Autobiography of a fool continued

**Reed-in-Asia true story**

Visa trip to Penang/Emotional trip to Koh Lanta

The start of the journey to Penang - I left the farm in Nakhon Sawan at 07:15 on 16 May, 2008, I had a lift in a pick up truck by the brother of the person that I stay with on the farm, he took me to the railway station at Ban Takhli, which was just twenty kilometres away from the farm. The train that I was due to get to Bangkok was scheduled to leave at 08:05, so I arrived with plenty of time to spare at the train station. The train was all economy class and free seating because it is classed as a commuter train and the fare to Bangkok is only 39 Baht (about $1.20). After I purchased my ticket, I took a slow walk down the platform to where I thought that the first carriage would stop, I had two bags with me, one with wheels that had all of my clothes in and a cool bag over my shoulder that contained some sandwiches that I had made for the journey and five one litre bottles of beer, so it was quite heavy. With my false leg it was a little difficult, but it is just something that I had to do, food and drink on the train is quite expensive and in comparison, what I had in the cool bag cost me about 80% less than it would cost me if I purchased these items on the train.

The train arrived a little later than sheduled, but I had positioned myself quite well and I accessed the first carriage quite easily, I found a seat quickly, stowed my bag in the overhead luggage area and then sat by the window. Further back in the train everyone else was scrambling for seats and eventually some of them made their way to the first carriage and it filled up very quickly, I was already well-settled in my seat, because I had pre-empted all of this having travelled on this train before. We then set off on the four hour journey to Bangkok, the seats were not the most comfortable in the world, but for the cheap price you pay for this train, what do you expect?

Hualumpong railway station Bangkok - On arrival at Hualumpong, Bangkok, I still had two and a half hours to wait for my next train to Butterworth in Malaysia, so I made my way to the small tea stall that I always use there, I ordered a hot cup of tea and just settled down to wait. The people at the tea stall there know me quite well now and we started chatting together in Thai to each other. Being mid-day then, I realised that my beer and sandwiches in the cool bag would be getting a little warm by then, so I asked the people at the tea stall if I could use their cool boxes full of ice, to keep my food and drink cool until it was time for me to leave, they readily agreed, so I stowed everything in the cool boxes. During the day I like to drink tea, so over the following two hours I drank four cups of tea there, then I re-packed my cool bag with the now ice-cool beer and food, paid them for the tea and told the people at the tea stall that I would probably see them again in a few days time on my return from Penang.

The train going to Butterworth is quite a long train when it sets off from Bangkok, but only the first three carriages go all the way to Butterworth, the other carriages are removed at Hat Yai the following morning. I had quite a long walk to my carriage, which was carriage number two and my false leg was starting to play-up and hurt a little when I eventually boarded the train, so I found my seat quite quickly, stowed my large bag under the seats, placed the cool bag next to me on my seat, then sat down and quickly took my false leg off. People around me always stare and take pity on me when I take my prosthesis off and I find it quite amusing, because for me now it is just normal and I don't really think about it. Eventually the carriage filled, but the seat opposite me stayed empty, because the person that had it was in a large group and they were all sitting together talking a few seats away, this was good for me, because I could move around more and stretch my leg(s).

Train No. 35 to Butterworth - The train set off on time at 14:45 and I watched the now familiar railside sites of Bangkok pass by, then the usual stops at Samsen and Bang Sue come and go, followed by the long bridge across the Chaopraya river. I hadn't brought any book with me to read, I always took my own book 'Legless in Thailand' with me to go through it and pencil in changes for any future edition, but I wasn't in the mood for doing that this time. I was going over in my mind how I could possibly change my present situation because it was getting me down and still is, the first idea that I thought about, was to talk things over with a friend in Penang and see if it was possible to change my situation and go to live in Penang in the future. Mulling things over in my head, I decided that I needed my first beer that day and just then the train's F&B representative came along and asked me if I wanted to order any dinner or drinks and I just declined, I had everything that I needed in the cool bag beside me My beer, my food time for a beer

We then stopped at Ratchaburi station and I retrieved my thermos mug from my cool bag, opened my first bottle of beer and filled the mug, I also took out a couple of sandwiches and sat quite happily eating my sandwiches and swilling them down with cool beer. Being a smoker, one of the bad things abouty being on the train is that smoking is not allowed anywhere on the train, not even between carriages now, but also being a regular traveller on this train, I just headed for the nearest western toilet on the train whenever I wanted a cigarette, I locked the door, sat down on the toilet seat, opened the window fully and sat there quite contentedly puffing away and thinking things over in my mind, cigarettes help me with this. The staff came around a little later on the train and started making the bunks for the night, as usaul, being legless I always booked the lower bunk and even though I don't sleep early, I can still sit with the curtain open on the lower bunk and transfer my cool bag to one end of the bed, so I still have my own seat and personal bar travelling my way, legless

I am a slow beer drinker anyway, I don't drink to try to make myself drunk, it is just a habit for me and it helps to relax me, so after my third bottle of beer and my last corned beef, cheese and salad sandwich, everyone else on the train was already asleep and I started getting drowsy, so I closed my curtain drank the last of the beer in the mug and settled down for the night. The next morning, I awoke as we pulled into Hat Yai station, I knew that we had about twenty minutes there whilst they disconnect some of the carriages, so I put my leg on and got off the train for a cigarette, there were a couple of other passengers doing the same so we started chatting about Penang, Thailand, visas and other general stuff, whilst we waited to board the train again.One hour later, we arrived at Padang Besar (the border stop) We all got off the train and went to Thai immigration, it was then that I realised that the train staff had not given me a Malaysian immigration form, so I thought that I would just get one from the staff there on the Malaysian side of the office, but when I asked them for the form, they just smiled and told me that I didn't need one. Malaysin immigration has changed their rules now, you only need your passport and I got my usual 90 day visa on arrival in Malaysia, so whilst the Thai immigration are making things more difficult for tourists all the time, the Malaysians are doing the opposite and making everything much easier for people and attracting tourists. After immigration and back on the train, we still had another three hours to ride until we got to Butterworth, so even though it was only morning then, I decided to have a beer for the journey and again I sat there thinking about my present situation and how I could try to change things for the better.

Back to Penang - On arrival at Butterworth railway station, I slowly disembarked and started the long walk to the ferry, the upward incline always gives my false leg a bit of a problem, but I didn't have to rush, the ferries come every twenty minutes anyway, so I relaxed for a while at the top of the incline, lit a cigarette and got the coins for the ferry entry machines out of my jacket, I always keep these coins for the next time that I use the ferry. At the Penang ferry terminal, I slowly made my way down the long incline there, walked to the main road, waved off all of the taxi drivers who wanted my custom and made my way next door to the bus terminal, I got on a No. 201 bus that goes to Chulia Street and paid my one Malaysian ringgit on entry to the driver, again I always carry this money, always prepared. I got off the bus on Chulia Street opposite the Blue Diamond hotel and went to reception in there, they greeted me and had a room ready for me, because they knew that I was arriving that day, so I signed in as 'Legless', which is how they all know me and address me there, put my bags in my room, then went and sat down at one of the tables at the front of the hotel and ordered my first large mug of tea of the day. Legless back in Penang

I tried to get my mobile phone working because I had bought a Malaysian SIM card on my last trip there, but this time it just kept coming up with the error message 'Unable to register SIM card' I tried it many times with the same result, so no phone! I had two more large mugs of tea and took one of them to go and start working on one of the internet computers in there, but they only had one that was working and there were people queing for it, this had not been in my plans, I could not check my email whilst I was travelling and this time I had brought my 2GB flash drive with me also to try and do my blogs and Asian Diaries whilst I was in Penang. I went back to sit at the front of the hotel and asked one of my friends who work there about the computers and he told me that only one was working now, so then I had an idea, I thought that if I could talk to Low Chi (the owner) then I could make a proposal to him, being a computer engineer, I would work for him and take care of his computers and internet marketing and in return all I needed from him was a free room to live in Penang, no salary and hopefully that would solve my problems and his too. I ordered my first Guinness then, I always drink Guinness in Penang, because it is my favourite beer and it is just too expensive to drink in Thailand. Legless on GunnessI put my proposal to another friend of mine in the hotel, 'Leg' he is a manager and the main music entertainer there, he thought that it was a good idea and that I should put it to Low Chi as soon as he arrived that evening.

I was feeling quite pleased with this prospect and I drank many more Guinness before Low Chi arrived. He was busy when he first arrived, he was pleased to see me and shook my hand, so I just said to him that I would like to speak to him in private later about a business proposal that I had for him, he just nodded and said that he would get back to me as soon as he could. I didn't have any money at that time, because I had not been to an ATM machine yet, the nearest ATM machine was quite far away and I needed to rest my leg, I didn't need money in the hotel anyway, because I was always given credit there until I left, I needed money to start my Thai visa application, but it was only Saturday and I knew that the Thai Embassy was closed at weekends, so the next day would be fine to do that. Low Chi came over later to talk with me and I put my proposal to him, but he said that this year was not a good year for him and although he would like to help me, he just didn't have the funds to do it at the moment. I was disappointed with his reply, but I have gotten so used to bad news over the last few years that I was semi-expecting it, so I had to come up with some other new idea to try and help myself now.

I drank a lot more Guinness that night and I did get a little 'legless' that way too, I even got up with Leg and the other band members on the stage that night and tried to sing my troubles away. I learned from Leg later that evening that it was a holiday in Malaysia on the following Monday, so the Thai embassy would not be open until Tuesday, this was another bit of bad news for me, because although I enjoy Penang it is still quite costly for me, so it would cost me more extra cash to stay there longer and the lack of sufficient funds is my main problem. When I eventually did get access to the one computer in the early morning when everyone was asleep, I fitted my flash drive into the USB slot and the computer recognised it, so I thought that I could then do my blogs and Asian Diaries there in Penang, but when I tried to start my HTML editor on the computer it just would not start at all, even though I had tested it and run it from the flash drive on my own computer before going to Penang.

So this trip was turning into a bit of a bad trip for me because of the following reasons:

1. My mobile phone would not work in Penang.

2. Low Chi could not accept my business proposal.

3. The Thai Embassy was closed for a day because of a public holiday.

4. I could not run my HTML editor to do my blogs and webpages.

The next morning I went to the ATM machine to get some money, but my leg in the prosthesis started chafing and I had to sit down twice on the kerb just to let it relax a little on the return. I then arranged for my visa with the visa service that I always used in Penang and then slowly made my way back to the hotel, I had my usual large mugs of tea in the hotel, but my throat started to hurt as I was drinking and my chest was starting to feel a little tight too, I realised that I was starting with a chest and throat infection, so I asked Leg where the nearest chemist was because I know from experience that Oxytetracycline will cure this for me, Leg went to a nearby chemist for me, but they only had Chinese antibiotics in there, so I took some of those anyway. Over the next couple of days my health got a little worse, but I continued with the Chinese antibiotics and I decided that when I got my visa back, that I would get a minibus to Hat Yai and stay in Hat Yai for a few days because I didn't want to go back to Parasite Farm (my prison) very quickly and I also thought that maybe my new friend in Hat Yai (Daeng) could help by arranging for me to try and get some accomodation in Hat Yai to live in. I am just looking for anywhere now, anywhere where I can take control of my life,my own ATM card and my money again, but without having somewhere to move to first then I cannot do anything.


Hat Yai - I got the minibus to Hat Yai on the Thursday afternoon of the 22nd May, after a previous trip to Penang and getting stuck in Hat Yai before I knew where to stay there now. I arrived in Hat Yai at about 19:00 that evening and directed the minibus to the Guesthouse that I use there. I got a room at the Ladda Guesthouse and then after getting some more money from a nearby ATM machine, I went to Daeng's Cafe (I Red). Daeng was quite surprised and happy to see me, I sat down at my now usual table outside on the pavement and she got me a large bottle of beer Chang. She was quite busy that night, but she did find time to come and sit down with me a little and I tried to explain my present situation to her, although I do know Thai, I don't know it well enough to explain things properly and fully in Thai and Daeng does not know any English at all, so it was a little difficult for me. She did tell me that I could get somewhere to stay in Hat Yai relatively inexpensive, but she had to keep going and taking care of her other customers all evening, so I could not push her on the seriousness of my situation and without the help of someone else then I cannot make any progress about getting away from the farm and the parasites that I live with there. I had a relatively late and inexpensive evening drinking at Daeng's cafe and then I wandered back to my guesthouse and slept quickly.

The next day I woke up at about lunchtime, I put my mobile phone on charge because I would need it eventually, I couldn't put the Thai SIM card in yet, because I did not want the parasites to know that I was back in the country, the last communication that I had with them was just a quick email to say that I was ill in Penang with a throat and chest infection and that I didn't know when I would be able to return to Thailand. After a shower in the room, I went down to the guesthouse reception and informed them that I would be staying one more night and then I went to Daeng's cafe to sit ouside and have a cup of tea, Daeng was not there daytime, she just took care in the evenings, one of her staff was there to serve me though. I sat there all afternoon that day thinking about my situation and how I could possibly get out of it, it would be easy to get out of if I had two legs or a vehicle and I was not in the middle of the Thai countryside miles away from the nearest town, but as things stand, if I do not have somewhere else to go to stay then I am completely stuck with it. That afternoon I went to a nearby travel agents office, because they had internet access in there and now I had not checked my email for a long time due to the circumstances. When I logged into my email, I had more than 1,000 emails waiting for me, I know that most of them are rubbish and just need deleting, but I always look for one that may just offer a little hope. When I had finished on the internet and I was waiting to pay them for the time on there, another customer in front of me was booking transport to Koh Lanta a torist destination and it brought back painful memories for me, but also it gave me a new idea, so I quickly paid for my internet time and went back to Daeng's.

My leg was now badly chafed again, so when I got to Daeng's and sat down, I took my leg off and started to try and pad the weeping wounds with a spare handkerchief that I had. I was doing this when Daeng arrived and when she saw how bad my amputated leg was, she sent one of her staff to go and buy me some sterile dressing and tape for it. When I got these, I fixed my leg up the best that I could and then I ordered a beer. I then started thinking about Koh Lanta and what I could do there, something that I should have done many years previously and whilst I was thinking about it and the girl that still lives there, strong emotions and tears started flowing from me, I tried to stop them by drinking my beer faster than normal, but it didn't help at all. It was at that point in the early evening of Friday the 23rd May that I came to a decision, "I am going to Koh Lanta tomorrow to do what I should have done seven years ago!" I then told Daeng that I was going to the internet shop for a while and I went to book a ticket to go to Koh Lanta the very next day, having done that, I then returned to Daeng's cafe and sat down with a beer to think about this some more.

Still sitting there drinking and thinking later, Daeng told me that she was closing her cafe for a couple of hours, but I could still sit there and if I needed any more beer, the 'Daily Mart' across the road would still be open for me and then she left. It was about 21:30 on that Friday evening and the whole street just seemed deserted of people, very little traffic too, I would have thought the opposite would be the case on a Friday evening in Hat Yai. The only other person around was a Katoey (shemale) hooker standing on the corner nearby in a very short, silky dress and she (he) would put any female to shame in comparison. I had seen her (him) before sitting at Daeng's cafe drinking beer with some other Katoeys, so she (he) didn't really bother me at all. I was just sitting there drinking beer and thinking about Koh Lanta when the heavens opened up, it started really pouring down with rain, so the Katoey came to sit under the shelter with me. As the rain eased off after a while, a car pulled up nearby, picked up the Katoey and then quickly drove away. I needed some more beer at that point so I went across the road to the Daily Mart, bought a large bottle of beer Thai and some cigarettes and went back to sit outside Daeng's cafe on the street that was still completely deserted.

Daeng returned at about midnight that night, she asked me if I wanted anything to eat, so I asked her for a pork fried rice, which she cooked for me quite quickly, I really needed it I was very hungry then, maybe caused by all of the thinking that I had been doing. Then other people started appearing at the cafe and within one hour it was quite full, so it looks to me like the Friday nightlife starts very late in Hat Yai. After one more beer at Daeng's, I paid for everything that day and I told her that I was leaving for Koh Lanta that morning, I thanked her for being a good friend and I returned to my guesthouse via the ATM machine, this was going to cost me a lot of money, but I hoped that it was going to be worth it.

Hat Yai - Train Station Area Map

Hat Yai Train Station Area Legless hangout

'A little background to the upcoming encounter'

For people reading this story that have already read my book 'Legless in Thailand' then by just saying that I was now on my way to meet Noyna again, you would have a reasonable idea of what I am going into, 'the autobiography of a fool continues!' For people who have not yet read my book, then here is a little background for you:

Catfish restaurant Saladan, Koh Lanta - Noyna and Ian built with love

At Koh Lanta in the Catfish restaurant there, is the Thai girl that I spent ten years of my life with and for most of that time I was employed as a Project/Country Manager by a large UK defence electronics company 'Ferranti International'. Noyna and I lived together in many countries where I represented Ferranti, in Indonesia, Australia, South Korea, UK, Singapore and eventually back to Thailand when I took voluntary redundancy. Then Ten years ago in 1998, I met another Thai girl named Noi in Bangkok and I fell instantly head over heels in love with her, I tried to justify this to myself at the time as being 'fate' or as finally meeting my true 'soulmate'. Consequently, I left Noyna to live together with Noi. Other than coming to get married and live in Thailand initially in 1986, I have never made such a huge mistake in my life as I did when I left Noyna for Noi.

Over the following three years many things happened, Noyna tried to commit suicide twice over me, I had a near-fatal motoring accident and lost one of my legs and I also saw Noi for what she really was, just a money-grabbing whore with no feelings for anyone except herself and her bank account. So I have spent the last seven years regretting ever leaving Noyna and feeling very sorry for what I did to her and us. I have tried to contact her many times over the years, through friends and also directly on the telephone, but she just hung up the phone everytime without speaking when she knew that it was me on the line. When I was recuperating from my accident in the North East of Thailand, I wrote my book Legless in Thailand to try and ease my mind by putting all of the memories that were driving me slowly insane, into words. Then on the 23rd May, 2008, I was in the South of Thailand having just returned from my visa trip to Penang and for the first time in ten years I made the decision to go and see Noyna in person. I knew exactly where she was, because I built up the Catfish restaurant in Koh Lanta with her just before I left her and I found out from other people in Thailand, that even after being alone for ten years she had never replaced me with any other man.


Back to Koh Lanta again! - I was picked up from the travel agents the next morning at 11:15 and taken to Hat Yai bus station, I was then transferred to a medium sized coach and we set off for Trang, the journey to Trang took two hours and I finally disembarked at Trang railway station and I was taken to a nearby travel agents 'KK Travel' where I had to wait for a minibus that would take me to Koh Lanta. I had two hours to wait for the minibus, so I just sat there thinking about the pros and cons of what I was doing and trying to prepare myself for the best and worst case scenarios that I was heading for. The girl working in the KK travel agency saw me sit down and take my leg off and came over to talk with me, with everything going through my mind I was pleased to have someone to talk to, I opened up to her and told her exactly what I thought that I was going into on Lanta and she tried to reassure me by saying to me that things were never as bad as you expect them to be and that Noyna would probably take me back into her life with open arms now.

When the minibus arrived, I said goodbye to the girl at the travel agency and she wished me good luck as I got in the vehicle. The trip to Koh Lanta from Trang takes about two hours, so I had a lot of time to think again and I kept trying to imagine what Noyna's reaction was going to be like. Maybe there would be many people in the restaurant and I could just walk in and sit at a back table near the sea, maybe she won't recognise me after ten years, I have to try and walk like there is no problem with my leg, because she knows about my leg from her sister Bungon (my estranged wife), so I must try and walk normally, then maybe I can get some time to assess things properly before I talk to her. Then I saw some rain outside and I remembered that it was May and now low tourist season, maybe she isn't there now, we used to close up the restaurant for low season from the end of April until the end of October, I had forgotten about that. Then I thought that maybe she would get mad and start screaming and shouting at me, or maybe get a large knife from the kitchen and try and stab me, her sister had tried that on me once before!

Just maybe, but very unlikely, the girl in the travel agency might be right and when Noyna sees me in person, she will run into my arms and hold me and maybe then I could stay there with her and that would solve another problem for me in Nakhon Sawan, we could start to live our lives anew together again back in the restaurant. Then I thought to myself "No way! Things like that only happen in films, but not in real life", so I started preparing for the worst again. I was still thinking about all of this when we started exiting the second ferry at Saladan, Koh Lanta, there were about six other people in the minibus and the driver started asking everyone where they wanted to be dropped off, there are resorts all over the island, so the other people started shouting their destinations, then the driver turned to me and asked me where I wanted to go and I just said "Here in Saladan" and he dropped me off at the main road there. Saladan had changed quite a lot since I was last there, there were now banks, minimarts and internet cafes, there weren't even any telephones here the last time I was here.

There were very few people around when I got out of the minibus, so I just started walking slowly to the T - junction at the end of the road pulling my case on wheels behind me, my leg started hurting badly again and I was limping slightly. I turned to the right at the junction and started walking slowly down the road and looking around at the changes, there were still a few shops and restaurants open, but I couldn't see any tourists around, as I started nearing the end of the road where I knew the 'Catfish' was situated, I thought that maybe it would be closed for low season just like I had thought before, but the doors were open and I saw that she now had a couple of wooden chairs on the raised porch at the front, so I flopped in one of the chairs and tried to rest my leg a little. Looking through the doors I could see the books for sale in the front, shop part of the restaurant, but looking through to the restaurant itself at the rear near the sea, I could see nobody, so I just sat there, lit a cigarette and let my leg ease. I had just finished my cigarette when a young Thai boy came out through the doors, he saw me sitting there and asked me what I would like, so I just asked him if Noyna was there and he replied that she was and that she was at the back of the restaurant fishing. This is something that we both used to do every day there before, I would spend every evening at the back of the restaurant fishing and drinking beer with Noyna sitting next to me.

I got to my feet, left my bag on the front porch and started walking through to the restaurant, I asked the boy with me for a beer Chang and I continued through alone whilst he got one for me. I spotted Noyna off to one side sitting on a bench near the sea, she saw me, but she said nothing, so I sat down on the bench about two metres away from her and then she started. All of the scenarios that I ran through in my head on the way to Koh Lanta, none of them were like what happened next, she just turned to me and said in a low voice "What are you doing here?" and I was just about to reply when she then said "I want you to get out now! I don't want to hear your voice and I don't want to see you or hear from you ever again", I then stood up again and I just mumbled to her that "I was expecting something like this", but it was very far from the truth, I thought that I would have at least had the chance to talk to her and try and explain things to her about my feelings and what had happened to me over the years, but this was not what I expected. So I just left again quickly, my leg was hurting so I flopped down in the chair at the front porch again and pulled it off, then Noyna just told the boy to close the doors and lock them and the last thing that she said to me was "Even the cats don't want to see you!", then the doors were locked. We had seventeen cats when we lived together and she still had a few of them around now.

I sat there for a while trying to take everything in and trying to analyse it, but I was just devastated having come all of this way to see her and get a clear picture of her face again, but with everything that had happened in just a couple of minutes, I couldn't even remember seeing her face properly. I then put my leg on again and started to walk back down the road pulling my case behind me, what I really needed then was a beer, so when I had gone about two hundred metres down the road, I spotted another restaurant with a table and chair at the front, so I flopped into the chair and pulled my leg off again, which was hurting badly again now. The lady at the restaurant asked me if I would like to sit inside and I just said no and asked her if she had a large bottle of beer Chang, she then brought me the beer and I sat sipping it and looking down the road at the 'Catfish', I could see the porch at the front and the chairs, but no sign of life anywhere near there. I was thinking that maybe Noyna would come to her senses and come looking for me, but then I thought "No! Things like that, good things, don't happen in my life, so just accept it as it is now".

I sat at that restaurant for a long time and it was well dark by then, I just kept playing those couple of minutes in the 'Catfish' over in my head, but try as I may, I could not picture her face, I don't know why, maybe it was her words that affected my senses, or maybe I just didn't look her directly in the face in the heat of the moment. The lady at the restaurant where I was now sitting came and asked me where I was staying in Lanta and I told her that I wasn't staying anywhere, so then she made some suggestions of guesthouses not too far away, but I was not really interested. she then started asking me why I had come to Lanta and I had to explain to her that I had lived there before and I owned the 'Catfish' restaurant, the lady said that she knew Noyna and she asked a few more questions, but I just said that Noyna and I didn't get along together anymore and I just continued drinking my beer. It was about 22:00 then and I asked the lady if there was an internet cafe nearby that was still open and she pointed out a travel agent on the corner at the T junction and said that they had internet for people to use, so I paid her for my beer, put my leg on and walked away pulling my case to the internet shop. The people in the shop led me to a computer station and I thought that maybe by checking my email it would be a distraction for me, but after trying for several minutes, it became obvious that there was a problem with the mouse and I couldn't click on anything, so I just gave up. I told the people in there about the problem and I asked them how much I owed them and they just waved any money away.

So then I set off walking again and headed for the minimarts that I had seen earlier, one of them had two large circular tables with benches around them at the front of the shop, so I went there, put my bag by a table, went inside and bought some beer, then I sat outside on a bench, I took my leg off and started drinking my beer and smoking heavily. Noyna had been on my mind for a very long time now, whenever I had thought optimistically at times and thought about a better future, those good thoughts had always included Noyna, all of that would have to change now, I would just have to try and push her memory from my mind now, because now I know that I am totally 'persona non grata' with her, but what do I do now? What have I got to look forward to? Just going back to Parasite farm in Nakhon Nowhere? In the words of the well-known song "She's out of my life!" I ended up sitting / sleeping there all night that night, I got hungry in the middle of the night and luckily there was a 24 hour 7-11 store not too far away, I had nothing to eat all the day before, so I just stuffed myself with burgers and hotdogs and swilled them down with lots more litres of beer.

I slept a little bit on the bench around the table in front of the minimart that night and I awoke the next morning around 08:00. I decided then to go back to the restaurant where I had drank beer the evening before and see if they were open and had any hot tea to drink. The restaurant was open when I got there and the lady there made me some tea, I sat at the same outside table and I kept staring at the 'Catfish', but no signs of life there, then I had to tell myself again "Let her go now, clear her from your mind completely!", but how do you erase ten years of the best part of your life out of your memory completely? I then decided that I had to leave that day, my money was running low even without the usual assistance of the parasites and like it or not, at least the beer is cheap and you have a bed / sofa on Parasite farm. I asked the lady then if there was anywhere nearby where I could book transport back to Trang and she said that she would book it for me and that they would come and pick me up at the restaurant at 10:30 and Just as she said, the minibus picked me up from the restaurant and we set off back to Trang. On the ferry as I was leaving Koh Lanta and still looking at the 'Catfish', I inwardly told myself "Goodbye Lanta, I shall never see you again, too many painful memories here for me".

Careless Whisper - George Michael 

My sketch map of Saladan

Saladan Koh Lanta

Catfish restaurant

Back to Parasite Farm! - Back at KK Travel in Trang, the girl there was surprised to see me so quickly, so I told her what happened and she told me to forget about it now and I agreed with her. But now back to my main problem, how do I escape from Parasite Farm? I then walked across to the railway station to book my train back to Bangkok that night, but I was informed that the train that night was full, so I inquired about the next day and he said that the next day was almost full too, they had just one spare seat, a first class upper bunk sleeper, which, being legless that seat/bunk was useless to me. So I gave up then and quite obviously by then I believed that the whole of this visa trip to Penang and Koh Lanta and all of the associated services were jinxed for me. I went back to KK and asked the girl there if there were any cheap guesthouses nearby, because it looked like I would be stuck in Trang for a few days, she asked me why and I told her about the problem with the trains, so she then phoned the railway station and tried to book a lower bunk sleeper seat to Bangkok and she was told the same as I was. I then left my bag at KK and went across the road to a nearby cafe and got myself a pot of hot tea.

I was just sitting there enjoying my tea, replaying the day before in my mind and not having to worry about anything quite as much that day, "So I am stuck here for a few days, nevermind! Anywhere is better than Parasite farm" Then the girl from KK came over to see me and she told me that the railway station had just phoned her and they had a cancellation for a first class lower bunk sleeper seat that evening, but it was quite expensive and it would cost me 1,480 Baht to Bangkok. I then finished my tea quickly and went with her to her office, I asked her where the nearest ATM machine was because I had to get what was left of my money and she said that it was quite far, but one of her staff would take me on his motorbike. I got some money from the ATM and then the guy dropped me off at the railway station, I went straight to the ticket counter and asked him for the lower bunk for that evening and the guy there said that they didn't have one available, so I was then a little confused, I told him that I had just been informed about a cancellation and he said to me that he had one cancellation, but it had been booked already by KK Travel, I almost fell over laughing at this, it was playing out like some TV farce, so I said to him that I was the booking from KK Travel and he gave me the ticket. Back at KK, I showed them the ticket and thanked the girl (Tippy) for her help, she then told me that it was quite far to the First Class seats on the train so they would take me and my bag on the motorbike to the far end of the platform when the train was ready and this they did for me.

Goodbye Koh Lanta and Trang! Hello again Nakhon Nowhere!


British expat amputee in Thailand

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