Monday, 21 October 2013

Plus 30 more Days in Bangkok and onward to Cambodia

The first week in Bangkok was mostly about getting around. Once I go that down, I tried to figure out how long I could party, yet still wake up early enough to go to work by 7:30. I managed about 5 hours of sleep a night. That's a whole other 18A story. It's being edited by someone other then myself. it's totally rambling BS.

I actually only taught for a week. Then it was students writing exams, and desk warming. I did graphic design for a tourism group instead. The internet sucked. Slow and flaky. A reoccurring theme throughout this narrative. On the odd occasion I actually did some teacher work, entering scores into an Excel spread sheet, rather than fix my mistakes, they would print it out, circled it, and told me how many digits I was off, so I could correct it. By correcting it, they had to re-open the Excel spreadsheet, insert my correction... I asked "why didn't you just change it, if I got it wrong? Why waste the paper and time? If you made a change, and you want my okay to change it, show it to me, and I'll initial it. I'll sign off and now it's not your liability."

I did nothing for 2 weeks. It was a routine like living in any other city. I woke up, shit, showered and shaved and made the 1 hour long trek to work where I sat at a desk for 8 hours and did nothing. I did some graphics for a tourist company, so that's not entirely true.

Eventually my time in Thailand was up. I milked it. I milked it enough, money is owed to me. I had to do I visa run.

The first run was an experience. I missed the agency bus, so I hot-tailed it to the last skytrain stop, got on  a bus and made it in seconds flat. I got snaked as soon as I got off the bus and paid too much for a Cambodian visa. I walked across, walked through no man's land... it didn't seem to ever end.... but I was actually in Poipet. Imagine the old west, but all Asian. Turned around, walked back into Thailand, got another 15 days, I missed the bus, so I crashed out on a bench at the train station. A 6 hour train ride to Bangkok is $2. A 6 hour bus ride to Bangkok is $7. I went back to the routine.

Then it all changed. 15 Days was up, I need a new visa. But not a visa waiver given to First World countries that's not actually a visa at all, but a proper non-immigrant tourist visa. This meant an application to a Thailand Embassy outside of Thailand. Which where I find myself now.

I just got paid. Not all I was owed, but enough. I set out for the capital of Cambodia for my tourist visa run via the most southerly route. I thought I'd visit a guy I'd never met but had known for years recently settled in Sihanoukville. Awesome time. Emerald Bar, by the old bus station, downtown. Central to everywhere. Good rates, good food, great people. Bikes for rent, easy access to islands and buses. I swam in the ocean almost every day.

I did a couple of graphic jobs in the week I was there. Paid for my trip. Took a night bus to Phnom Pehn that had actual beds instead of seats. I overstayed my welcome. I woke up 500 Km past that. I had to wait until 8:30 for the next bus back to PP. Another 5 hour trip. I finally got to PP. I got a tuk-tuk driver to take me about 5 km to the Embassy. The embassy was no longer taking applications, but a guy assured me that he could sneak it in for a $40 surcharge on top of the usual $40 visa fee. It was now costing me $80. I had $90. I agreed, I was desperate. He gave me his number to call when the passport was ready. His buddy took me to a hotel to wait it out for the weekend. I sat on the balcony drinking beer waiting for time to go by.

I got bored. I went out. I don't know where. It did not end well. It didn't end that badly either. I took $10, my phone and keys. I come home with no money, no phone and no keys. The tuk-tuk driver taking me home, called ahead to his buddy, took me a secluded spot where his buddy was waiting and worked me over. Being mugged sucks. My jaw hurts. My ear hurts. My pride hurts, and I have a nice scar forming on my back, but I'm okay. They got the security device from my online banking which is useless without the code, and my phone. That one is the killer. Anybody got an old android phone they're not using? I could really use one.

Stumbling finally home, I made it to my room where I banged on the gate until someone let me in at 3 am. I had no key, so I demanded they open my door... I was drunk and I'd just been mugged.

I thought they got everything, but then I remembered that I always take what I need, not what I have. I don't need ID or credit cars, or wallets. A little bit of cash, my phone, my keys. gone... forever. The passport is safe with some shady character at the Thai Embassy. He's not getting his $40 bribe. He's getting $10, if that. I need cash to get home or the visa he worked so hard to get, is worthless. If he gives me a deal, I'll get his number and refer some friends to him.

Tomorrow is a new day.