I finally have a few hours to myself. It is 13:50 in Bangkok and I am at my guesthouse's internet lobby waiting on the next bus, and later a ferry which leaves at 6 and which is supposed to get me to Koh Tao island tomorrow morning at 9. The world is definitely a handkerchief (el mundo es un panuelo). What with me, an Indian girl going to Koh Tao at the recommendation of a Basque guy who lives in Oman who has a friend in Bilbao, who's brother has been living in Thailand for the last five years with his Thai girlfriend, working as a dive instructor in an island. The guy's name is difficult to pronounce even for me, but has been really sweet the few tiems I have spoken to him from Cambodia and from Bangkok. He is arranging my "bungalow" on the beach which will be my home for the next five days while on the island. Also plan to do the "Advanced" padi course while I am there as Koh Tao is known for its excellent dive sites.
Got into Bangkok last night at about 8:30pm from Siem Reap, Cambodia (more on that in a bit) after a 14 hour multiple bus journey, and got myself a room at the first available guesthouse in Khao San Rd. The previous day I travelled in bus 6.5 hours from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. There is so much going on that I cant possibly write about it all, so here I will talk about my second bus journey which was how I spent practically the whole day yesterday.
Starting from the time I boarded the mini-bus from the travel agent's, to the time I arrived in Bangkok, we changed 4 buses. The bus was full of backpackers. The Cambodian buses were an experience in itself. Luggage strewn in the middle of the passageway, the tiny not so comfy seats, the Khmer countryside with its smiling faces waving "hello" .... Fellow travellers in the bus were an Israeli bunch made up of two girls and one guy all ex-army ppl taking a year off after fighting in Gaza for the last 3 years, two girls from Germany, a Swede, a Swiss, a Frenchie, an Irish guy, two Norweigian girls and three Spaniards (who to me are my paisanos or countrypeople, specially due to the complete absence of Indian travellers), and more people that I didnt get around to speaking with. Since I havent seen a single Indian backpacker, I've been feeling at home when I see the spaniards. Aren't many around this part of the world. I noticed there were a lot of Indian tourists in Malaysia. They were usually the young married couple who were on their honeymoon type thing. No single people. I get the impression that most Indians prefer travelling to places like Australia, the US, Europe, and more developed countries in general.
Back to the bus, the 45 odd year old Swede dude was alcoholic and throughout the bus journey kept buying atleast 3 beers per stop, until the point we reached the Thai border and changed to the last bus. He did things typical of drunk people; being a bit of a pain, speaking louder than usual, recounting his travels through the years etc. The good part was that he was definitely an intelligent guy who'd had a lot of interesting experiences. The German girls were sweethearts and waited diligently for me at the border checks where I had a longer inspection at one of the check points (possibly bcos of my Indian passport). I would have even gone along with them to their hostel but it was on the other side of town and I had to be on Khao San to take the bus to Koh Tao from here. The French guy was trying to get cozy and was a bit of a pain, the Israeli guy told me about his experience in Laos, Vietnam and I have promised myself to go there someday, given that it is even less developed than Cambodia. Also that he cant go to Malaysia although he would love to. Can you believe Israelis are banned from entry to Malaysia. How absurd. He is heading to Nepal and possibly to India next, and was keen to stay at an Indian family's home. I made him an offer to stay at my grandparents' and who knows, they might end up with an Israeli visitor. After spending the day exchanging travel stories and talking about our experiences, once in Bangkok, and having exchanged emails with half the bus, I was accompanied to the hostel by two guys from Galicia. We met for dinner at an Indian restaurant and this morning when I checked out, I received a note from them with their emails saying they'd gone south and to be in touch if I was ever in Galicia.
I'm off to catch some lunch a maybe a bit of shopping before I leave in three hours. A final thought: The last few days have been extremely interesting and travelling alone is turning out to be less scary than I had initially imagined!
Mi Bodeguita del Medio
While my blog is named after a restaurant in Havana I hope to someday visit, here you will find musings, rants, political incorrectness, thoughts on Indian Nationalism, strong straight-forward opinions and tid-bits.