Saturday, February 19, 2011

Visa Run Rules: Another 90 Days in the Land of Smiles

Up at 5.30am for the minibus trip to the Cambodian border, my 1st organized group run, only bht 2000 for everything!

6.40am. ‘Why they not come? - She tell me 6.15.’ She smiles at me again, that gloriously relaxed un-affected smile that gets to me every time. ‘Thai time,’ I say nodding my head and smiling now, the fugue state of concern drowned out by the affect of that glorious smile and she hadn’t said a single word, no wonder I love her so much. At 59 have I finally found It?

The call comes at 6.50am, 'minibus waiting Mister!' Hmm! Off we go, I've got my backpack, the only one onboard, a family of three from Australia, 2 bloody Pommies (Aussie vernacular for the British), 2 Russians, a Ladyboy who doesn’t make the return trip and a gorgeous young girl, I never asked ‘where you from,’ too busy ogling. Men Huh? And me of coarse making up 10 + the driver and his wife, their family business.

          ‘We take Falang too border everyday day, good nah!’

I’ve only done public transport up to now, intrepid lone traveler and all that, hence the backpack with book notepad & pen, I’m expecting hours to pass. After a quick break for B/fast on the way we arrive at the border by 10.30am, I’m shocked and happy, happy nah!

We disembark, stroll up to the immigration window for, ‘you go out Thailand, nah!’ We each hand our passport and exit card to the immigration official, 4 separate windows open and working at this small border crossing, another happy, happy surprise. Then walk to a small outdoor café, not a uniformed official in sight.

We each sign the paper work already prepared for us during the trip, by very friendly bus driver wife, and then buy a drink and browse the souvenir’s this small place has for sale. Some take a left hand drive minibus  ride to a local supermarket for cheap, cheap liquor and other sales, turns out to be a dilapidated steel shed. 

          ‘Ah! The super supermarket,’ my Aussie friend says. 
          ‘Very good, cheap, cheap, very good for Barang!’ 

I don’t buy and after a very fast look around, I catch the next left hand shuttle back to the café. We hang around for Passports and paperwork to come back from wherever they went, collect our individual, stamped and licensed to travel precious little books and walk back to Thai immigration, its 11.30am.

After 90 minutes we stop for lunch at a service station with a big food court, order paid for lunch and within 30 minutes we’re off again. Some watched the “Kings Speech” on the wide screen TV, although the sound wasn’t really too good and the, “property of so & so, please don’t copy” scrolling across the screen at regular intervals tended to annoy. “Smile David, this is Thailand.”

Back in my loom by 4.15pm, honey is at work till 11, I crash on the bed, at 59 I need a nap before I pop my head in at her Beauty Shop and say ‘I‘m back, nah!’ (its like a big hotel thing, my loom & at less than 120 USD per month inclusive, I‘m happy enough with my life change)

P.S. Farang is anyone and anything not made in Thailand & Barang is same, same, I guess J)