04.07.2012 - 06.07.2012
Day 163 – Wednesday 4th July
Got out of bed at 10 after spending the entire night just desperately trying to sleep and failing, I think I’m just too excited for Thailand and worried about how the fuck I’m going to make it there. So after crawling out of bed and being barely able to stand I got all my shit together and headed to the train station with this Spanish guy staying in my room. Once I was there I went to the bus station which was just around the corner and managed to get a ticket for a bus leaving in 10 minutes to the south of Zhuhai right next to the border with Macau, I’m still completely unsure on whether or not I’ll have to fork out £50 to pay for this stupid 3 day Zhuhai permit. The bus took about 2 and a half hours and I had this stupid fucking kid next to me who wouldn’t stop falling asleep on me and coughing and sneezing on me and shit, he kept picking his nose as well and I just didn’t want to know where that was going as his hand was always right next to my leg. All that drama stopped me from being able to finally get some bloody sleep, but oh well I made it to Zhuhai and walked straight in to the port to get through to Macau. After about an hour’s queue I got to the front and there it was my visa was stamped and I was officially out of China and in no man’s land full of duty free shops. I arrived here pretty much exactly 3 months ago, and before coming I was super anxious about how the country would be, my main worry was the language, and having been here for so long I have nothing but good things to say about this country, and I’m very sad to leave. The language was never a problem, if anything it made the whole experience more funny, going anywhere and being completely clueless never got old, especially when it came to ordering food or trying to explain to someone I needed to go to the toilet. The people in China have been beyond welcoming, it’s been so nice to have everyone just want to help you (even if they just don’t have a clue themselves) and all the free meals and free drinks I’ve had along the way have been such a godsend. Definitely going to miss the constant attention from girls, not only am I white but I also have blond hair which has just made them fall desperately in love with me with one look, wish it was like that all over the world, I feel like Brad Pitt for god’s sake. There’s obviously the big issue of the government here, but looking at where China is and where India is with democracy, they’re certainly doing something right (even if there have been a lot of casualties along the way) either way, all the young people are starting to voice their concerns, so who knows what’s going to happen next. Long story short this country is awesome, and before I went I’d never really met anyone who’d travelled here, and all I can say is that is an absolute disgrace! If you want to see the whole world in one country, go to China, even if it’s just for a holiday, the place is absolutely awesome and if the language barrier is the only thing stopping people, I can’t stress enough that you do just get by and eventually you get what you need (mainly through hand signals). Moving on, after getting through Chinese customs I then went through to Macau customs, where the queue was just as long, and I was given a 6 month visa for free, if only all countries could be this easy! Unfortunately I was only going to be there for a couple of hours so it was wasted on me. Got out of the building and had all my visas sorted and never got asked to pay the Zhuhai entry fee in only 2 hours, so I was well ahead of schedule. Hopped on a bus to the airport and managed to see pretty much all of Macau, it’s a tiny little place, and the bus weaved through all the small streets, can’t really have much of an impression on it but it seemed like a bizarre little gambling haven. Anyway, got to the airport around 5 and sat down and waited for my flight as it wasn’t leaving until 10, I thought I’d feel all emotional about leaving, but I’m meeting Freddie in Bangkok, so I’ve got a lot to look forward to and should be a really fun time in what sounds like a fucking awesome country. Spent my time in the airport just eating and reading and then got on my flight, which landed in Bangkok at midnight.
Day 164 – Thursday 5th July
Got in and through customs by around 1 in the morning, and feds’ flight didn’t land until half 8 so I spent the night just sitting around in the airport getting some food and reading my book. Had a bit of a mare at one point as arrivals is on floor 2 and food and other things are on the 3rd floor but getting to the 2nd floor once you’ve left was impossible, you could get a lift to the 1st or 3rd bloody easily but you had to be airport staff to get back down to the 2nd. Eventually I managed to convince a policeman to let me down to the 2nd floor, where I sat down and spent the next 7ish hours reading and trying to sleep on the metal chairs. Feds made it in around half 8 and then came out to arrivals by half 9, after coming through with a group of 4 girls, I managed to eventually get his attention that I was there waiting with my sign. So weird to be all the way out here and meet up with him after being away for so long, going to have such a good little holiday now over the next couple of weeks. So after a quick catch up and a bite to eat we jumped on the ‘skytrain’ into the centre of Bangkok, and then found our hostel slap bang in the middle of the business district in downtown Bangkok. Once we got to the hostel we had to wait for our room to be ready, and got some street food, and then once it was ready went straight to bed. Once we got up, we went out for a little walk to check out Bangkok, nothing really to see here, it’s just an overcrowded, pretty horrible city which I’m happy to leave ASAP, as is often the case with large Asian cities. The one good thing is the abundance of street food here, and all of it smells so good! It’s one thing that England is so desperately missing, healthy fast food, that’s cooked right in front of you. We got some food, and then some beers and headed back to the hostel and away from the crowded roads of the city down below. We then just spent the rest of the night sitting on the roof catching up on what’s been going on, and planning our next move. Ned has an uncle who lives in the north of Thailand, near the Laos border, on a farm in the middle of nowhere, so tomorrow we’re going to get a bus and visit him for a few days, and just sit back and relax in his tiny village. We went to bed nice and early to get ready for our little voyage tomorrow.
Day 165 – Friday 6th July
Got up this morning, and once we were both ready we headed straight to the bus station to get up to Khon Kaen. By the time we made it to the bus station (end of the line on the metro and then a 20 minute cab ride) it was 12 and unfortunately the next free bus was at 2:30. Which might prove a bit of a problem as it takes 6 hours to get to Khon Kaen, and once we’re there we still need to get a taxi to Martin’s (Ned’s uncle) house, and knowing Asian, 8:30 will mean a very high price and more likely no one who can be bothered to take us, time will tell I guess. So we sat down in the food hall and got some breakfast and then spent the next 2 hours just sitting around waiting for our bus. Once it was eventually time, we headed downstairs to the platforms to wait for it to arrive, and then we saw the standard of buses in this part of the world, they’re fucking incredible! They have these double decker coaches with touch screen TVs on every seat as standard, and some have Wi-Fi, and the whole thing just looks unbelievably comfortable, and well ahead of anything I’ve ever seen in Asia. Our coach didn’t turn up until 1, and although we didn’t have our own TVs it was still bloody nice, you get a proper reclining seat with loads of leg room, as well as a blanket as the AC makes the bus a bit too cold. On top of that you have your own air stewardess who bows when she starts to give a little speech about where we’re going, and who gives out free snacks and drinks, and even a meal, truly like an airplane. Definitely going to be using bus travel again, as it’s not too much and you do really travel in style. On the journey, I spent the time just listening to music and Feds managed to sleep pretty much the whole way until we eventually made it in around 9. This was way too late to be able to make it to Martin’s, so we are going to have to go in the morning and spent tonight in a hotel in Khon kaen. Luckily as with pretty much everywhere I’ve been there’s always a few hotels in and around a bus station for this very reason and we walked in to this really swanky one assuming it would be out of our budget, but for a twin room it was only £10! And the room was one of the nicest places I’ve stayed in, super nice beds, massive room, amazing bathroom, TV, Wi-Fi, fucking everything. Way too nice for me, but if this is the standard; the next few weeks are going to be absolute luxury travelling around Thailand. Once we got ourselves settled and stopped jazzing ourselves about how nice the room was, we went to get some more bloody tasty Thai food, then came back and spent the rest of the night watching the Murray match, a brit in the final, never thought I’d see that! Let’s just see what happens next, luckily his not English so he might not just bottle it, but more than likely he will! Loving having Feds here, so good to meet someone from home, even if it is all a bit surreal and completely familiar at the same time, off to Martin’s tomorrow which we are both super excited about. Feds actually visited him about 5 years ago with Ned, so he knows what to expect, but I don’t have a clue and his life of just chilling out on a farm with his Thai wife sounds like bloody luxury.