Sunday, January 23, 2011

Most people have a certain way they get comfortable in order to have a restful sleep.  Some sleep on their sides, some on their backs and some on their stomachs.  They get inventive with pillows and those long, sausage shaped bullet pillows, along with their sheets and bedspreads.

I sleep primarily on my side or back and for some damn reason I have to have my leg partially sticking out from beneath my bedspread.  One of my arms is always underneath my pillow, while the other is next to my face on top of the pillow.  Any major variations of this and I can't sleep...or I have a fitful sleep that causes me to wake up punchy and grouchy.  Oh!  I didn't mention the fan.  I always have a fan blowing on me at night.  Hey, it's Thailand you know?

Enter....THE BUS.

It is truly hilarious to see people not unlike myself on a bus trying to get into that familiar comfortable mode.  You're confined to a narrow space, relatively folded up into an "L" shape unless you decide to recline your seat and piss off the guy behind you who's trying to do his crossword puzzle on the little fold-down desk on back of the seat in front of him.  It's really a very comical scenario.

I'd estimate that come sleepy-time on a bus...which varies a little depending on the people (some try sleeping the very minute they sit in their seat, while some wait until the in-flight movie is over the lights turned down and the music off), there is a grace period of oh...about fifteen to thirty minutes where people are busy trying to make themselves comfortable for that (hopefully) long sleep until their destination is reached.

This is truly entertainment time for me.  I like watching it as it unfolds.  People really get inventive, wrapping their feet around the foot rest in front of them, using their purses and backpacks as pillows, propping their heads against the buses window...the lucky ones of course are the ones who somehow got away with not having a passenger next to them.  Suddenly that narrow space widens, and new opportunities are presented.

Then comes sleep.

I can afford to watch during that grace period because I know by now, my favored position on a bus.  I use the bus blanket as a pillow opting instead to semi-freeze to death with the ceiling vent blowing near me at -90 degrees Celsius.  I roll it up into a sausage shape and tuck it right in that void between the bus seat and my neck.  Then I turn on either side a bit, recline the seat a little bit (until the point I hear the muffled profanities behind me) turn my head to and fro a little, nuzzling into my makeshift pillow, and finally stretching my legs out and around the foot rest until I find a comfortable spot. 

Then, as the destination is reached, you enter another entertainment period as you watch people wake up and look around them, with that dazed and confused sticking out in all directions or flat on one side...wiping the drool from their chins, blouses and shirts, rubbing their eyes.

The bus attendant comes around and offers us little plastic packets of facial wipes...a very simple gesture from a company that knows of the terrible after effects of sleeping on a bus.  Your skin has somehow magically acquired this glossy, sweaty sheen although the temperature in the damn bus is sub-zero.  You feel like a greasy mess.  Your hair is no longer soft and per-fumy-shampoo's now a matted, greasy mess.  Those facial wipes are a godsend.  They are moist, somehow very cool to the touch and smell like a refreshing citrus grove.  Glasses come off and everyone is thankfully wiping away the greasy bus grime of bus sleep.

Some folks just dab their faces with their facial wipes.  Some also use them on their hands.  Then there are those, like me who utilize these relatively small facial wipes to take a sponge bath.  Yep...we wipe our face, get behind and in the ears, the neck, hands, arms, reach up under our shirts and go for the old pits, a real thorough citrus bathing.  Hey!  Don't knock it!  It feels good!  Afterwards my pristine little facial wipe is a dingy brown and in tatters.

I'm back from Bangkok and it all seems as if it were a dream.

Twelve hour trip to Bangkok, arriving at Morchit Bus Station around 6:30 a.m., breakfast at Dunkin' Donuts, taxi ride to the U.S. Embassy, got my new passport in oh....about five minutes as figured, hailed another taxi and returned to Morchit to book my bus ticket back home.  You can't get a bus leaving in the morning or early afternoon for some reason,  so ya have to wait until the earliest bus back to Hat Yai which leaves at 17:50 p.m.  Damn long time to wait in a bus station.  I know every damn nook and cranny of Morchit Bus Station now, after what?  Four times being there in the last month?

Lunch at KFC.  A spicy chicken burger, large fries and a Pepsi (I love Pepsi...Coke tends to leave a fine, icky film on my teeth) while alternating reading the newspaper and watching the gorgeous Asian women walking about in skin-tight pants, short skirts and all manner of ultra-high, spiked "fuck me" heels.

Grabbed a newspaper at one of the many kiosks located in Morchit, always The Nation, as they don't carry the Bangkok Post at all...none of the stores do...most likely a political thing having something to do with the yellow versus red shirts or PAD versus UDD.  Most likely the Post has a tendency to sometimes lean in one direction or the other and piss off somebody.

The Nation sucks for news, unless it's Thai political...not much in the way of International news.  But, I do love their puzzle page.  A nice, big Sodoku puzzle, a word find with a secret hidden word, a couple anagrams, and their crossword puzzle.  It's kind of a cryptic one, so I typically skip it as I can never figure those out.  Their comic section is severely lacking too.  What really surprised me was happening onto the subscription page and seeing the ridiculous fee they charge, when compared to the Bangkok Post, there really isn't a comparison, as the Bangkok Post is a much more comprehensive newspaper, if slightly opinionated at times.

The highlight of my boring layover?  Snicker's bars!

I'm really not that much of a chocolate nut but whoever the hell invented the Snicker's bar was just a chocolate genius!  My favorite thing is to freeze them.  Heaven.

Dinner was at the food court.  I must say, Thai food looks excellent on a plate.  The Thai's know just how to present their gastronomical delights, and one of my favorites is Laab Moo.  I found some and ordered it, only to sit down and dig into it...very colorful with a delightful aroma, sitting on a fluffy bed of rice...and find it practically inedible due to the outrageous spiciness.  Way too hot for my taste.  I managed to eat a little more than half of it, opting to place tiny spoonfuls of the Laab Moo into a whooping spoonful of rice to try and water it down a bit.

Thai food is NOT my favorite food at order, my favorite foods are as follows:

1.  Mexican Food (real Mexican food...not Tex-Mex)
2.  American junk food (like hotdogs, greasy hamburgers and various fast foods)
3.  Indian food (Chicken Masala, Chapati, Nan, etc.)
4.  Chinese food (specifically Cantonese)
5.  German sausages (Bratwurst bbq is my all-time favorite...with a large dollop of brown mustard)
6.  Canadian Pom Frites

To be honest, Thai food is so far down my list I'm not even going to go there.  I'll stop my list at Canadian Pom Frites or Canadian fries topped with various juicy bacon bits (Canadian back bacon of course), white cheese curd, fried onions and green peppers and all slathered in a delightful, creamy brown gravy...All washed down with a heady Moosehead brew of course.

Thai food just isn't a choice of mine.  I've never felt a hunger pang and said to myself, "Hummmm...I think I'd like to go out and get some Thai food."  Nope, just never crossed my mind.

But, when in Rome...

So my biggest gripe about the food...if I have to eat it...(and it is dirt cheap here...) is that Thai's seem to cook up lovely concoctions then ruin the meal by drenching their food in ultra-hot Thai peppers.  Unbelievably hot in most cases.  I picked the food court since I wanted to save a little money.  Buying American junk food like McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut and the like isn't cheap by any means, and most everything you buy at those places are adapted to the Thai palate and come spicy.  Believe me, I've tried to get just plain old KFC chicken and ended up confusing the hell out of the counter girl serving me.

I did end up grabbing a large fries, spicy chicken sandwich and a fish sandwich to go, at KFC, just before my bus left for Hat Yai.  They give you a "meal" on the bus, which is nothing more really than a muffin or some sugary buttered bread and a packaged "glass" of water.  So having a chicken sandwich is really heaven when those hunger pangs hit at three in the morning rolling somewhere through east Osh-kosh Thailand.

The bus makes one "BIG" stop at a major Petrol station-cum-restaurant-cum-store.  You have approximately twenty minutes to hit the bathroom, freshen up a bit and then grab something from the store, the restaurant or both...if you're quick about it.  It's sort of a tradition of sorts here in Asia for a traveler to pick up some packaged goodies to eat for the people back home.  I don't have a girlfriend really, at the time, or family, so I picked up some goodies for my three office mates, Amm, Lux and Michael.  I'm sure they will be surprised...then there's that good feeling you get of giving.

So, I have a new passport now and a letter to the Thai Immigration Office asking them nicely to please transfer my visa into the new passport.  But, the letter is in English...they outta get a real kick outta that!

Till next time!


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