Saturday, September 1, 2007

Mystery Train
The mystery is why am I such a sucker for hard luck cases? Inspired by the idyllic glow cast by the Hua Hin train station several weeks ago, this weekend I determined to hop a car south a few hours to Chumphon, a smaller beach town I'd never been, just for the helluva it. In the meantime, M, the hardluck case Cypriot/Brit who'd introduced me to the station's joys had reappeared.

He's been living penniless, without a valid visa with a poor family of "forest people" on the outskirts of Hua Hin where he says they've been feeding him "fried tiny frogs and beetles". I don't doubt it. But I made the mistake of mentioning my weekend plans and after telling me he just wanted to meet me at the station for a "little chat" he showed up with a ratty backpack and hopes I'd take him along.

Sigh. I sprung for two tickets and since then have regretted every minute, beginning from his inability to keep ahold of his ticket within 3 minutes of almost missing the train because he was rolling a (yes, tobacco) cigarette. After I found his ticket on the floor where he'd dropped it, seconds before the conductor almost booted him, he fell asleep snoring and coughing loudly to the disgust of our fellow passengers. But not before he'd seen a young Canadian watching a video iPod near us and asked loudly, as if he'd just arrived from a cave in 19th century Mars, "Wos' 'he wotchin' wha' the bloo'y 'ell is tha?" He'd never seen an iPod though he's 10 years younger than me.

"Well, you know a Walk-Man?" I said slowly as though talking to a mentally challenged 7-year old. "It's an I-POD. I-POD. Like a Walkman only with pictures, video." I didn't even go into the whole tape-is-dead deal.

Our train was late and upon arrival at about 12.30am vs the original 9somethingpm, I disembarked ahead of M who stumbled off completely disoriented, demanding to know where we were and why we weren't in Hua Hin. No, he wasn't stoned and had only had a couple beers. I couldn't account for his confusion and after 20 minutes of first patiently explaing, then screaming that we had: "GONE FROM POINT A. HUA HIN. AND NOW WE'RE AT POINT B. CHUMPHON. PERIOD."

"Bu' I don' unnderstan'" he said. "Sto'p shoutin' a'me."

Nothing like wandering the dark, nearly deserted streets of a strange Thai beachtown at 1am with an impoverished moron who mystically dropped 50 IQ points on the rails in 3 hours. We wandered and finally found a guesthouse. The good news is that it's small, inexpensive, clean, has a working Internet connection, and the staff, including a 20something year old transsexual "lady-boy" with possibly the best breasts I've ever seen, are friendly. The owner is a rotound, chatty, young Thai woman who calls herself Kay and speaks better English than M. The bad news is that Kay just had to leave suddenly: "A cousin's mother has swallowed poison! I must go to hospital."

The road goes on forever and the party never ends...


Peter said...

Tnx for that one. Look forward to seeing part II if there will be one.

Patrick said...

Good god...
Thailand does attract such fine upstanding Westerners, donit?

Not sure you belong there, Mr. Wild And Crazy Guy.

Awesome story.
Glad you finally took the train.
Not so glad that the guy who invited himself along is clinically MAD.