Blog Day 105 Fri 19th August 2011
Today we are moving on to Hat Yai. This is our last stop before we head into Malaysia. We jump on the VIP section of our coach and get settled down for the 7 hour ride ahead. We are probably about 15 minutes into the trip when the driver decides to put on his favorite mix tape. All the songs are in Thai and sound the same. He must really like this album as it's not just background music, we feel like we are in the front row of a concert! 5 songs later and it stops…… Phew……… The TV comes on and Daniel Craig swings into action as James Bond in Casino Royale…… YAY!....... But it's in Thai….. OH COME ON!
Fortunately there is more action in the movie than dialogue so it's watchable.
Now Trish has an uncanny knack of attracting the village idiot (EASY…), she did it in South Africa when the water boy at Goodwood RFC took a shine to her, and Thailand is no exception. Sitting in the seat next to her is a lovely Thai gentleman. He has one eye on her whilst the other one is following a star. He is also deaf as a post. Either that or he thinks that all English people speak in sign. He tries for about 45 minutes to explain to us that when we get off the bus we must ring a number to try and get back on the bus. And that elephants are very good at walking up hills. It was at that point that Trish developed narcolepsy and fell straight to sleep.
About 3 and a half hours into the journey we pull up to a little restaurant for something to eat and a toilet break. There was a toilet on the bus but we won't go into what that was like. The restaurant had the usual servings of rice and noodles but they all seemed to be with fish. This didn't really appeal to us so a couple of pork pot noodles later and we were headed to Hat Yai.
We arrive in Hat Yai about 5 hours later and its throwing it down. We jump into a tuk tuk and head to our hotel which is about 5 minutes away. The Hat Yai central is quite a grand looking hotel from the outside not what we expected for £10 a night. A porter took our bags, dressed as if he had come straight of the Love Boat. Unfortunately that's where the nice stuff stopped. Our room was on the 11th floor and had a pretty impressive view out on the city. We didn't hang about for too long as we needed to get to the train station. Here we would find out train times and prices to Butterworth in Malaysia. We had decided to go to Georgetown in Penang before Heading down to Kuala Lumpur. Butterworth was the nearest train station from there we would have to get the ferry over to Georgetown. The train would cost 335 baht each and leave at 7am. We could only buy tickets on the day of travel which meant getting to the station at 6.30am. Lovely. We headed off for a walk around some of the local markets and hawkers in the area. It was during this little walk that we stumbled across a little tour company that offered transfers to Penang. They would pick us up from our hotel in Hat Yai (at 9am) and drop us off at our hotel in Georgetown. We would be travelling by air con mini bus and the trip would take an hour less than the train all for 280 baht per person. Bargin! Where do we sign up?
After purchasing our tickets we come across a little eatery called then Bamboo bar and café, feeling a little peckish we dive in and fill up on a lovely Masaman Curry and a few bottles of Chang. The Masaman Curry has been a great discovery for us over here, something that we will be attempting when we get back home. We head on back to the hotel which gives a whole new meaning to the term rat race! The streets had rubbish sacks piled up on them and at one point we counted 7 rats (big bloody rats) run out from the rubbish sacks and across the street in front of us. Delightful!
Back in our hotel room we also had guests. Not rats, thank god, but the next best thing, a couple of friendly cockroaches. We bid them goodnight by way of a flip flop to the back of their head and it's off to bed, hoping that nothing decides to join us.