Thursday, May 5, 2011

Day 26 - In transit

Today is a transit day for me.  I'm currently sitting in the Chiang Mai Arcade Bus Terminal, which I'm disappointed to report is basically outside.  Meaning I'm currently dripping sweat all over my laptop because there isn't any sort of temperature control. I'm on my way to Indonesia.  I left Pai at 9am this morning and will arrive in Bali at 11:30am tomorrow. That's just over 24 hours in transit - lucky me! I caught the local bus from Pai to here, which was actually quite pleasant, the bus wasn't full so I could stretch out a little and I slept most of the way.  If the bus was full however, it would have been a different story entirely.  There was no aircon, the floor was made of wood, and the windows were extremely difficult to open and close.  I like to think I have relatively long legs, but I am definitely no daddy long legs, and even my knees were excruciatingly close to the seat in front of me.  Hence why I sprawled out and my dangled my feet into the aisle, to many stares from the Thai's around me.

Let me break it down for you.  I took the 9am bus from Pai, arrived at Chiang Mai at 1pm. I then booked a bus to Bangkok that leaves here at 4.30pm.  That bus should take about 10 or so hours, so I will get to Bangkok around 3am.  From the Bangkok long distance bus terminal I'll hop in a taxi to BKK airport, and board a flight for Bali at 6.15am.  Then finally I will arrive in Bali at 11:30am. Shudder. Bright side; I don't have to (or rather, am stubbornly refusing to) pay for accommodation tonight, and by this time tomorrow I'll be within walking distance of both a swimming pool and a beach, something I haven't had since I left the Perhentian Islands, 19 days ago.  I am also immensely looking forward to the 5 star resort I'll be staying in.  Doesn't sound in line with the first leg of my trip does it? That's because I'm venturing to Bali to visit my family for Easter, so 4 nights of pure luxury.  Then I will come crashing back to earth when I'll be once more joining the backpacker trail, with 12 days flying solo in Bali.  Yep, I've left Tom behind in Thailand. I'm sure he'll survive without me for three weeks, even if it won't be quite as fun :P

I am a little apprehensive about my impending solo travel.  The few times I've travelled alone in the past have not provided me with warm fuzzy memories, rather a few tragic tales instead.  (Example: losing my big toenail, in Paris, at the top of the Eiffel Tower, and receiving only horrified and disgusted stares rather than actual help). On the flip side, I am looking forward to having my own space back for a little while.  Coming from living by myself in Sydney for a year has not exactly well prepared me to share my space with at least one other person all the time.  I've never really been a great sharer anyway, which I'm sure my sister will attest to.  I figure I'll just be starting to get a little lonely and then it will be time to return to Thailand and meet up with Tom again. Who, despite all the ups and downs that travel provides, has been an amazing travel buddy so far :)

Last night, being my final night in Pai, and my last night in Thailand for a while (tonight doesn't count because I'll be stuck on a bus!), we all decided to get dressed up, and go out for dinner and dancing.  Tom lent out his entire wardrobe, and all the boys got dressed up in collared shirts, and even bow ties! Tom made the comment that it felt like we were going to a school dance, it kind of did.

Our night started at Country Pai restaurant, whose menu was like a book, and had everything imaginable listed, from 13 potato dishes and 18 'spicy salads' to western 'delights'and of course every Thai dish under the sun.  We all needed some liquid courage, so our entrees were SsamSong whisky and cokes.  For dessert we moved to a bar offering buy-one-get-one-free cocktails, where we waited out the evening rain, and much more courage was gained.  From here on in it gets a little hazy.

We had grand plans to end up at a 'Rock and Roll Disco' we'd heard about via flyers on the street, however, upon arrival at such "disco" it was clear why they invited BYO.   Needless to say, we didn't stay, and with a group of 15 or so, we were bringing the party with us wherever we ended up. Finally we settled on a Reggae Bar on the outskirts of town.  It was a charming little place, but clearly not used to such clientele.  This was especially evident when the band became a little flustered after their fourth song (which we had all joined in on with bongo drums), and over to the iTunes DJ it was.  We danced the night away to a strange mixture of reggae and cheesy pop songs.  There was an MJ track thrown in, when everyone pulled out their break dancing skills. It was a great night had by all, Tom and I know how to start a party!  Even if I am paying for it in hangover and speech impediment today.

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