We are here and safe. Coming off of 6 hours of sleep, some pad thai, and a thai tea, I’m feeling much better about life. I was shocked by the smooth travel–no delayed flights or visa confusion upon arrival. All of our bags arrived. We easily waved off overpriced hired cars and headed straight for the public taxi stand.
Our 3am taxi driver from the airport seemed proficient until we hit the long, smooth freeway into the city. We were quiet in the car, tired and ready to reach the hotel. Then I felt the car swerve a bit. I glanced at our driver’s eyes in the rearview mirror. He was falling asleep. I said “hey!” and then poked matt to tell him to wake up. He kept drifting, as the three of us kept glancing at each other in fear. Then Kelly started speaking to me loudly in Spanish. We were pretty sure the driver didn’t speak english, but it felt better to speak in a language we were sure he didn’t understand. The voices kept him awake well enough. I poked his should and said “don’t sleep” a few times. He rolled down the window. I told him to turn on the radio. Matt started clapping along to the tune. He started dancing a bit. We eventually made it to the hotel, each of us shaking. Really, once he got off the freeway he was fine and awake, but our lack of an exit strategy was terrifying.
The first hotel that I had tried to reserve through email was full. Thankfully Bangkok never sleeps, so we were able to walk to another guest house. Guest house number two was recommended by Lonely Planet…we thought. Turns out there is a significant difference between Merry V Guest House and NEW Merry V Guest House. A difference that involves the presence of sheets in the rooms, and private bathrooms. When you need a flashlight to find your room, you know it’s time to pick a new hotel. So we did.
We walked up to the desk of the new hotel. “It will be 1800 baht…” she said. “Fine! Perfect!” I said. “…but I can give you a discount to 1500…” My bargaining skills were turned off. I’m glad she had pity on me. Not that we cared at that point. The previous hotel had been 200 a room (<$10). But at 3:30 am, $42 for a clean bed and a shower sounded like a fabulous deal.
We’re regaining our traveling legs. We’ve managed to purchase tickets for the train tonight. Purchase food. Call taxis. I forget how hard it is not to be understood. I keep trying to speak in Spanish, my default foreign language, much to Matt and Kelly’s amusement.
ps-Last night on the street I saw a kitten and a rat. They were the same size. Kelly validates this story.