Monday – Day 6
This morning we woke up at 4:30am to prepare for our trip to Pattaya (Pa-tie-ya not Patty-a). Pattaya is a big tourist area in Thailand south of Bangkok. Now I am not a big fan of these type of areas, I would rather spend time in small towns or rural areas where I experience the culture and interact with “normal” people. I don’t want a bunch of phony politeness just because the want my money, but that’s me.
Anyway, my wife wanted to take her mom there to see the beach and big city plus she has some friends down there that she wanted to visit.
At 6am we went to give alms to the monks and receive a special blessing to keep us safe on our trip. We left the village at 6:30am, about 8 of us piled into the pick-up and started off. We were being dropped off at the bus stop in Nonsoong and the others are heading to the market to pick up produce for the next few days. There are a lot of people waiting here for the bus sitting on benches, steps or just standing.
A highly intoxicated man approaches me (probably because I am a foreigner and he thinks that I have money) and asks for change. Normally I give money to any of the children, seniors, sick or disabled that I happen to see begging on the streets but this guy looked healthy and was in his mid 20′s. I don’t have a lot of respect for someone who is drunk at 7:30am so I told him that I didn’t have any money and to go away. Well, he either didn’t understand my “excellent” thai or chose to ignore me because he wouldn’t leave. My wife walked over and asked him what he needed. He told her that he needed money to buy some food. She offered to go to the nearby food stand and buy him some food to eat………………he turned and left. Guess he wasn’t hungry after all.
The bus came and the 20 or so people waiting all piled on for the ride to Korat. The bus only goes to the OLD bus station and we needed to go to the NEW bus station (this is where buses leave for other cities). So, we needed to find a Songtaew (mini-bus) to take us there. A songtaew looks like a pick-up truck that has had bench seats put in the bed and a cap fitted on it.
Riding through Korat I saw many sights that I had forgotten about. We passed an area where people set up sewing machines right on the sidewalk (8 in a row) so you can come by and get your clothing hemmed or repaired right there on the street. A street over there were masseuses with thin mattresses laid out on the sidewalk for a quick massage and after we turn the corner we pass by the statue of Khunying Mo (Ya Mo), a famous Thai heroine.
We arrive at the bus station and wait outside while my wife goes in to get tickets for Pattaya. While waiting a tuk tuk driver pulls up and drops off a customer. Before the driver can leave a security guard walks up to him and says a few words. The driver pulls out some coins and tries to give them to the guard. At first the security guard acts like he doesn’t want the money but then as they continue to talk he puts his hand down by his side, palm up and the driver deftly slides the money into the guards hand never breaking eye contact and then leaves. I never did find out what that was all about, some sort of bribe I guess.
My wife comes running out and tells us that the bus is leaving in 5 minutes so we run across the parking lot to find our bus. When they see us run up the attendants quickly grab our bags to put underneath and shuffle us on to the bus.
I wish that we had time to buy some water and something to eat as it is a 5-6 hr bus ride to Pattaya. About an hour out the bus stops to let some street vendors on the bus selling water, rice, pork, fruit. I had forgotten about this because they always do this on this long trips. I made a few purchases and settled back in my seat. Around noon they made a stop at a small station and we had about 10 minutes to get off and use the restroom and/or buy food.
The bus left the station at 9AM and we arrive in Pattaya at 2:30pm, not too bad. We take a songteaw to the hotel and check in. Not a bad place, nice rooms, swimming pool, cable TV and HOT showers. All for only $22 a night. After unpacking we took a walk around the area just checking things out. Stopped to get something to eat and then back to the hotel for the night.