Trip to Thailand!-Part 1

I have quite a few travellogues to share. I will start with my Thailand Trip for the next week or so, and then talk about my trip to Elephanta Island off the coast of Mumbai.

Day 1- Images from Thailand

On the Thai Airways flight- Resembled the days of Air Deccan!

When you get a last minute return flight deal for just 13,000 Rs to Thailand, lots of people lap it up. The flight to Thailand resembled the initial mad days of Air Deccan, when people flocked to the flight and had noisy conversations. Guess the Thai airhostesses were quite stunned to silence by the behaviour. Thai Airways also had free alcohol on board, so the 'guests' on board were making merry as the flight strode across the Bay of Bengal, passing North Andaman into the princely state of Bangkok. There was a screen indicating where our flight was on the map from India to Thailand.

Admiring Art or Plain Posing?

Shyam and I came together, while Jyothi came via another flight at around the same time to Bangkok. Before we met Jyothi, Shyam and I were looking at the art around the Suvarnabhoomi airport. While I was posing with damsels in caricature, Shyam decided to concentrate a lot more on the damsels fantasising the women in the caricatures to life.

Baat Baht Baaaht- In a Toyota Corolla Taxi in Bangkok

Conversing with a Thai Taxi is one of the more difficult things in life, if you are from India, and dont know Thai. The Thai taxi drivers have a bunch of pamphlets in their kitty and act as affiliates to travel agents and hotels known to them. Once you have chosen the hotel and they know where you are heading, they will also try and hook you up with a million sex/massage joints. If you say no to sex or alcohol, they will forcibily stop you at a travel agent or a gem stone shop, which makes up for their minimum commission.

Wherever you go, the fare is always 300 or 400 bahts. Make sure you bargain and start at 100 bahts. Price correction would autmatically start. They need people/tourists to earn money and if you arent paying par fare, they would extract money from other affiliate sources

Sample This- Our Taxi driver made 750 bahts from the gem shop, for taking us around from Prathunya to Sukhomvit(wherever MKB Electronics mall is), but actually took only 20 bahts from us. A taxi is better than a Tuk Tuk, as the pleasure of being ripped is better under an AC Corrola car than a naked engine Tuk Tuk

FAQ by Bangkok Taxi drivers

Where u go?
What you do?
Want to Phuk? (Fuck)
Night what you do?
1 shtop at gem shop
1 shtop travel agent

Modes of Public Transport- The Free Red Bus for Tourists/Locals.

We were exploring Thailand by the local transport and found that Red Buses are free for transport. Its a little tough to look at the guidebook and figure out where the bus is going, as most people dont understand english, and the other tourists/travellers are as clueless as you. Hopefully Wifi would be a free commodity as common as Roti, Kapda, Makaan and more recently telephone signals.

Thailand is best explored by the Tuk Tuk. Jyothi used it to his advantage to see a few places, but had to endure some time at the gem store and acually ended up buying a ruby/emerald.

Read Part 2 here

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Un-Intended Misadventure-2

This continues from here

The guy in khaki took me to the quaint police station, that seemed lost amidst the maze of the railway tracks and workshop buildings. I could see a sarkari babu, who was busy penning some thing on a file with his glass tilted and all concentration on that sheet of paper. As soon as he saw me, he asked me his constable to lead me in. He looked at me, sized me up with a sarcastic look and asked me, how dare I shout at his constable, after doing the mistake of coming inside the railway shed.

I realised that this was by no means an easy situation to get myself out of by talking logic and truth. I felt like telling the policeman, that the board for informing that civilians shouldnt come inside the shed, but it should lie outside the shed, so that the general public doesnt trespass. Sanity prevailed, and I didnt speak my mind to the policeman. I managed to look very sorry for my mistake, and then started to tell him, that I was living in Mumbai only for a month and I didnt know how railways operate et al. He wasn't willing to listen. After glancing at a dirty file, all he managed to do was look up stylishly and say "Bade Saab se ye Sab Bolo"(Go and say this to the big boss).

I was imagining an hairy,elephantine, burly, roguish, foul mouthed 50+ guy to come(when people say Big Boss, this is all I can imagine ). Every moment that I waited, I was sketching various avatars of the Big Boss, while I was standing in the police station.

My thoughts were interrupted by the introduction of 3 kids who were caught 'straying' near the shed. They were asked questions on where they are from and what they do. They were answering in a very unsure manner. In came a bright,young and slim man in his late twenties(The Big Boss) and he thundered with his eyes and asked the 3 kids to move near the door of the jail. I was just then thinking that I was saved of the igominy of facing the jail, that this is what education does to give you a bit more respect when compared with uneducated street kids. My logic was squashed like a lemon under a truck, the next instant, as I was told, to also size up with the kids.

'Tthaana' was the term the policemen were discussing often and cracking jokes, even as we 4 people were forced to wait. Now I didnt know whether the Tthaaana meant the police station or the suburb of Thana, a few kilometres away. I didnt allowe the curiosity to spillover to the policemen.

After fooling around asking questions on what we all do, and why we were here, the Big Boss finally spoke business, when he asked us to pay up a fine of 1000 rs, each according to 'sexsun 6c' of the Railway act. I realised the first guy had 14 rs, 2nd guy had 10 rs and the third guy had four 2 rupee coins. I had 34 rs and was the richest among the 4. I had left my debit card at home, so that my mother and cousin could withdraw cash from the ATM in my complex at Mulund. So had no source for cash, and told the policeman that I have 34 rs in my pocket. He looked at us for a while and showed signs of desperation by telling us, that his daily target was 10 people and the minimum collections had to be 5000 Rs, and who was going to answer his boss? The best politically correct answer was " Mere Paas sirf tees rupay hain. Sorry Saab, Is baar Galti ho gayi, Agli baar nahi hoga". Say it for 5 times, as the police guy is thinking of ways to get money from you, the background effect of the richest guy having 34 rs, worked, in he getting frustrated with us. He stared, in a angry Amitabh Bachan 'Inspector Vijay" pose and told us" Bhaago" (Run).

I didnt exactly run, but was the glad the ordeal was over. The next ordeal was to get into the second class compartment at Kalwa without a ticket, as I just wanted to get to office at the earliest. My railway pass was from Thane to VT and since Kalwa was a station away, I couldnt get into the first class compartment. Once the VT local arrived, and the general pushing and pulling started, I decided to forget what had happened, and jumped with the ferocity of a Mumbaikar at the 2nd class compartment, lunging from the princely 3 inch space on the footboard, till Thane, after which I boarded another local train to Currey Road. So in a matter of few hours I had been to Thana and Tthaaana(Police station in Marathi).

PS: 3 days later, I again boarded a train from Mulund (10 23 T Slow), to Thane. As the train stopped in Thane, I saw everyone get off except 2 people, me and an old guy who was inebriated. I suddenly asked the old guy, whether the train goes to VT in the return direction? He was too drunk to answer, and a kid who heard my question, nonchalantly said, "Arey Suna Nah Kya, Ye Train Car Shed Jaati Hain". Damn, WHY ME AGAIN, and a jump later, I was safely deposited on Thane station, while the old man and the train took of for the carshed. Dont know whether the old man, was financially worth the remunerative targets of the Big Boss, but I saved myself some time, money and went back wiser to never board a Thane local in the greed of getting a seat in the train.

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