Sitting by myself waiting for the train that is going to take me to Chiang Mai I realise that this is where my adventure begins. For the last week or so I’ve been staying with a South African friend and her Thai partner and if any time I felt like it, or was feeling lonely, I had them to talk to. Now it is only me by myself that I’m with, and from here on in I have to accept all, enjoy all the adventures and confront any of my worst fears that come my way.
Having a bit of a deep moment and just before I was about to burst into tearsI tell myself that there is nothing to fear and I will probably be in the same compartment as a group of Swedish female nurses, on their way to an erotica convention in Chiang Mai. Quite likely, yes I know.
I board the train and as I’m travelling overnight I’ve booked a sleeper coach. Unlike in SA the sleeper coach consists of double bunks that run along both sides of the coach. When you want some privacy you close the curtain that hangs over your bunk. At the end of the coach is the toilet.
Instead of the Swedish nymphomaniacs there are 8 Thai women in their 60’s who are probably going to a Majung convention. ‘Oh well, almost’ I say to myself.
An hour into the trip I feel my stomach start rumbling. I’ve heard about the possibility of having an upset stomach while travelling in Thailand but I’m not too concerned as I haven’t been eating too much and the toilets so far have been westernised and not starting blocks.
I walk past the 8 women, all who smile at me as I make my way to the toilet. I open the door and my worst fear is realised. Instead of a seated toilet, there’re starting blocks.
Now the one thing I absolutely hate is having to squat when going to the toilet. It is the most uncomfortable thing for me to do. After 2 knee ops it is just the worst. But my stomach is really letting me know that something has to come out.
So I squat down and am hanging on for dear life on the one rail that there is provided I’m very aware of where I’m aiming as I really don’t want to hit my shorts while trying to keep steady as the train rocks from side to side.
All is good and the mission accomplished. Very proud of myself I stand up. Now just to digress, it seems that in every toilet in Thailand there is a hose with a shower head that one uses as a douche. They have a tap that you switch on and off but this one has a pedal and as I stand up I step on the pedal and water shoots out all over my shorts. Instantly I think of the 8 Majung champions I have to walk past.
(Read on if you dare as now it becomes very explicit)
I go about washing my behind and the effect of the water loosens something inside and I realise that there is more to come waiting on the horizon. So knees creaking, arm straining, thighs screaming and the vein in my head throbbing from all this physical torture I squat down. I’m struggling to keep my balance and I’m swaying from side to side while going about my business. If anybody had to walk in at that moment they probably would have thought that I was some crazy madman trying to redecorate the floor with a new painting technique.
Finally my ordeal is over. My whole body is sore and the vein in my head is pulsating so much that it feels like it’s bopping to Michael Jackson’s ‘thriller’
I turn around to assess the damage , and as I bend down to pick up the hose my glasses slip out of my pocket and plant themselves in the middle of it all, perching themselves just like the flag on the moon. I don’t know whether to laugh or to cry.
15 minutes later everything is clean and I mean….SPOTLESS, S-P-O-T-L-E-S-S. I study my glasses thoroughly before putting them back on.
Standing in my underpants, wet shorts in hand I gingerly open the door hoping that there isn’t a queue waiting to come in. I step into the aisle and embarrassingly walk past the 8 women.
As Thai people are very polite nothing is said but I can see from the look on their faces that they know exactly what is going on and they turn away quickly.
I hop into bed, close the curtain and pretend I’m asleep. (To the sound of muffled giggles in the background)
So my trip so far looks like this:
Ripped off by taxi drivers – 3
Been approached by lady guys-1
Almost drowned in a rainstorm-1
Confronting worst fears-1 (Still trying to work out if I came out on top)