Tuesday 5th July – Trip to KL
Part the first: cab to the pier
1958 – 84F the cab, well, open back van thing, has picked us up early and we are on the way with a couple of Norwegians to the pier to catch the night boat to Suratthani. It’s hot and it is only the beginning of what might be a 24 hour journey. I just hope that the sleeping quarters on the boat are ok.
Part the second: the night boat or The HMS Sardine
2029 – 85F Sitting on the dockside waiting to board the night boat to Suratthani, the first stage of our 25 hour treck to Kuala Lumpur. We should be leaving at 2100 and arrive sometime in the early hours of the morning, maybe 0500. Conditions onside are not likely to be palatial but we are pretty tired so I dont think it will be a problem getting to sleep. I have ear plugs and Valium just incase…
2104 – 91F we have just left. Conditions on the boat are, as i expected, shit. Each person on this godforsaken vessel has around 2.5 feet of room. I have some skinny Thai bloke next to me on my right; seems quit pleasant – doesn’t smell too bad, I shall call him Frank, and Ed on my left; also quite pleasant – smells worse than skinny man. There are ceiling fans that do a great job of cooling everyone else apart from me, Ed and Frank the skinny man; the last three people on the row, and, oh the lights have gone off down this end as well, cosmic. I am and just glad it is not boiling hot and I am not surrounded by 100 sweaty people, most of whom haven’t showered in two days…wait a minute.
2157 – 90F just had a result, the two english girls that were next to us have moved to be near their friends giving us some extra room to scoot into the range of the fan. This puts a little more distance between me and Frank which i am actually kind of disappointed about now seeing as we have been through so much together.
There is, at least, a little more breeze coming through the now open windows at this point.
2200 – 90F sudden realisation: nobody knows we are on here. We didn’t give our passport numbers to anyone or our names. If somebody finds this iPad floating in the search and recovery mission that will inevitably follow the potential sinking of this vessel, please post this blog for me.
2221 – 90F there are 2 bare light bulbs that light the entire deck on which we are sleeping. They are flickering like somebody is being electrocuted in the next room so everything is bathed in a misty kind of half light that reflects on the mass of limbs that lay between me at this end of the boat and the bow at the other. going to watch a movie to help the time pass.
2248 – 91F somebody smells like corned beef. I smelt Frank to make sure it was not him. it wasn’t.
2354 – 91F just finished watching Due Date on iPad with Ed. Going to try to get some sleep. Smell of beef has passed.
0021 – 91F didn’t the transport slaves like this? At least we don’t have to row, although there is no telling if this engine is going to hold out all the way. I am Spartacus.
0104 – 90F there is a a crazy lightening storm going on somewhere off in the distance on the starboard side. Also, I have just looked out of the window and I can see more stars than I have seen in a very long time. I suppose it is worth not being able to sleep.
0449 – 89F arrival in Suratthani. Worst night’s sleep since I arrived in Asia. Stiff as a board now. Managed to sleep for an hour or two at the end awoke to find Frank staring off into the distance, he’s changed. Time to pack up and move off.
End of act I
Part the third: Bus to Hatyai or my own Bon Jovi hell
0516 – 88F from the dockside we have been transferred to an office-come-cafe-holding area which will serve as our accommodation until 0630 when the bus arrives to take us to Hatyai
0618 – 90F the bus arrives early to take us to our next destination. It’s a small White van with 14 or so seats in it. Looks like a few more stops at other shady cafe to pick up more passengers before we finally hit the road. Man, I am tired.
1030 – 85F after a small yet initially profitable altercation with the driver he turn his terrible loud music off. I tried to explain that I only wanted him to turn it down but he threw his toys out of the pram and turned it off all together. The piece and quite did not last long as the drive waited an hour or so then decided that it was the right time to play Bon Jovi’s back catalogue followed by any other Thai pop music he could find at the loudest volume he was able achieve from the quite sizeable speakers. At this point I am considering if the windows are large enough for me to through myself out of.
1120 – 92F Arrival at Hatyai. We are given immigration papers for when we reach the Malaysian border and then rush to find some food before the bus leaves at 1200
1159 – 91F mission accomplished and we are now sitting on what seems to be a very comfortable bus. Wide seats that recline almost all the way, the nice lady even came along and gave everyone a bottle of water. I just hope the driver is not a Bon Jovi fan, we have 9 hours on this thing.
1502 – 90F what a balls up. We reached the border some time ago and had to get off the bus to go through the exit procedure from Thailand. Everything was fine until we came through this initial check point and could not find our bus. We were quite literally in no mans land! The space between Thailand and Malaysia. After asking a guard of some sort we decided to walk to the Malaysian entry check point about half smile down the road, to see if we could find our bus. We could not. We waited in line for a bit before deciding to walk all the way back the the Thai border to see if it was waiting for us there. It was not. By the time we walked the half a mile back again in the blistering heat, and I had ripped my t shirt on some razor wire, there was a man waiting for us saying they had been looking for us and that we had to pick up our bags from the side of the road and go through malaysian immigration. I am now in malaysia!
1730 – 90F we are settling down to wath a film but I can’t keep my eyes open any longer so I am going to sleep! The chair is very comfortable and I am dog tired. Having had only about 4 hours sleep pin the last 36.
2022 – 90F rest stop somewhere outside KL. I think this is the last stop before we reach our destination. I have just eaten some of my dinner that I purchased at the store at the order earlier, whih consists of a packet of Ritz Biscuits. I just went out to use the toilt and returned to see the driver and several other men looking at the front right wing of the bus and stroking their chins…I hope there is not a problem. It cannot be long to go now.
2148 – 82F we are on the road into KL and we have just caught our first glimpse of the patronas towers up ahead. Finally after what is now nearly 26 hours, I feel like we have arrived! They are certainly a sight for sore eyes!