Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Trat, Thailand

Eat some crickets with some midgets. Sounds weird because it was. Plus I am feeling slightly funny from a combination of sleep deprivation, strange Thai herbal drinks and the obligatory drop of beer.

Basically I am know in Trat, a transition place that manages to attract travellers by possessing the fascinating asset of being the biggest town near the Cambodian border. I have set myself an arbitrary target of spending Christmas at Angkor so I moved out of Sukhotai and tried again to catch a train to Bangkok. Yesterday was Constitution day in Thailand. The constitution they have now was drafted in 1997 so it sounds like some officials wanted another day off. Anyway all was full except for the dreaded 3rd class. I should have found a guesthouse and sacrificed a day in Phnom Penh but I decided that I would make the border by this evening at the latest.

The stupid decision to slum it as well as the crickets I will blame on Germany. I was moving about with a German student and we decided to kill time doing what his and my culture do best; drink beer. This is what created the bright notion that 3rd class would be fun and full of folklore. This also led to the purchase of a bag of deep fried insects for snacks. Oh, the wisdom that hops bring.

Sleep was out of the question from the word go. Even if you can make do with the arse-numbing wooden seats, vendors rove the train constantly and make sure you are well aware of their wares even if no-one has bought anything for the past 5 hours.Thai can be a melodic language but not when hawking bags of cooked rice. Then it becomes fire-alarm strident. And to ensure we didn't miss one bit of this fun packed journey; enter the midgets.

This was a crew of 4 elderly, very drunk chaps who were nipple height to most Thais and navel-fluff gazers for the Teuton and me. They would stumble around the carriage and occasionally stop to spew some litany at folks even if these were sleeping. This would end by an angry outburst from the recipient of their chatter and they would move on. They came up to our bench and we decided to do as the romans and listen for 5 minutes before waving them away. They took a break to sit on the floor and stare at each other for a while then got up and started their little game again.

By the time they got to us again we had polished off the last of our beers and were sampling the insects (they taste like meat flavoured cereals, by the way, and are not that interesting). My fellow Saxon then thought it would be a brilliant idea to feed some of these to the drunken midgets. They liked them and buggered off only to return with various tasty snacks of their own, more beer and small vials of some herbal drink. All these were passed around and we were quite a merry bunch by the time we reached Bangkok despite having a common vocabulary of 5 words.

I was too wired to do the smart thing and get some kip so I pushed on to Trat. I now have to regain enough wits to sort out my transport tommorow so I thought I would use the blog to focus and unwind. It seems to be working.

Next stop, somewhere in Cambodia

Sweet dreams,



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