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Adventure to Petchburi
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  1. #1
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    Adventure to Petchburi

    While living and teaching English in Bangkok in the early 90's a student of mine invited me to go along with him to the floating markets. I had a great day and he dropped me off at the bus station where I was to catch the bus back home to Petchburi Road. It was raining heavily and it was a relief to hear the spruiker call out "Petchburi, Petchburi". I raced onto the bus and noticed that it had very plush comfortable seats. I relaxed back in my mobile armchair and proceeded to watch the Thai news on the TV in front of me. I was rather proud of myself and the fact that I had acquired such a luxurious liner for the one hour trip home. I felt very warm and cozy and soon nodded off. Next thing I noticed after being jolted awake by a pot hole was a tricycle plodding its way in the rain. I looked further out the window and didn't see any lights. I then had this sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. I glanced at my watch and it confirmed that I had been asleep about five hours. I then got off at the next bus station which was flooded and made my way to the awnings for cover. It turned out that I was on the outskirts of the province of Petchburi, alone, wet and at the decided disadvantage of being a foreigner with only basic Thai language skills at that time. Nobody spoke English at all. I waited there for a further hour as it approached midnight. Finally a bus came travelling in the opposite direction and I hopped on hoping that it would take me back to Bangkok. I was lucky and eventually crawled into my bed at home by 4:00am. Had to work the next day too. Not a happy chappy. The moral of the story?:.....be alert when travelling on public transport.aaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh.

  2. #2
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    This post made me giggle out loud! I used to live on Petchaburi Road and as you're telling this story, I'm yelling at the computer "Noooooooooo!"

    It is a scary thing when you confidently get on a bus and then it takes a turn you never anticipated. I can't tell you how many times I would take the bus home from work and intend to go to my apartment in Rajathewee, but end up in Bang-Na after a run on the expressway.

    I love the bus system in Bangkok.... always an adventure. The skytrain, while convenient, lacks that adventure and terror.

    I used to take Bus #50 from Siam Square at 4:00 and try to go up to Bang Sue by my 5:30 class. This was rush hour, and I soon realized that only one Bus #50 would come by that time of day. I had to get on that bus or I was sunk. Every day it was a war. I sat at the bus station and looked around at the 60 or so of us waiting for #50. We all had steely looks in our eyes, standing in a slightly bent 'on-your-marks' position. Bus #50 rounds the corner still 4 blocks from our stop and people start casually moving down. Acting like they just wanted to look at the flower selection at the flower vendor or as if they saw a friend. In truth, they were positioning themselves. We all did. My technique was to wait, anticipated where the bus would land and then sprint! Sure enough the bus comes within a block of the bus stop. Suddenly chaos takes over. 60 or so people fly off the crowded #50 at the exact same time that 60 of us are fighting our way on the already packed bus. Most days I would get a comfortable position standing in the door way. On glorious days, I would actually get to stand in the bus... but... often....I stood precariously on the edge of the bus, holding on to the silver handle with one sweaty hand. One foot on the bus, the other suspended in mid air outside the bus. I never had to worry about falling off the bus because I was so wedged in -- usually 5 or so of us in that doorway -- but I did have to worry about what would zoom by the bus and smack into my leg and hips. Luckily, it was only ever tree branches. I was able to duck for most of the dangerous encounters.

  3. #3
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    My wife and I are falling off our chairs as you describe your ordeal on the busses. I love it when a Thai bus driver sits on his seat slightly to the edge of his seat. He is making room for Buddha who is also driving the bus with him. Your bus story sounds very similar to my experiences trying to get from my last English class along Sukhumvit road to my next lesson in Rama4 road in 30 minutes. That was some feat. Sometimes I just had to get a motorcycle. That was the trip from hell. Just thought of a time I would travel on the bus along a piece of road just off Lad Prao. Travelling at some 100 kph, the driver would mount the bridge and put his foot on the gas and all the passengers in the back of the bus would rise from their seats about a half a metre. Needless to say I was the dumb farang standing at the rear of the bus and I would have to be quick to bend my knees or my head would hit the roof. It was hair raising, but one hell of a story to tell the grandkids when I get old and wrinkly. he he...

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