CHIANG SAEN

453 Miles north from Bangkok and located just below the Golden Triangle, it is city on the Mekong River that flows downhill from China. To me the most significant values of Chang Saen it is small on the Mekong and almost no tourist, but has lots of local culture because it is more or less a waterway port for large boats bringing and taking cargo in and out of China.



PLUS, you can hook passage on one of the freighter if you have your China Visa and live with a bunch of very dirty people as you cruise up river on the Mekong into China.



CHANG SAEN BUS

OK, back to tying, I am now on the bus and hopefully the bus leave soon because it does not have air and is a slow steam sauna for the passengers as you can not really open the windows because it is raining, you could but there locals always seem complacent to cook so hard to argue.



So I should be in Chang Sane in a couple of hours and situated by 10 am. (The trip took 4 hours, oops.) There for some reason is a lady that arranged every person on the bus, I am now outside the normal Traveler channel and in the local channel, so there is no other Farangs on the bus, I am with Thailand. The lady that does not speak any English and looks at me quite bewildered when I requested,

“Please sit a night girl next to me.”



Some how put a girl, but lost the idea on the nice, as the girl next to me is annoyed with the lady for having to sit with me and contrary to popular myths about Thai people liking foreigners, it is in my opinion just the opposite as they consider us quite low classed, I have no idea how they come to the class system idea, but they are definite snobs in Thailand and that can be even from the way below the threshold people as well as the got rich by being inside the loop of corruption group.



Strange the is more leg room and a place under the seat for my small backpack, while the big super fancy one almost forced me to sleep with my small pack on my lap. Nice cold and sardines for the fancy, and big spacious, and hot for the cheapie, but the seat does not recline on this bus, the big bus is quite nice and in reality there is nothing better.



A group of Swedish girls got robbed of all their money in the bags for some reason they left on the bus at a bus stop, I ALWAYS take the small bag with me where ever I go as bus people tend to rummage through and snag thing while they clean the bus or tell you that you must leave the bus so they can steal. This is not real common, but it does happen more than people will admit, because there is no real benefit in say,

“I got robbed because I was stupid and left my bag on the bus full of cash.” For one thing that is what a money belt, neck pouch, secret pockets or other methods is for, “money.”



The girl just moved away the instant the bus started to move, I told you she did not like me, but I am reciprocating as best I could. Hard to feel a good snub for me, just sort of immune, everyone is always looking at me and thinking I am strange, so what is new, even the foreigners think I am strange, but I do not have tattoos, body piercing, or dreads, so in reality I really do not fit in correctly.



Saw a shirt that says, “HoboGirl” on it, some store in England and I took a photo.



BANGKOK - CHANG MAI - CHANG SAEN

Monday, June 14, 2004 7:36 am



Last night the skies opened and dropped a bucket on the Khao San Road area right as my bus was ready to leave for Chang Mai and life was not so pleasant.



The way it works is you go to a little travel agent, which there is one on every corner of the area and buy a ticket, the ticket will cost anywhere from 30 Baht to 350 Baht according to how na๏ve you are or how good they are in convincing you that they are the cheapest, and special, in the end you are all on the same big Air Conditioned bus full of Farang (Foreigners) and get the same cow treatment.



But they way the pick you up is you go to the little agency where you buy the ticket and maybe if your lucky a van comes and picks you up and takes you to the bus. I am more than happy to buy tickets from the Peachy Guesthouse because I think they are cheapest and bus stops right in front of the Guesthouse.



RAIN? Remember… Buckets, it was raining very hard.



The Peachy had sold all their ticket and I had to go with another line that was a different bus, but same same and just the same, but I ha to walk to the corners. Now some theories go that a backpacker is a person prepared to live out side, cooking, eating, and prepared for the weather, which I suppose I could be considered a backpacker.



But there is the more common idea that a backpacker has a backpack which is true also, so the other backpacker are getting totally drenched and the luck ones have sign boards or 1 dollar ponchos over their heads. The unlucky ones are drenched.



I had my trusty wear only a few times a year, but when you need it you need it poncho, so I was prepared, plus I also have a small umbrella, which is all the reasons why Ryanair was able to whack me for extra weight, I am maybe too prepared. (I do not have a tent.)



But we walk in just ugly water following a guy that speaks five words of English down the road and he said,

“It there.”



He pointed, well I had done this trip before and before the girls thought they had to walk only may 50 meters, I stopped them and told them it was more of a quarter of mile and not just there. Thai people have a purposeful lack or either care, empathy, or ability to think, I sometime just think they are cruel and will tell a person to go get in the worst conditions, and not even help you to prepare. I am very experienced with their methods and if they point me to go somewhere I am positive and extremely aggressive if needed to make sure they tell me clearly and do not evade or play stupid on where we are going.



So I walked the girls got soaked, we all got on the bus with other people coming from every small two bit travel agency in the area, still quite hot, sweaty, and steamy, I get on the bus and try to squeeze into the seat. I get arranged and life is safe and good, I am in the front or middle of the bus where it does not bounce up and down like the rear that give me motion sickness, so I am happy.



So I am sitting waiting and hoping that I do not have some dredge of Khao San Road sit next me and make funny noise in an inhospitable and unfriendly way all night, it is always amazing at the self-delusional type mentality of grandeur the losers in life can have about themselves. Now I say loser because it is obvious, not a refutable idea.



But… Israel Babe, sits and smiles….



Life is good, slept the night next to a sweet Israel girl and just when you think life is a little on the wrong path I find I am on the right path.



I am sitting here in the Chang Mai Bus terminal, and will go directly to Chang Saen from here or by way of Chang Rai. I have not paid a total of some 250 Baht to get to the Golden Triangle area of Thailand.



I am in the channel and going for the strike on this trip.

250 Baht is about 6 Dollars U.S. and for the same amount of distance in Europe would have cost me about 70 Dollars U.S. and I would have to have sat in a smoke filled room.

(453 Miles as the crow flies from Bangkok to Chang Saen.)



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