*absolutely not the banging that i was hoping for
how did this image brought me joy and peace and, almost, tears?lol
it was officially my last night in Bangkok. Malaysia(Penang)-bound the morning after.
its past midnight and i was still chugging beers in the coolest bar in the city with newfound friends whose names are as long as traffic in EDSA on a rainy friday payday. seriously, whats with the undeniable romance of thais and the alphabet. long names.
pre-schoolers must have hate their culture for this. lol
it was my last day in Thailand- whether i like it or not. unless, i pay the fine for overstaying. which i am not considering, i mean, i can no longer afford it.
Bangkok did live up to its name as the City of Angels. on my last night, that night i met the most beautiful Thai girl-itago natin sa pangalan Angel. i guess i just had my “Before Sunrise” experience (lakas makiuso showing na before midnight.) i got home at 4am in high spirits. what a way to end my stay in this urban jungle. *separate post.
i woke up after two fateful alarm snoozes. it was almost 6am. all my blood and adrenaline shoot up in shock. my bus leaves at 7am and its still far from my place. i packed briskly my more than 30-days worth of belongings( all scattered in room) in 3mins (that’s talent my friend since i have taken the word “disorganize” to a different level).
my friend’s girlfriend was awakened and pulled out mom’s why-are-you-only-packing-now-you-have-no-more-time-you-will-be-late card. off i continued to hustle and pretended i heard nothing. not a good way to start my day =)
so i tossed all my stuff in the bag. pulled out my magic and in less than 5mins i was done with my bag, brush, and bath. with time not on my favor and the cloud in my head caused by lack of sleep and hangover, i skipped the mushy-goodbyes and stormed out. i flagged down the first taxi on the street.
apparently the driver was in a bigger hurry than me. lol. after some skids and swerves i was in the bus station 30mins ahead of time. i picked up some crackers, chips and water from the grocery.
i was tired, sleepy and buzzed. people poured in. it seemed like i was the lone backpacker taking the ride.
the bus conductor approached and i asked him where in Hat Yai can i catch vans for Malaysia later that day. “no more trips at night” he said. i repeated my question, pronouncing the words slowly this time assuming he didnt get it the first time.
then a flat out resounding “no” again from the man. i settled onto my seat for some shut eye. my body was calling for it but my mind was thinking of something else.
its only 7am, its a 12-hour ride, at 7pm there has to be people crossing the border considering it is open until 10pm, after all, it is the main highway that links Thailand and Malaysia.
i composed myself. contemplated.
all the sleepiness, hangover, fatigue had flown out the bus window. all thats left was anxiety. I CAN NOT AFFORD not to cross the border that very day. what i have left is just enough money( no fines/extra expenses) to cross to Penang where i have friends waiting for me.
i frisked my bag, purse, pockets to check my money. one 500 and three 100 notes and some loose change.
if what the bus staff said was true that there will be no more public transpo plying that route at night(8pm onwards). then, these will be the expenses:
- 200 baht fan room accomodation
- 350 baht fare from Hat Yai- Penang
- 500 baht one day fine for overstaying to be paid in Immigration Office
food allowance was not even included and im already short. even if i spend the night in the bus terminal, still, there is no way my 800plus baht can get me through the day/next day and the border.
reality kicking in…
clammy hands. sweaty palms. sharp headache.
this is, actually, my most feared travel nightmare. be broke in a foreign land and deal with corrupt immigration officials. Banged Up Abroad anyone!@?
panic started to get the better of me around midday. i still have some idle time, whole afternoon, to come up with a resolution. at the back of my head, scenes of Banged Up abroad played incessantly.
the bus tore off the north Thailand highway.
it was 5pm. sun was going down, and so were my hopes. i was wishing the driver would pull over and say “we’ve arrived” but he kept dead mum.
the bus continued to race. and so did my, then, flustered heart.
at 7:30pm it was completely dark. night has come but not Hat Yai. if theres one time i wished i have powers to freeze time, then that was it. it was getting late, chance of getting in Hatyai in time for the last buses/vans was dwindling down.
the bus parked in a nondescript lot. 9pm. we’ve arrived. i hurried to get my bag in the trunk and dashed to the ticket counters with hushed hopes. everything tumbled down when the woman said “only tomorrow for Penang.”
i stood infront of the counters dumbfounded. theres only 800bahts in my pocket. i needed atleast 1100 to get through Thailand. i knew no one in the city. my card still refused to shell out money. the nearest person i knew i can borrow money from was thousand kilometers away.
my fear had come and it stared coldy straight to my eyes. i was fukced. big time. alone. nightmare.
i knew im going to get fukced up in the immigration next day for overstaying, and with not enough money to pay the fine im doomed.
“its going to be a long night, im short on money but i better find a room ” i said. my mind was in utter chaos and the bus terminal was just too muddled for some serious strategizing.
with no appetite i skipped dinner. i swung by the internet shop and related the whole story to my friend/host in Bangkok, Eric. he said he will moneygram 1,500 the next day.
sadly it was hard for me to count on moneygram in Thailand. i dealt with them the past week and it took me 2 days just to get the money(my friend from Phuket sent me money to buy her diet pills.) they had trouble locating the branch where i needed to withdraw money from. apparently, you can not withdraw from any branch and unfortunately it took them hours to figure it out. language barrier has something to do with this. and its 500baht per day for overstaying. it had to be fixed, i needed to exit Thailand the soonest possible time.
still in dazed, utter confusion, and a looming mental breakdown i rested in my 200baht fan room.
i would’ve loved to go back to Bangkok as i have lots of friends there but there were no more trips that night. and my then-600baht was not enough to buy a ticket.
having watched a number of NatGeo Channel’s Banged Up Abroad episodes made it worst. i started to worry about the immigration officers i need to deal with and so on.
plus a gazillion of other thoughts. all scary, negative. because, apparently, there are no positive things that could happen to you in this type of situation. =)
it was past midnight and my anxiety heightened. i did everything in my book to calm my nerves down but to no avail- i smoked all the remaining cigarettes, showered twice, mastubated twice… nothing worked. as if the no-sleep night before, whole day locked up in a bus, and all the day stresses, plus masturbating twice werent enough to tire me down to sleep.
i wished i had someone to talk to. the thought of someone talking to me would be most comforting. but i had no means, i dont bring phone when i travel. and i had no laptop.
the romance of being in a foreign land. should i say horror.
if only there is a switch of my brain i would’ve turned it off. it continued to race relentlessly. my body was dead tired but my mind was like a rollercoaster that kept on furling.
i knew if my brain continued to be stressed out like that for a few more minutes, i would’ve snapped out. i would’ve gone insane. first time in my life i had clear understanding of how people fall for mental breakdown/insanity/lunacy and how close i was from that.
i remember the last thing that ran through my head before i slipped to a deep sleep was i talked to God and made a deal with him that if he let me get through the situation, i’d happily go back home and never do backpacking ever again.
5am. passed out.
The big day…
i woke up at 7am on a lighter note, resigned from all the things that troubled me the day and night before. “i will take whatever comes” i said. i had no choice anyway. so there’s no use of worrying or fighting it out. i am all ready to get fukced up.
since Eric has work he asked her girlfriend to go to the bank and do the moneygram. 9am. she got there at 10am but they wouldnt allow her to make any transactions without her passport. ID wasnt enough. she went back to the apartment.
i waited not worried. it felt like i was on a trance.
it was so difficult locating the bank. i asked 3 people for directions and got lost 3 times. its hard to walked around Hat Yai since its a big city.
and then things started to turn around on my favor.
The big change…
i got the money from the bank at 12 noon. i tried buying ticket online using my card and it worked. the trip was scheduled at 2pm. i had 2,200 in my pocket.
van picked me up at 4pm( the only setback that day.) i met some 2 other backpackers in the van whom i eventually became friends with. we got to the thai immigration office at 5pm. as expected, i was ushered away from their line, in lieu of my overstaying, to an office. everything went well though, i just paid the exact amount of 500baht. they stamped my passport. i joined the other backpackers and headed to the Malaysian immigration office. got stamped. rode the van again all the way to Penang. relieved.
back on the good old happy road. it was a familiar feeling, like home. comforting.
79days after i left home.
it was an exhilirating experience to be finally on the Malaysian side. i was sitted in the van with a plastered smile looking at the horizon and thanking god big time. the other travellers in the van kept talking to me but i was only half-listening. i just smiled. i was speaking to god in my head.
from the most pressured experience, tables turned, as i got pompously pampered in Penang. =)
*my Alisan Golden Couch experience was bad. thats the first and the last time i will deal with them.
**my before sunrise experience. infront of Post Bar with my Celine.
if i travelled that night. all these drama shouldve been skipped.
any other way