As promised, here are all of the highlights from our short bus trip from Phuket to Sulat Thani.
An SUV had jumped the median.
Middle-school-aged kids, running around in their yellow shirts and blue Adidas knock-off pants, dodging their classmates who brought their motorbikes to school.
Thai Baby Strollers: Dozens of mothers driving on motorbikes at 40 mph with their toddlers crammed between their legs. No helmets on anyone. Giant buses threatening to knock them off the road.
The boy in front of me was playing the card game Uno with his mother. The Thai version. Instead of the Draw Two card, the deck had a +2 card. Reverse was replaced by two arrows chasing one another in a circle. Skip a Turn is a zero with a slash through it. The wild card says +4 with a pie graph of the four colors. Uno is very smart or getting ripped off.
A quick glimpse of an authentic Thai town, which the guidebook described as “unappealing,” where not a lick of English appears on any of the signs. Quite refreshing if you’re looking for real Thai culture, which no longer exists in the tourist towns.
Pastel homes with rusty corrugated steel roofs.
All the vendors carting in their goods on trailers tied to their motorbikes. Devout Muslims shopping in their town. Devout Buddhists shopping in theirs.
Robed in burnt-orange cloth, walking around with briefcases and cellphones.
A nursery-school-aged kid sweeping his mother’s front porch with a homemade broom. Elderly men and women swaying in hammocks or lounging on couches, watching the traffic pass by.
Nomadic dogs, nomadic roosters, nomadic cows, squashed lizards all curious of the highway
Giant posters of the Royal Family beside every town and along every highway.
Men riding atop flatbed trucks, sitting on piles of timber, fifteen feet off the ground, moving at fifty miles per hour.
The kid in front of me, the Uno player, probably about ten, kneeled toward his mother. She inserted his penis into a small juice bottle. He urinated. The bus shook and the mom had trouble putting the top on the bottle. Then he took a five-minute break to chug a second bottle of green juice. (He would go on to fill that bottle too.) The boy gave me a big smile afterward and then the mother and son left the bus… leaving behind the pair of pee-filled bottles.
Note: It was hard to get photos since the bus was moving rather fast and any pictures from the bus would have been illegal to post online. So to make up for the lack of visuals, here is a photo of where the bus took us to: Sulat Thank where the night boat to Koh Tao was docked. This is how close we slept next to strangers. Stay tuned for that story…