Jake Gordon

Happy 5th Birthday To Me!

22 March 2001

Well, as you may or may not know, yesterday was my birthday. Now, according to my date of birth, I should have been 19… but I felt like I’d just turned 5 instead.

Rather than hang around on the Perhentian Island any longer, I decided to go to Kota Bharu on the 20th and then come to Krabi in Thailand on my birthday, yesterday. Well, it didn’t quite go to plan!

Woke up nice and early as I have been doing pretty consistently here actually. Got out of bed at around 7:30 - about half an hour into my official birthday time, if you consider the time difference. Got the bus to the border fine, and was in Thailand by midday. On the Thai side of the border, I had to walk about 1km to a place where I could get a bus to Krabi. Only there wasn’t a bus that went to Krabi - instead I’d have to get one bus, and then another after that. Sounded alright - so that’s exactly what I did/planned to do.

I expected that Malaysia would be very similar to Thailand, but I was wrong. In Malaysia, everything is written in Malay and in English, so I know where I am and where I’m going. Also, lots of Malays speak good English so you can ask them for directions etc. Well, on arriving in Thailand I felt like a little child - I couldn’t understand anything and the border crossing I took isn’t a very well-trodden one, and so the people there don’t need to speak much English. Well, I managed to get on a minibus, and on it I made a friend who could speak a little English. He told me that he’d show me where to go to get the next bus after that one.

Three hours later, we both got off the bus and I followed him to another bus and jumped on it. I made sure it was going to Krabi - although no-one really understood me, including the bloke I was with there. Well, I sensed I wasn’t going to Krabi, and I figured correctly that the ‘friend’ was simply some bastard who wanted me to give him money for helping me get to where I wanted to go… and not only that, but the bus was going to Nakhon Si Thammarat rather than Krabi. F’ing bloody marvellous. My ‘friend’ said to me ‘you give me 200, I need rice’ and I pretty much told him to go jump off a cliff/get of the bus and piss off. This he did, and I was left at sunset on a bus full of people who didn’t speak a word of English, going to the wrong place… on my birthday. Whooppee-do!

Then it was time for my birthday party - a game of Pictionary with two people on the bus. Now, when I say a game, what I mean is that I was trying to figure out: where the bus was going; when it would get there; what I could do when I got there. My artistic skills saw me drawing a bus with a stick-man getting out and then a clock next to the bus. Blatantly this means ‘when do I get off this damn bus’ but no-one could fathom it. After a bit of sharades still to no avail, I finally got off the bus at about 8pm in the middle of nowhere.

I did actually have some fun on my bithday - a ride on a motorbike. A motorbike was there when I got off the bus, and I figured I was supposed to get on this bike and it would take me to a magical paradise beach somewhere. Well, it did take me to a mystical land/expensive hotel, and at least when I got to the hotel I could speak to the receptionist in English to find out what to do. Clearly I didn’t want to pay 20 quid for one night. I want budge accommodation, and thankfully the nice lady could tell me where to go for that. Whilst there, someone walked into the hotel and she told me it was some famous movie star. Eat your heart out NG.

Of course to get to the budget accommodation wasn’t simply a matter of crossing the road. I did indeed have to cross the road though, so that I could get a mini-bus/thingy down the road. Miraculously, an hour later I was in a hotel room which was only costing me about 3 pounds a night. With a craving to email people on my birthday, I went around town to find an Internet Cafe. An hour later, it was pissing it down and I still hadn’t found a cafe. Oh, and I’d forgotten the name of my hotel as well, so there I was wandering around with a useless map in my pocket for about another hour.

I did however manage to find my way back to the hotel, where I celebrated my birthday in style by watching the news on TV whilst drinking a Fanta.

Next: Krabi Previous: Under The Sea

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by Jake Gordon, some rights reserved