Oh my Cod, Oh My God
07.09.2007 - 12.09.2007
View The Grand Tour on steve-les's travel map.
Bit of a nightmare going on but more about that later.
We had a wonderful evening trek at Khao Yai, we saw loads of diferent species of bats, ghekos, toads and other night creatures. The main highlight was watching 2 million bats leaving their cave to search for their evening meal. We watched for over an hour as the bats kept flying out of the cave in a continuous stream.
The journey from Pakchong to Bangkok was fairly uneventful, except for Lesley panicking that she had left the passports behind, but it turned out they were in one of our main bags in the luggage compartment of the bus.
Bangkok has been somewhat of a shock in more ways than one. The Khoa San Road area where we are staying is a bit of a travellers pit, although our boutique hotel is very nice. The whole area is swarming with "wannabee" backpackers, there are more Europeans per square meter than Thais ! I think that we must of been spoilt in Laos and Eastern Thailand, because we don't feel comfortable in this "Walking Wallet" area, everyone is out to make cash from holiday makers.
However we found that once out of the area this is less of an issue and people are normal Thai friendly rather than "give me all your money" friendly. One big advantage of this travellers area though, is that we found an English run fish and chip shop called "Oh my Cod". They actually serve proper cod in batter, chips and mushy peas all imported from England. Well, we have enjoyed Asian food but after three months of it we were really ready for some real grub. We went there on Friday night and had a full on fish supper (me being a good catholic and all that !).
Bangkok is great for shopping and we have picked up a couple of bits and bobs, but would have bought more if we were not travelling for another three and a half months. We have really enjoyed travelling on public transport using mostly the ferry boat service and the skytrain. Its far better than the overpriced tourist rip off Tuk Tuks and the taxis who want "fixed price no meter". If you can actually persuade the taxi driver to use his meter the trip works out cheaper than a Tuk Tuk !!.
Yesterday, we went on an organised trip to the River Khwae and The Death Railway. The trip was very interesting but on the way back it all turned out to be one big nightmare.
The driver was an absolute maniac and was racing along the road in an horrendous monsoon downpour. The car in front of us braked, our driver braked, lost control and the bus skidded on the 1" of surface water. The bus spun 180 degrees and then rolled over into the central grass verge. We were sat on the left side of the bus, the side which it eventually landed on. So I was on the bottom, Lesley was on top of me and the passengers in the seats across the aisle were on top of her !
Fortunately we were very lucky. I have a cut ear from the side window glass and chest pains from where Lesley landed on me (a soft landing). Lesley is a bit grazed and bruised, but we both managed to climb out of the vehicle skylight. Others were far less fortunate, nearly all the passengers on the right hand side of the bus had broken bones etc.,as they had further to fall. Luckily there were no fatalities, although a couple of the passengers are seriously ill in hospital. The emergency services arrived fairly quickly but were incredibly disorganised and were not fully able to cope with the situation, no cutting gear etc. They did eventually get all fifteen of us to two separate hospitals. The hospital that we went to was a bit primitive, but they stitched me up and took x-rays of both of us. The more seriously injured were taken to another bigger hospital, where some of them were admitted. The driver was taken away by the Police.
We were discharged along with a couple of American girls and an English couple from Hartlepool. We were then taken the 100km to our hotels in Bangkok. We were promised that the Tour Operator would contact us this morning. However this has not happened, and we cannot seem to contact them, spooky eh. We got on to our travel insurers who advised us to go to the Bangkok International Hospital, for further checks and to get Fit to Fly certificates. The Bangkok Hospital staff were very thorough and insisted on more x-rays, (well, we were paying), the results of which are clear and we have been given our certificates. We are both absolutely fine although quite shaken up and a bit sore in places.
We fly to Singapore tomorrow so hopefully we will be able to have a few days recuperation before our long haul drive through Australia.
Have loaded a couple of photos of the overturned bus !
Love to everyone, keep in touch