Posts Tagged With: Muslim

The Road to Penang

Wahoo! Nothing like a nine-hour bus ride to occupy your day.  Although travel days are different in a way because there’s no way of knowing what your destination brings, it usually turns tedious pretty fast.  Our bus driver was late because of traffic (excusable) but had to be called back to the drop-off point because he had taken off without us, his four passengers, in the back!  Oh man.  Our driver, captain Taz, as he introduced himself, was dressed for a day of golfing in short pants, long socks and a golfing tee and hat.  Hmmm? I didn’t ask.  Soon after we left it was clear he was an AWFUL driver with a lead foot and shitty attitude behind the wheel, I wedged myself between a bunch of backpacks in the backseat and hoped they wouldn’t fall on me – which they did – eventually.  Then. The traffic.  OH MY GOD. It was some of the worst traffic I’ve ever seen, and we inched along the road, lurching forward with every stop. Only my music made it bearable, and I watched the charge slowly decline and prayed the tunes would hold out till we got there. They didn’t.  Our minivan held four other passengers besides Micheline and I, and after three hours we were all hungry and desperately had to pee!  We asked Captain Taz to stop, and he replied that he would but he would keep the van inching along in traffic and we would have to run and catch up.  What? So we ALL ran out when the door opened, I guess he realized he would have some explaining to do with an empty van and no passengers, so he stopped for us reluctantly.  I peed in some Muslim guys backyard (oops sorry!) and we stopped at a roadside stand to buy fruit (some passengers were not as prepared as us with our loaf of white bread and peanut butter) and ran back to the torture device that was our ride.
 The time slowly passed as we alternated between breakneck speed and painfully slow jerkiness, finally we came to a roadside stop where we were the ONLY ladies with our hair uncovered, this was a sight for the rest of the Muslims around, who were lovely and friendly and fascinated by us, especially by Micheline’s blonde hair!  We got back on the road, and our driver told us he “didn’t know” how long it would take for us to get there….lol. We finally arrived around 8pm and were recommended to a guesthouse by our golfer/driver/captain. Since we were too tired to object and the guesthouse looked clean and there was a sweet mural on the wall, we paid the 35 Ringgits ($11.50 CAD) and dumped our stuff, happy to finally be in Penang.  

We dumped our stuff and wandered around a bit, since we were in the heart of Chinatown there was a sweet night market serving all kinds of food and drink, so I sat down with a plate of noodles and we had watermelon shakes and happily went to bed after walking a bit and realizing there’s not much nightlife around!  
Categories: Malaysia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Pak Bara and the Authentic Thai Experience

Our luxurious air-con minibus took us on the two and a half hour ride from Hat Yai to the Pak Bara pier…we got there and quickly realized the only ferry to Ko Lipe was gone for the day, and we were stranded in PB for the night…lucky us.

Our driver took us to the best (only) guesthouse in PB, where we paid a whopping 600 Baht to stay in an interesting (gross) hut. We settled in and tried to figure out what the heck to do with ourselves until 11 the next morning.  We went exploring and quickly learned that since Pak Bara is so far south in Thailand, Muslim is the majority religion and shoulders and knees are a bit of a novelty…we had some teenage fans. We started to walk around, found a Seven Eleven, waited for the power to come on (!) at 5, and bought some snacks. We would get to know that 711 very well by the end of our time there, as NOTHING WAS OPEN! Turns out our luck was not with us that day, it was Ramadan and we were stuck in a very muslim town in the middle of Thailand. Nobody spoke a lick of english, or even really seemed as if they had seen a tourist before, which was so strange as it was a port town with major connections to all of the islands in the area. I guess since it was low season they hadn’t really had much tourist action in a while.

I’m actually glad that our travel plans turned out the way they did that night,  as the three of us had such funny memories of being stuck in Pak Bara and will forever remember our brush with Southern Thai culture. Also: Camille gave an amazing bug report that night (like the evening news but strictly concerning the location and size of each bug in our room) and I lost one shoe to a dog or the hotel staff, who knows. We went out (to the sev, where else) then came back and one of the shoes I had placed outside had mysteriously disappeared!!

After our delicious (disgusting) meal and staring at each other for a while, we decided to bed it up and get ready for our adventure the next day!

Glad we rested up cause it turned out to be what will go down in history as three of the most fun and hilarious days of. My. Life.

Categories: Thailand | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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