On Monday we were up early again for our final swim on Lemai Beach. Just for a change we tried breakfast at the restaurant next door – we didn’t want to get in a rut 🙂 We packed up and farewelled our lovely room that I’d have eaten my breakfast off the floor of. It was time to say goodbye to the nice Amity Bungalow that we’d been taken to by our taxi driver a few days before.
We had a hot wait at Reception for our transfer minibus – we realised that we were the last pick-up which shows how far from the centre of activities we’d managed to fetch up. We had to sit in the front seats which is a bit scary given the driving habits. Or the overtaking habits to be precise! We came up behind a ute stacked high with coconuts and realised that there was a monkey sitting on a metal ledge on the cage containing the coconuts. It was chained to the cage. Maybe it was the monkey’s job to get the coconuts down? Before overtaking it our driver gave a toot and right on cue the monkey waved a paw without turning. This was a big hit with everyone and the driver repeated the trick a number of times while I tried to capture the moment – mostly unsuccessfully. You don’t see working monkeys on utes every day.
Eventually we were dropped at the wharf and left to report to an office for boat tickets. Then we had to wait for ages for our boat – at least in some shade. Eventually the boat came and we managed to secure a comfy seat in the “VIP” lounge which was showing Avitar rather noisily. Or the second half of Avitar to be precise! We all thought we were being taken to Surit Thani close to the railway station as most of us seemed to be catching trains. Eventually we landed somewhere and were hurried onto an ancient bus into which we were crammed. For what we thought would be a 14km journey. It was hot so we opened the windows for some breeze and then it rained and we got wet and had to close the windows and got hot again. The bus went on and on with passengers getting more and more restive.
After an hour or so there was a sign pointing to Surit Thani which we turned away from which was interesting. The driver stopped up the road and appeared to pick up a tyre at a tyre shop. Then a little further up the four-lane express way he managed to perform a U-turn and head back the way we’d come. You don’t see buses doing U-turns which block all four lanes of busy expressways every day!
Eventually we were dropped at the railway station at Surit Thani, hot and sticky and wondering where we’d been. We had a wait of an hour so I was able to scout the street for food and drinks – railway station prices were somewhat inflated. Small trumpet-type icecreams were about 60 cents so a couple of trips were needed.
Our train arrived on time and after some confusion we found our right seats. There was a carriage 4 as well as a carriage 4/1. We thought we’d booked aircon but 4/1 had fans. After initial disappointment we realised it was cool enough somehow and we settled in. In Second Class we had seats facing each other. Someone brought tea around and then our seats were converted to bunks – with curtains. I’d told Wyn about how impressed I’d been with the arrangement 31 years before. I think it may have been the same carriage this time as well. We settled down for the night – horizontal is a great way to travel. We’d wake up in the morning in Bangkok – that’d be different.