Monday, 4 June 2012

Thailand | Bangkok 05: Enam Jam Kematu Punggung

5:15 pagi - Menaiki Keretapi ke Aranyaprathet
Sesudah solat Subuh, kami bergegas ke Stesen Keretapi Hua Lamphong yang berhadapan dengan hotel. Dalam kegelapan Subuh itu, suasana stesen keretapi sudah mulai sesak dengan pelbagai golongan masyarakat. Jelas sekali, masing-masing punya urusan dan hal tersendiri. Kami perlu segera melangkah memandangkan keretapi pertama akan berlepas jam 5:30 pagi dari Bangkok ke Aranyaprathet, di mana terletaknya sempadan antara Thailand dan Cambodia. Setelah membeli tiket di kaunter, kami pun berlari-lari anak ke terminal. 

Seksa tahu, membawa bagasi tarik, abang sering ketinggalan di belakang berbanding mereka dengan beg masing-masing. Kalau nak merajuk pun mampus tiada siapa mahu pujuk. 

Keretapi menuju ke Aranyaprathet tidaklah semewah The train to Aranyaprathet is in a poor condition, but it was very clean nevertheless. I was not sure whether I can survive the 90 degrees of vertical seat. If the local people has to endure this, let us feel what they had been feeling all this while.

I began to feel the heat. We chose seats that were facing each other, so that we could chat along six hours journey. Occasionally, hawkers and traders dropped by from one coach to another, selling a variety of foods, vegetables, drinks, fried foods and so on. 

Melissa informed that she was advised not to take the train since the journey would be terribly uncomfortable and that there is a possibility you had to stand all the way due to limited seats. Well, after two incidents the day before, I find it hard to believe whatever some volunteering local people is saying.
The fare for the train ride is 50 baht only. The fare for a taxi ride is up to 800 baht. The fare for a bus ride is between 200 baht to 350 baht. Obviously, I chose the train ride. Not really because it was cheap. But because we would like to experience whatever local people is facing each time they are on this train. 

6:10 a.m. - Departure from Bangkok to Aranyaprathet
The train slowly left for Aranyaprathet. The dawn was still dark. In any moments, the sun will crawl up, the sign of another beautiful day. The scenery and view along the way for the first few minutes were somehow... not interesting... I have seen something like it when I was on a commuter from KL Sentral to Klang early in the morning. Buildings, factories and houses. Get it?

We were still trying to doze off for few minutes since all of us were still sleepy. But the hawkers and traders selling from one coach to another kept waking us up. Occasionally the train stopped at several train stations. Passengers went up and down. Apparently, it is true that there were some passengers who had to stand for over than half an hour due to limited space. Even seats meant for two persons were squeezed into three persons. 

We filled the first three hours with chatting about school friends and the adventure of Melissa and John in traveling to almost 70 countries! It was really interesting listening to her versions of stories. 

And we also played cards. I really like John. Because he lost most of the rounds. So aku takdelah loser sangat hahahaha. Ini selalunya asyik aku yang kalah. 

After the fourth hour, we were really tired and sleepy. Most of us were on our silent reverie. I cast a glance outside the window. To see the earth of Siam. And its people. 

Often, we used to complain on inadequacy. As if God has not been rewarding us enough. And we keep on asking for more and yet giving back so less. Whereas, these people, if they were given the opportunity to enjoy even half of what we have, they would be happy and thankful.  

1:30 p.m. - Arrival at Aranyaprathet
The train arrived at Aranyaprathet an hour later than scheduled. We were sweating. Sticky. Smelly. This is the first time in my entire life, I felt an urgent and desperate need for shower.

Tuk Tuk drivers approached all the backpackers, offering a ride to borders at 80 baht. I can recall that my cousin was offered 40 baht before and she passed. Instead, she managed to board a big tuk tuk for only 15 baht. 

We bargained for a cheaper fare. But all of them offered 80 baht. I insisted on waiting for the "15 baht" Tuk Tuk. But then Melissa reasoned that we were really tired and sweaty that we need to be in Cambodia as soon as possible. I agreed. So we took the offer of 80 baht. I myself found it difficult to put up with my own body odor at that moment. 

So we took two Tuk Tuk. The drivers drive recklessly. I had to rescue my luggage from being thrown out of the Tuk Tuk for several time. I even had to save myself from falling out of the Tuk Tuk.  

It took us 15 minutes to the borders. Fortunately I am a Malaysian, and we are not required to obtain visa to enter into Cambodia. 

2:00 p.m. - Cross Border Thailand and Cambodia
Crossing border procedures and immigration matters were a bit busy. There was a long queue. But luckily the procedures were not bureaucratic. In addition, the immigration officers were really friendly and helpful.  

I took some moments to stand between two countries. A walk to remember it is? Hahaha.

Welcome to Cambodia! Goodbye Thailand! I am on a mission to seek my ancestors in Cambodia!

Till then, adios.

Hairi Tahir

To be continued...

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