Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Wallenpone 2: Bangkok April 3

I have a post titled 'Wallenpone'. I talk about how I almost missed the train to Chiang Mai and all I had to get me there was this one magical word which I repeated again and again until I got on my train with only seconds to spare. Well now I know that Wallenpone is the name of Bangkok's Central Train station. But I seem to have a curse when it comes to this place. Here's what happened.

It's 6pm Sunday night and here I am, sitting on the train that leaves Bangkok Station (Wallenpone)in 20 minutes. I have booked the ticket through my travel agent in Bangkok. I have no worries. I am content. Then a woman sits down across from me. She smiles. I smile back. She shows me her ticket and smiles. I show her my ticket and smile back. Then I read her ticket. It says seat 30. I look at my ticket. IT says seat 30. I wonder how she and I could have the same seat. Then I look at the date. My ticket is not for tonight. My ticket is for Wednesday. Then I put it all together. My travel agent booked using the March calendar instead of April's. I have to get off the train RIGHT NOW.

I leap off and race to the ticket refund area. I find a Tourist information person who sees my panic and comes to my aid. She lets me know that there are no seats left on that train. She sends me upstairs where I book a ticket on an all night bus. Then I race downstairs to get a refund on my train ticket. I try to phone my travel agent but there is only voicemail. The bus leaves at 7pm. I pay 800 baht and get my refund of 435baht for most of the train ticket. I get help to phone the hotel I am booked to in Phuket to change the arrival day. Some day I will tell you how I was able to accomplish so much in such a short time and still make it to Phuket the next day.

But for now, let me just say that the good luck from Buddha was with me that night. Thank you to all the dear souls who helped me get on that bus that night, especially one wonderful woman from Bangkok who saved my Canadian Bacon that night by translating for me on more than one occasion. It was 17 hours sitting in a cramped bus that got me to Phuket on Monday just after noon.

And this is the hotel room the Travel agent booked for me. It is a beautiful place but too fancy for my needs. It cost me 1200 baht, which I didn't realize until I found out how much my travel cost me. The next day I booked out of there into something much more modest.

This is the first glimpse I had of the ocean from Phuket (Pronounced 'Poo-get'). This is Patong Beach, which was hit very hard by the Tsunami in December. I will show you more in the next post.

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