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    Tropical Storm Tour: Thailand Part 20

    Tuesday, June 23, 2015
    Phitsanulok, Thailand

    Riding in a tuk-tuk to the Arcade bus station in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
    Riding in a tuk-tuk to the Arcade bus station in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

    Because I was pressed for time, I had to pay a steep 120 baht (almost $4.00) for a tuk-tuk ride a few miles over to the Arcade bus terminal, where I booked a ticket to Phitsanulok, a small city in lower northern Thailand. Unfortunately, I had to wait 2.5 hours until 3:30 pm for the next bus out. I didn’t mind the wait so much as I dreaded arriving in a smaller town late at night, when it can be difficult to find a guesthouse or hotel that is still open. I just passed the time catching up on writing this journal as I sweated and sweltered in the blazing hot waiting area. Right as the six-hour journey started; a young woman “flight” attendant wearing a sharp uniform made a long announcement in Thai only. Then she introduced the “pilot” and “co-pilot,” both of whom stepped up and gave the passengers a wai (a bow with their palms pressed together in front of their chins). I’ve never seen that happen before on any bus in any country. This was one very prim and proper crew!

    A strawberry yogurt shake in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
    A strawberry yogurt shake in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

    About an hour into the ride, I had a bad gut ache, so I retired to the toilet to leave a massive dump. I felt a lot better after that–and by the fact that the driver never slammed on the brakes, which would have sent me and a bunch of crap flying everywhere. During the ride, they played two movies, Robocop and Divergent–both of which were dubbed into Thai, so I pretty much got visuals only. I spent half the time trying to finish up a book I’ve been reading, Bali: Sekala and Niskala. The attendant passed out little boxes of snacks that consisted of a small bun filled with cream and some Oreo-esque cookies. She also occasionally offered up some small cups of water. As we made it three-quarters of the way through the ride, someone who was sitting next to me finally disembarked, so I could thankfully move my backpack out from between my legs, which was so much more comfortable.

    Starched white everything at the Lithai Guesthouse in Phitsanulok, Thailand.
    Starched white everything at the Lithai Guesthouse in Phitsanulok, Thailand.

    We were due to arrive in Phitsanulok around 9:30 pm, but at 9:15, we rolled into a bus station out on a highway and everyone got off the bus. I figured we were in a small town just outside of the city, but it was hard to tell, because all of the signs were written in the Thai alphabet only. I asked the attendant, “Phitsanulok?” and pointed at the ground. She tried to explain something to me in Thai, but I have no idea what it was. She seemed a bit annoyed at the language barrier between us. Luckily, there was a guy out front who spoke a little English and explained that we were changing buses. I was relieved a few minutes later when some of the people I recognized from the first bus climbed aboard.

    Cavernous hallways in the Lithai Guesthouse in Phitsanulok, Thailand.
    Cavernous hallways in the Lithai Guesthouse in Phitsanulok, Thailand.

    After only a few minutes, we arrived at Phitsanulok’s bus terminal number two. I could tell because the name was also written in Roman characters. As I jumped out, a couple of ladies offered me a motorcycle ride into town. I passed, as it would be a real challenge with my behemoth of a backpack. I know, because I’ve done it before. Instead, I requested a cab from one of the ladies, so she called one over. I was a little suspicious at first because he didn’t have a meter or any lettering that said “taxi” on his car, but he looked friendly and benign, so I threw caution to to the wind and went for it. For 120 baht ($4.00), he dropped me off at Lithai Guesthouse, which I was pleased to find out was still open at 10:30 pm.

    Egg, noodle and onion soup in Phitsanulok, Thailand.
    Egg, noodle and onion soup in Phitsanulok, Thailand.

    As I walked up to room 312 on the third floor, I was taken aback by the cavernous halls and staircases which were scrubbed to a high level of cleanliness. Ditto the room with its starched white pillowcases and sheets and overall squeaky clean appearance. The Lithai Guesthouse is definitely one of the cleanest and nicest budget places I’ve ever stayed in. Right after I checked in, I walked around out front to look for some grub. Aside from a bar across the street and a few random shops, not much else was open right around the hotel. The streets were desolate. I did find one small spot open, where I gulped down some soup with yummy brown eggs, noodles and onions for only 40 baht. After that, I hit the hay for a nice, long slumber in my nice, quiet room.

    Words and photos ©2015 Arcane Candy.

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