…but that won’t stop me twittering about it!
A lazy start. Full American breakfast by the sea. But still staring at dark threatening skies. Not much point in sightseeing. In Bang Saen there’s not much to see anyways.
Basically I was waiting for a call to say my passport was ready. Yesterday I was told “by midday.” So I checked out of my hotel, drove over to Pattaya, and then called. “Oh, maybe by 2pm … or 3pm” which made it sound like “or maybe not at all.” But I was assured “it will be today.” Okay, I wasn’t in any real hurry, except I knew I had at least a five hour drive ahead of me.
My next planned stop, for two nights – or maybe more if the weather improves – is a small town called Pranburi. It’s a short ways south of the mess known as Cha Am/Hua Hin.
So, while waiting for a passport, what does one do in a place with nothing to do do? Shop of course. This whole trip has cost me a fortune. There’s so many things available that I never see anywhere near home. Mostly foods… pâté, terrine, rösti even! I was wondering how to get the pâté home without it spoiling, when I thought “you don’t, you Muppet.” You eat it. So I bought some bread, a knife and a plate and now have some nice lunches to look forward to.
Anyhoo, I managed to get my passport at 3:15 and am now legally a resident of Thailand. Bliss. It’s been a long time since I’ve been legally resident anywhere! And the whole bunch of bureaucracy takes up three full pages in my passport. One page for a 90 day visa, which replaces the 30 day visa-exempt chop. Then a one year “non Immigrant Type O visa (based on retirement)” which replaces the 90 day visa. Are you following all this?
“And why a third page?” you might ask. Because if I so much as step foot outside the country, that whole lot gets cancelled! So another page is needed for something called a “Multiple Re-entry Visa.” Makes perfect sense. To someone. But hey, I’m legal until November 2015, so I’m not complaining.
Then I fired up Ms. GPS who plotted a route and assured me I’d be at the hotel by Beer O’Clock. And then I’m sure she had a little chuckle to herself and secretly thought “How can I best piss him off today?” Well, the answer is – she started by routing me through all the back streets of Pattaya (not a pretty sight) for about 30 minutes, before eventually sending me onto something vaguely resembling an expressway. This rapidly deteriorated into some yet to be completed road which ran underneath the expressway I wanted to be on. Very funny lady!
To keep it short, after three hours of driving, I’d gone just 150kms. I had earlier nicknamed her “Chuckles.” I need to rethink that. Unless I change it to “Chuckles the Clown.” At this point I could have cheerfully grabbed her by the shoulders and given her a good shake. I clearly wasn’t going to arrive by Beer O’Clock, nor anything close. I was starting to think I’d need to stop en-route for supper.
But suddenly the traffic cleared, and every time I glanced at the speedo it read 120kph instead of 60, or 40, or zero. Chuckles kept recalculating my ETA and instead of 21:04, it rapidly came down to a more reasonable time. Finally I arrived at the road running along the seashore, most of which has been washed into the sea. Reaching my hotel was a challenge. But, arrive I did, still with perfect vision, at 20:20.
Sorry about the puns, but it’s been a long day, aside from which, I am a groan man.
The Golden Pine Beach Resort looks okay, although older than I expected. I’m supposed to be in a “Superior Sea Facing Room” but I won’t know until tomorrow. The Manager is chatty, but I suspect he’s bored, as I seem to be the only person here. Supper was fine. The beer is cold. I’m no longer anywhere near Pattaya. Life is good. Stay tuned…