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"The bus driver was NUTS. He drove like a maniac on the expressway, going up to 120 km. an hour and in the ninety minutes it took him to get to Bangkok, he must have pedaled the brakes ONCE."
- Rasee Govindani

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Thailand

A market, the beach, and a hospital siege
by Rasee Govindani, 19, Bangkok, Thailand
Jan 30, 2000

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Rasee

The Sunday after that, the three of us, with two more friends (Cathy from Spain and Bun from Ranong, Thailand) decided to head to Pattaya for a day. I had last been there in March of 1999 with another group of foreign friends.

We met up at about seven in the morning at the Eastern Bus Terminal and took the 7:30 air-conditioned bus to Pattaya. The fare was 77 baht (two dollars) each. The ride took about two hours and while everyone on the bus was fast asleep, Bun and I chattered on and on. Ni almost smacked us with her bag. :)

We got to the little shack they call a bus station at about 9:30, used the restrooms, then boarded a minibus down to the beach. We chose a secluded spot in North Pattaya and settled down to wait for the tide to fall. It was a foggy day--not too hot or sunny, but pleasant enough.

We spent the day by the beach, walking up and down the coast, eating an excessive amount of junk (which sadly, I could not eat because I had a stomach flu--why do these things always happen to me?), making commments on the shrinkage in the size of bathing suits. We had an uneventful few hours, with the exception of Cathy kicking a thorny sea-animal of some sort. Johanna had to dig out the splinters with a safety pin. That was not a pretty sight.

We moved off the beach at about four o'clock, took a quick shower at some public bathrooms, then walked up the coast towards South Pattaya to a mall called Royal Grande Plaza. There's a huge Wright brothers' plane-thing crashed into the building and a sign saying "Ripley's Believe it or not Museum." It was like being back in Bangkok again. There was everything in that place from Pizza Hut to Sizzlers to McDonald's to Boots to Watsons' to a theater and tons of shops. We ate at Au Bon Pain (one of my favorite delis) then took a minibus back to the bus station.

We boarded the 6:30 pm. bus home and that was one ride I don't think any of us will forget. Four of us, with the exception of Ni, were seated on the front seats, facing the huge windshield. It was like watching a big-screen TV. Now, I'm horrible in cars. I was in a car crash in India a couple of years ago and never really recovered.

The bus driver was NUTS. He drove like a maniac on the expressway, going up to 120 km. an hour and in the ninety minutes it took him to get to Bangkok, he must have pedaled the brakes ONCE. Johanna and Cathy sat on one side of the bus, while Bun and I sat on the other. We were contemplating hitting the driver over the head with my shoe (it was obscenely huge) and hitching a ride home on a smaller, safer car. I clutched Bun's hand the entire ride home. He has to take buses back home all the time and it's an eighteen-hour ride for him so he had no problems whatsoever. I could have conked him too.

Time for Rasee to reflect..

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