houses chatting. Thai version of malls, hawkers stall and of course Thai girls waving at the tourist bus. This is the city.
We were dropped off at a food hawker stall a few walks away from the train station. Lesson learned: In Thailand, they don't follow the schedules. Expect your ride to get delayed over and over again till it annoys you. I walked around to look for a convenience store. There was a 7-11 nearby. I bought a a huge bottled water, chocolates, gums, chips so i can eat something in the train. It's suppose to be a long ride. I was already expecting the worst. Lesson learned again: You don't have to buy so many stuff, you can buy them in the morning. The train somehow stops at different places where local Thai ladies sell delicacies like sweet bread, potatoes, dried fish, etc.
And then i saw her...
The same beauty i had a chance encounter at the ferry port and a slight gaze at the bus. Later on, i will find out her name is Loan. I came up to her to ask, if she can recommend any hostel in Bangkok (yeah right) and then she answered, "I don't know! Snob right? But it didn't bother me. She asked if i have a lonely planet book. I said i have a travel guide book, but it wasn't a big help as it skips most of the important facts. She eventually gave me a clearer idea of where to go when i get to Bangkok using my guide book. But none of that matters to me at that time. I was just looking at how gorgeous her face is and how she drinks her shake so classy. I ordered my Thai fried rice for take out.
Her name is Loan. She's French-Vietnamese. Yes, another French girl that would break my heart. She's on her way to Bangkok to do some test shots for a TV commercial she's doing for Johnson's and Johnson's baby powder. That's specific! I could remember everything, and i can never forget the moment how i just met the most beautiful woman on earth.
She's reserved and calm. She's practicing yoga in Koh Phangan. She didn't go to the full moon party as she wanted a good place to relax, with not too much loud music, and not a lot of drunk people. She stayed on the other side of the island. She drinks red wine a lot, she quit smoking a few years ago, and she's from Bordeux. That's the only thing i know about her hometown. If i have more information, that would be nice. We met another Frenchie who's carrying with him his surfboard. He's asking how to get to Malaysia from Thailand. As i have been to Malaysia before Thailand, i told him a few tips on how to cross the border.
Anyway, it was almost 11PM, and only a few minutes before our departure. I walked with her to the train station. I found out her bunk is right next to mine. Again, what are the odds that we'll be sleeping next to each other> While waiting for our train, we talked and talked about life, career, our views of Thailand. I was just fuckin' mesmerized. It didn't even bother me that our departure got delayed for close to two hours, passing by where different trains that smell pee. I could still remember how she was stroking her dark brown hair. I dress pretty sharp in Manila, and when i'm in Thailand, i dress like a hobo. I lost my sandals in Haad Rin so i bought the first pair of slippers i saw at the market. We then met up with a Spanish lady. A pretty classy lady who is a good friend of Loan.
When our train finally arrived, I accompanied her. The guard from the train station went up to us. He asked where Loan is from and she said she's from France. He also asked where i am from, i said Philippines. And then he got his radio and talked to someone in Thai. He was smiling. We were just smiling as well just to be friendly. The guard said to Loan she's really beautiful. I just shook my head. I already noticed how everyone was looking at us. I assume they were wondering what's this Thai boy doing with a beautiful French girl. I'm not Thai, but we're together!!! =)
We got to the sleeper train. I carried her trolley which was pretty heavy. We then started looking for our beds. Our beds were actually situated next to each other. Going to the upper bed was hard. A lot of people were already sleeping.
We said goodnight to each other. We slept a few minutes after. Honestly, i was expecting the most uncomfortable trip of my life. I was wrong. I don't know if its the lack of sleep or i was just so in love that i found the sleeper train pretty comfortable. I would love to get the lower bed next time though. There was little space in between beds across each other. There was a switch so you can turn on the lights. It would be nice if there was also a window on the upper bed. It's a little claustrophobic but the air conditioning was superb. I even got my jacket to cover my upper body as it was getting cold already.
I woke up at around 9AM. Washed my face and brushed my teeth. I carried with me my backpack while i left my duffel just where it was. Nothing to steal in my duffel anyway, just soiled clothes and a couple of brochures. When i returned, the Thai man was already fixing my bed. He's turning our sleeper beds into actual seats. I was suppose to sleep for a few more hours. The Thai lady across me offered me a seat, and i sat. I was just smiling. The rest of the trip, i was sitting waiting for Loan to wake up and then smoking in the small space in between two trains. I was smoking with a Thai old man who was pretty friendly. He offered me a seat which i wouldn't take anyway because it was too close to the open door. I might fall anytime, you see.
But i could still remember the the sound of the train. It was unforgettable. The experience was just great! I would love to ride a train again, maybe from Bangkok to Chiang Mai.
Back to her...
And then, Loan woke up with such grace. She was seated with someone so i couldn't grab a seat next to her. I was just looking at her. She started taking some herbal medicine, eating a local snack, listening to her iPod, and eventually smiling at me. I actually fell asleep looking at her. I know by heart she knew i was looking at her in a different way. The next thing i knew, i woke up with a stiff neck but a few kilometers away from Bangkok .
It was close to 1PM when we arrived at the train station in Bangkok after more than twelve hours of train ride. I'm in the city. It's hot! A lot of people were there; people waiting for trains to arrive, people falling in line to buy tickets. We went outside together. She took her jacket off. No words. Silence.
We shared a taxi going to the city. When we arrived, we were dropped off nearby as the taxi couldn't enter Khao San. There was a massive gathering going on. Later, i found out the sister of the King died so there was a procession going on. Halfway while walking, she said she would ride a motorbike instead and she's carrying her trolley. How could she possibly do that? Anyway, she asked for a lower price. She got the price she wanted and rode the motorbike like a pro.
She said goodbye and left. I wanted to give her a hug to thank her for accompanying me even for a short time. And that i found an angel in her and how nice she was at me and i could lobby in all my romantic poems and sweet nothings.
But i guess, it wouldn't be the last time we would see each other. Indeed, there are signs everywhere!
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