Koh Tao, Thailand
I woke up today feeling much better and it seems that my “traveler’s diarrhea” has moved on. I decided I was fit to leave the island today, so I walked to a nearby travel agent and booked a ticket on the ferry to Chumphon, which was scheduled to depart at 14:30 (this ticket, as with most on Koh Tao, included a free ride to the pier). I then sought out food and ended up eating breakfast at the same restaurant I ate at yesterday and I had the English breakfast again with tea and a cappuccino. After finishing my meal, I walked back to my bungalow, packed my bags, and checked out, but I left my bags next to the reception desk so that I could walk around the island while I waited for my ride to the pier. I first walked along a portion of the beach (which had three dogs running about and wading in the water); then I walked through the streets of Sairee for one last time until I decided to eat lunch. I stopped at the same restaurant I had had breakfast at and ordered spaghetti with meatballs and a banana smoothie. After lunch I mainly sat around and inside the resort reception room and read some more of the Book of Psalms. Finally, it was nearly 14:00, so I grabbed my bags and walked out to the main road where I waited for about twenty minutes before the taxi came; I then put my large bag in the back, which was already filled with people and luggage, and I sat in the passenger seat with my smaller bag. We then drove the short distance to Mae Haad pier and then I walked the short distance to Songserm pier. I waited there for about another twenty minutes before the boat arrived; after all the incoming passengers had departed, all of us outgoing passengers boarded the boat. I ended up sitting in the bottom deck, which had a strong chemical smell, where I finished reading the Psalms and then started on the Book of Proverbs. After sitting for two hours, I walked up to the deck and stood the rest of the way, watching the islands pass by as our boat streamed west during the sun’s terminus dance for the day, toward the port near Chumphon. After docking at the port (at about 18:30ish), I grabbed my bag and walked to where the “buses” were parked; I confirmed they were heading to Chumphon Railway Station (these “buses” were part of the joint ticket the ferry passengers had purchased) and then I climbed aboard; the driver then waited until the back of the “bus” was crammed full of passengers before driving to the station. Once at the station, I bought a train ticket to Nakhon Pathom (scheduled to depart at 19:36 and to arrive at 03:38). I then waited around for the train to come; it was delayed though, so it didn’t actually arrive until 20:20; once it did come, I climbed aboard and found my reserved seat. The seats in my particular economy car were sized for two passengers and designated as such (they also each faced another seat), so I shared the seat with a Thai woman and we sat facing two Thai men; the last few seats in the back of the car were reserved for monks, the disabled, and senior citizens; the seats were also uncomfortable (at least for tall people) and the train car was extremely noisy between the the frictional sound of the train on the rail blasting through the open windows, the seemingly ceaseless chatting inside the car, and the non-stop vendors walking up and down the aisle announcing whatever they were selling regardless of how late it was and how many people were sleeping or trying to sleep. I realized very quickly that slumber was futile, so I chose to test my body’s endurance and stay awake throughout the night; it’s a good thing I did too because in the unlikely case that I did fall asleep, I probably would’ve missed my stop and ended up in Bangkok since no announcements were made throughout the journey – one had to keep an eye open to watch the railway station signs or look for other landmarks to know where we were stopping. So I remained awake throughout the night . . .