November 07, 2001

bus fun

I just arrived in Chiang Mai after a day in Sukothai. So far I think I like
Sukothai better.

First, there's the trip there. From Khao San road ("the world's largest bus
station", I got a very overpriced bus--450 Bht to be stuffed in a van,
driven to the northern bus terminal, and have the driver attempt to get
tickets and put all the people on the right bus. Lots of freaked out people
because the driver didn't speak english well and wasn't explaining what he
was doing. But he was, people got put on buses. I was the only foreigner on
some random semi-local air conditioned bus which stopped in Sukothai. Before
the trip, the driver put fresh flowers on the rear view mirror and over the
top of the bus. On the bus were a number of bus company employees--driver,
some other person (along for the ride?), hostess to provide a drink and
snack at the start and to collect tickets. After a while, we picked up
another driver. By 3:30 AM or so we reached the Sukothai bus terminal--which
doesn't exist in any guidebook, it's brand new. So off on a random motorbike
taxi I went, anywhere he wanted to take me--not like I had a clue where I
was, or how to find someplace open. He took me to a guest house, rang the
bell, and someone came out in a towel to give me a crappy room. But hey, I
slept there, it was OK for two nights.

The day was much nicer, I went off to the Sukothai Historical Park. I headed
out with a German guy from the guesthouse, and on the saengthaew we met up
with two more people, one American (the first I've really talked to, and the
same for her too) and one Irish guy. We rented bicycles in the park, and
went riding around in the heat (40 in the sun). It's a beautiful place, the
first seat of a Thai government a long time ago (uh, I forget when). You
really do need transport to get around, since it's the remains of a city. We
visted a bunch, sat and talked for a long time, and went back to the new
city of Sukothai for dinner and drinks before parting.

Today I took the 11AM bus here to Chiang Mai. That's not air conditioned,
but at 50 mph, who cares. We got here before 5, argued (with a bunch of
other people from the bus--there a bunch of us this time), and took off in a
Saengthew for a guesthouse. Which had no single rooms, so I went around the
city looking for a place, and ended up in a bit of a dump. Tomorrow I will
find a nicer place, they are all full today. I hope to find a mosquito net
in the market tonight, I think I will need one.

Enough rambling, time for dinner.

Posted by MBlain at November 7, 2001 12:00 AM