Thursday, 4 March 2010

Road tripping to Bangkok part I

As my passport was running out of pages despite only 4 years in use I needed to get a new one before the bureaucrats started bitching about it. For those who do not know, one is required to have at least 2 blank pages and more than 6 months validity (as I recall) left in order to be admitted to any country.

Bangkok Southern Bus terminal

I was down to 4 pages so I thought now or never and phoned up the embassy in Bangkok whether I could do it remotely here in Phuket or via the honorary consul placed here, "nope" was the reply. All passport applications to be made in person, bring b/w passport photo with neutral expression and your own fingerprints. Oh well, I swung into action and lashed off to nearest photographer and got myself a set of ugly passport photos, packed an overnight bag, my own fingers and bought a bussticket to Bangkok, same evening I was on my merry way.

One of the mega shopping malls "The Mall" @ Rama II

The ride was a bit bumpy and I appreciated the working seatbelt as when I was napping I felt that the bus could topple any minute. As usual the aircondition was not next to absolute zero as I have experienced an earlier occasions but quite pleasant. While enroute we stopped for a complimentary dinner in Chumphon. Next morning I arrived at the southern busstation (Sai Tai) at SC Plaza. From there a friendly lady offered me a ride to Pratu Nam which was close to the Finnish embassy. I arrived abt 30minutes before opening time to file my application.  Bad news was that the Finnish embassy do not employ any courier services so I had to come back after 2 weeks to collect the new passport. Unlike Indian embassy or even the Thai government, they use courier to send documents back, so I would have to impose another CO2 imprint onto the atmosphere to come back the Big Mango once again.

On the road again...

Embassy opened at 8am and I got down to business with the Passport Officer and forms were filled and my fingerprints taken. Apparently all went electronically to Finland as I saw the signed form with my ugly picture and fingerprints being scanned. At 8.30 I was all done and wandered around Bangkok until afternoon when I headed back to SC Plaza to get a return ticket to Phuket. I had still some 3 hours to spare until the bus departure so I decided to take a Thai massage that was in the plaza. An old Isan lady kneaded me with her elbows, knees and feet so hard that I felt like being run over by a ten-wheeler, she was just saying the farang is very stiff. I was indeed after that treatment.

Tollway queues

Finally on the way down south again I discovered a totally new route (to me) down south. The bus was taking the seaside road and we passed numerous salt ponds were seawater was being processed into salt, unfortunately nightfall came fast and darkness surrounded soon everything and there was not much to be seen after that. We stopped for complimentary dinner in Nakhon Si Thammarat and next thing I know I was being thrown off at the Yacht haven junction.

Salt flats

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