August 09, 2003

Bangkok again ... via VIP bus, yay !

I left Chiang Mai yesterday evening around 7PM as expected. And yes ! The bus was a good one ! It was full of Thai people. At first I had a nice young looking woman sitting next to me, she looked like a bit surexcited as she kept moving all the time, I was wondering what the trip would be ! She was quickly replaced by a guy from Thai News as she took the wrong seat. Bad pick, This one was worse. Despite being half my size, he was taking twice the room and obviouslly did not care much. After all I'm a farang (foreigner), why would he care ? Add to this that he was clearing his throat and nose loudly every 10 seconds and you get the idea.

I was secretly wondering if this guy was chinese and was expecting him to spit all over the place just every minute. We were served a small lunch and drink and entertained with a Thai-dubbed version of Pirates of The Carribean.

The dubbing was simply awesome. Just imagine the background sound being cut each time there is someone talking (in Thai) and that gives you the idea of how good the dubbing industry is in Thailand. At first I was wondering if this was really the sound of the movie as there were mouths movements during blank periods and the Thai was twice as long as the original sentence.

Around 1:30AM the bus stopped in a remote place so that we could have lunch (available with the ticket). I took a look a what was on the 'menu'...and chose to get a bottle of water instead. I was not hungry enough to attempt eating those unknown pieces with half a dry egg and some kind of 'soup'. Some Thai turned quickly as well, so I was probably right. Maybe another time eh !

At around 4:30AM we were closing to Bangkok and the hostess served us some 'coffee'(was it really ? I did not even try it). The Thai News guy next to me woke up quickly and nearly jumped on it like if the hostess would disappear. The bus moved a little bit while the idiot obviously tried to synchronize his hands to seize the cup of coffee on the plate. Using his feet would have give a better result as he nearly managed to paint the bus ceiling and the hostess at the same time. I was in between but luckily had a blanket on my legs and escaped the coffee disaster. He did not even bother apologize.

At 5AM we arrive at the Northern bus station and I manage to jump into a taxi .... driven by a one-eyed guy. I feel lucky.

I asked him to go to Si Ayutthaya road (I keep english to a minimum).
- No understand. You map ?
- %&*#@, yes, look, we are here, I want to go here, next to the river.
- Don't know. (He does not even look at the map, but what can I expect, it's pitch black, and he obviouslly does not see well...)
- National Libray.
- What ?
- National Library
- Don't know.
- Wat Benjamabophit ?
- What ?
- Wat Benjamabophit ?
- Aaaah, Wat Benjamabophit ?
- YES ! On Si Ayutthaya Rd !

A few minutes later I'm back at the Tavee guesthouse. Time to have a talk. Remember my bus to Chiang Mai you sold me for B550 ?! After some talk, I'm told to wait until the manager is here (incidentally that's the one who sold me the ticket). I take a shower, go have a few hours of sleep...and let's go back to the manager.
- Bus no good ?
- No it's no good, it's the Khao San bus. B550 is not the price for this one.
- Ok, wait I give call to people
.... thousand of Thai words later....
- Bus no good ?
- No !! It was not the bus, this one is at most 250, I did not pay for this one !!!
- Ok, I will speak with the boss

How many hierarchy-layers are in this guesthouse ??!!

Later in the afternoon, when checking out I managed to get my money back after some talk again. YES ! Victory over the Thai scam ! I feel better already !

Posted by stephane at August 9, 2003 06:16 AM

Stephane, this is a great story. I was laughing so much. I know it wasn't funny, but I think it was the way you wrote it - I could really picture your whole situation. And then, what a great conclusion to talk to them about the bus ripoff. Go get em!!

Posted by: Cath on August 12, 2003 01:07 AM

Hey I managed to get my money back on this one. This really made my day.

Posted by: stephane on August 13, 2003 10:07 AM