Traveling in Thailand – The Window Incident

I’ve learned that traveling in Thailand takes a lot of patience.  And I mean a lot.  The buses rarely leave on time, usually because a driver is eating, chatting away, napping or just simply isn’t there.  If you want to go somewhere, and specify that to a driver, there is about a one in ten chance you will arrive at your desired destination, and gripe and moan all you want, they don’t care.  They will smile and nod and you will be hailing another tuk tuk or a cab in no time. 

I’ve decided to start documenting these atrociously funny events.  Of course, they’re only funny after the fact.  Weeks after the event I can actually look back on it and think, “Hey, I guess that was pretty funny after all,” so I’d figure I would share.

When I need to head down to Surat Thani, a hub to get to the southern islands, Krabi, or Phuket, I take the local bus from Lang Suan.  The bus is “supposed” to leave at around 12:30, but it might leave at 12:45, maybe even 1, and on a more recent trip, we found that it could possibly leave at 1:45.  There are no tourists in my town and thus I am always the only white person on the bus, which warrants many blank stares and confused looks.

I usually sit on the left side of the bus, I’m not sure why, I’ve just turned it into a little routine of mine.  I love pushing the window all the way up  so that I can lean slightly out the window and feel the warm Thailand air whipping against my face as the bus meanders down the highway.  Usually this isn’t a problem.  But apparently, in the particular seat I chose this one afternoon on the left side of the bus, it was some sort of hazard. 

The lady that collected the money started yelling at me in Thai and motioning to my window.  Unfortunately, after my almost four months of being here, I have not become close to understanding a lick of Thai (aside from the very basic phrases.  I meant to learn, honestly, I really did!), and thus had no clue what she was trying to tell me.  She leaned over me and popped the window down and went on her way.  Now it’s hot in Thailand, and on a bus that dangerously swerves all over the road with no air conditioning, one can tend to get a little car sick. 

This whole window down thing was not going to work.

I glanced around the bus and noticed that everyone on the left side of the bus still had their window up and were enjoying  the fresh air, so I checked that the lady was still at the front of the bus, and stealthily pushed my window up. 

I enjoyed the air for a good five minutes until the lady came charging back up the aisle and proceeded to yell at me in Thai again.  She theoretically grabbed me (she wasn’t as forceful as it sounds, but the yelling and screaming indicated that she might go down that path) and pointed me in the direction of an open seat on the other side of the bus.  I got hurled into the seat, getting whacked in the ankle by some stray metal piece from who knows where in the process.

But apparently this seat was different than its predecessor…I could have my window up.


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