The Long Road Home

6:04 PM Shanky 0 Comments

This is a continuation from my travelogue about Kanchanaburi

After a great trip to Kanchanaburi, the paradise that is almost forgotten by tourists, it was time to pack the bags and hit the road home. Have you noticed that the start of the trip is always full of energy and it gets to zero towards the end. What took like 2 seconds to reach the destination from home seems like 2 years while returning!? Well, I guess we all feel that way. But this journey back from Kanchanaburi was as eventful and adrenaline pumping as my onward journey was and hence this day turned out to be an awesome one with good lot of experiences in itself. whoever said that the journey is as important as the destination was a genius!

A pleasant surprise awaited me when I boarded the bus at Kanchanaburi which will take me to Suphanburi. The bus was loaded with Dutch, Deutsche and Brit backpacking students (Of course all girls). I could not believe this! This is the perfect platform to complete Operation Good Indian. I am just disgusted or frustrated by the foreigners who think they know all about India and Indians and pass 'smart ass' judgements. I am seriously pissed! I have been browsing the Lonely planet's thorntree forum for sometime now and the kind of image that foreigners have of India(ns) is pathetic. I just kept to myself and my book till the conductor was asking them 5THB extra than the usual 45THB. Now is the time to be the good samaritan and make my country proud! I jumped in (albeit in a less than heroic way) and asked the conductor in my master class Thai about the extra he was demanding. He explained that these ladies are going to Singburi and not Suphanburi. I got confused and asked him if this bus goes till Singburi and he said yes (or so I thought). I then explained the 5THB difference to them and they were happy. After that two of the girls were chatting with me for a few minutes and everything was silent again. Mission Good Indian accomplished!

But this does not end here for us. As it happens, the bus did not go till Singburi and the conductor pocketed the extra 5THB per passenger in his pocket. His beer for the night has been sponsored by naive farangs. I was sure by now that the girls looked at me as an accomplice to the sham. Shame on such people, be it Thais or Indians who make others look bad! But fate did not let me ponder too much on this, he had better plans. Once we alighted the bus, we saw a deserted bus station and the tuk tuk guys were literally all over us offering a ride to the best hotel. Yes, the last bus has left for the day and we were stranded in Suphanburi for the night! Though I knew that cheap taxi exists only in an utopian world, being the optimist I am I led the group (of me and the girls) inside the bus station to fend for taxi or any such alternative. Of course, it was exorbhitantly priced and we had to reject it. But the trouble was I was talking in broken Thai and the girls did not understand a bit. They only understood the outcome, which was that they cannot afford the taxi at that price. Here is a stranger who looks like he is helping but there is nothing coming out of his acts. Obviously anyone would be suspicious now and they started giving me the looks (Of course the nasty ones). 

I ignored those vile looks anyway, I had a bigger problem to worry about than their looks. I am a guy and they are girls. Obviously the whole world will be ready to help them while people will be laughing at my problem. India Vs Rest of World is over and Boys Vs Girls has started in my mind! I come out of the bus station dejected, trying to flag down a car or something! Just then I saw a familiar face. But that guy was trying to hide or at least get out of my view. My heart was jumping with joy and did a reverse somersault. I blurted out pointing my finger at him - "Hey you! you are Taxi driver from Ang thong?! I know you". He just replied with a wide eyed shake of his head. This was my lucky break and I cannot let it go, so I persisted "I know you. You take to Karaoke". Now he identifies me, "Yeah! But no taxi. Taxi in Bangkok flood!" I muttered a few expletives at the flood this time and asked him "How you go Ang Thong?" Now, to communicate to a Thai who "knows" English, you need to talk like them. It might be perceived as mocking but what the hell, it gets the job done better! So screw the grammar. Make it a lean sentence with only essential information so that his brain can process it quickly. It really helps!

Now, after this he agreed to call his friend who has a pickup truck and drop me at my colony doorstep. He is the guy who my friends and I used to hire when we felt like going to the Karaoke bars in Ang Thong for a weekend drink. So we have given him a lot of business and he better not mess with me :P We are to split the pickup truck cost, to which I happily agreed. Now, the girls were there when the negotiations were happening and have by now confirmed I am a total jerk who in the mask of helping them was trying to rip off money from them. Now that I cannot, I am just fleeing. So, after securing myself it was Mission Good Indian again. I asked my taxi driver "friend" if he has any more friends with pickup trucks to help these lovely ladies. He gave them some numbers and asked them to call. By that time our pick up truck had come. I guess the numbers had worked cause the two who chatted me in the bus were now smiling and waving. Dear Farangs/Phirangs, Indians are not bad. We stare at you because you are different just the same reason why you travel to India (and stare at her) because she is different. 

Falcon calling Mother - Operation Good Indian complete. Returning to base!

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