Sunday night, we piled into the van at 4:00 p.m. to make what should be about a ten to twelve hour trip from Chiang Mai to Bangkok. This real travelling adventure included three stops (about five minutes each) and lessons to be learned along the way. Fortunately, our marathon driver turned the trip into a short seven and a half hour “flight.” Here’s how it happened.
Stop One: On the first stop, one of the girls almost got left at the gas station because she had stopped to buy toilet tissue (a luxury item) and almost didn’t make it in the van before we pulled out. Fortunately, we got the door closed before the van speed got too high, however the door wasn’t shut very tightly. Lesson from that stop– double check that the door is closed well before take off or watch the “door light” flick on and off for the next two hours hoping you won’t fall out.
Stop Two: The second stop added the dog portion of the story. When we wheeled into this pit stop, there were two huge guard dogs (I wished I had thought to prepare my camera) hovering around the bathrooms. A little Thai girl was so frightened by the one greeting all of the ladies right inside the bathroom and was trying to muster the courage to walk to the toilet. She just assumed I spoke Thai and said to me, “That is a scary dog!” I knew that I needed to get in and get out. Lesson from that stop– pretend that you love dogs and just get your business done.
Stop Three: On the last stop, I did whip out my camera. It was a blog post moment at a gas station that had been cursed by Moses. We tried to ignore the swarm of bugs overhead but discovered they were in every bathroom stall, covered in the sinks so that we couldn’t turn the knob to wash our hands (I know gross), and swarming the 7-11. Additionally, our marathon driver decided to clean garbage out of the car but accidentally threw away the van key in the process. That caused a major (two-minute) delay to dig the key out of the garbage can (again, no possibility of washing our hands). Lesson from that stop– don’t even get out. Keep the windows rolled up tightly and hope that no gnats make it in through the air conditioning. I still feel that gnats are crawling in my eyes and hair.
Overall, it was a successful trip. We managed to get home quickly, catch a few hours of sleep, and wake up for school Monday morning. You might get these same kinds of adventures in your country, but you’ll probably have to work a little harder at it. Ours come naturally!
“It’s a well known thing that ordinary perceptions can have a strange aspect when one is travelling.” Kenneth Koch