THIS IS A TRANSLATED VERSION OF THIS SWEDISH POST!
So, I left Koh Chang and the safety of the rain one Saturday morning. I’d found a busticket – for a big bus. It wasn’t completely easy, since for some reason there are only mini vans going back to Bangkok. From Bangkok to Koh Chang there’s actually no problem at all travelling with the shitty tourist buses, but the other way around – impossible. I guess the big buses go back empty then, huh.
Anyhoooo, I got hold of one of the few tickets. Or so I thought.
Happy as can be I left my hotel at 0900. I met an absolutely adorable and cuddly bith (dog, that is) who refused to leave my side while I was waiting for the “taxi”. She was really sweet; my heart almost ached when I left her and she stood there in the middle of the road, watching me with big sad eyes as I was leaving.
Well, I might’ve exaggerated the sadness a bit – but STILL!
The trip to the pier was ok, as was the boat trip to the main land, but after that it all went downhill.
”OOOOH, miss, today only have minivan!”
Alright. But I’ve paid for a regular big bus. “Yes, no have.” And the classical shrug. That I’d actually paid for something I wasn’t going to get was totally irrelevant. “You go now.” she carried on and pointed at the mini van running idle in the parking lot in front of me, crammed with farangs and bags. I felt nauseous. For you who don’t know, well, I’ve got quite some claustrophobia, since forever, and well, I can manage to put myself into a mini van if there is absolutely no other option available, and if I can have a window seat. Usually it is ok, but since I’ve recently been so labile a 6 hours mini van drive wasn’t something I wanted to get myself into. That was why I bought a ticket for a BIG bus. Which apparantly didn’t exist.
My panic attacks stopped me from wanting to travel for more than 6 hours crammed into a small mini van, however, this was all they had!
I tried some kind of an explanation to why I looked like I was about to start crying any second, and mumbled something about me having problems with small spaces and therefore needed a window seat.
She looked at me with an empty gaze and answered: “Yes, have space in back.”
I sighed slightly helpless and felt rather panic-stricken. I wasn’t at all in the mood for this type of trip and at the same time I felt ridiculous and whiny. She was probably wondering what my problem was; “problem with small spaces”? She probably didn’t have a clue. I walked around and looked inside the van and yes indeed, there was a free seat in the back of the van, in the middle.
I took a deep breath, went back and told her there was only one seat left in the back, while looking if at all possible even more pathetic. The thai girl looked back at me with a questioning look: “you go?” I gave the bags to the driver so he could stuff them in the van and asked if there was time for a quick toilet visit.
Of course, there’s always time for toilets, so no worries.
I left and sat hyper ventilating for a while in the bathroom, while trying to collect all my feelings jumping around like rabbits in my stomach. At the same time I felt so terribly silly, which I believe also exacerbates the emotions of a panic attack –
you can feel the emotions you’re feeling are not really normal and you are not supposed to act like this according to all the standards and rules.
You only want it to pass – quick quick, but it doesn’t, because you’re pushing it.
When I returned from the toilet, from my own point of view, quite calm and sensible, they’d cleared a seat for me right by the door in the middle of the van – IMO the best seat. Both the driver and the girl, who I thought was totally clueless, was eagerly pointing for me to sit down there. I couldn’t help but being moved by their thoughtfulness. If it was thoughtfulness. Maybe they just wanted to push everybody inside as quick and easy as possible and I was the last one.
But I prefer to think that is was out of consideration, for making myself feel better.
The trip went pretty well actually. In the beginning it was a bit rough, but after a while I got sleepy and listened to pretty loud music so it kind of worked out. And we stopped after about 1 hour. Well, some lunch then. I didn’t have any, wasn’t hungry. Oh, I bought a mango. Green mango with a small sugar & chili bag – delicious! I eat a tremendous amount of these – my absolute favourite fruit actually. Then we were off again. Another hour later we stopped again. And so it went, 1 hour intervals, but it was quite alright; when you don’t have a toilet on the bus 1 hour is ok. You can usually hold it in for longer, but there are always some idiot who didn’t go the last time; the only hassle is that it takes a lot longer.
And so we entered Bangkok and the ride from hell started.
It’s like as soon as a mini van enters the highway in Bangkok they have to drive like complete idiots and especially in the roadside (which, in contrast to most thai’s opinions, isn’t actually a lane), and most preferably in 200 km/h. At the time I had a migraine coming on, so I just wanted to arrive, so I couldn’t even feel scared as shit. When we’ve almost arrived in Khao San Road one of the farang boys started to moan about being needy – you have to stop now, now, now. OMG, it was max 3 minutes left. “5 minutes” the driver said, who by the way spoke extremely bad english. “No now!” the farang whimpered and I just sighed. So the driver parked us far the frack away, and we had to walk about 3 km back to Khao San Road (they don’t actually stop just outside that street since there are always a lot of police standing there and there is actually a stop ban), but now he stopped so far away and my bags. OMG, 35 kg suitcase, 15 kg carry on case, 10 kg handbag and another 5 kg handbag.
Well, needless to stay I was soaking of sweat and completely broken when I arrived in my hotel.
To summarize the day: I still hate MINI VANS! But I made 6 hours in one without any panic attacks, so something positive came out of this. I can handle more than I think. Yey!