July 11, 2005

Visa Run in Ranong

A few bus trips lately, so not too much to report except for my exciting visa run. Decided to stay longer in Thailand. I've been avoiding the motorcycle taxis but ended up on my first ride when arriving in Ranong. The driver sensed my fear and gave me his helmet. Backpacks and everything, we were off. He drove safely so I'm ok with motorcycles now and even let him wear his own helmet again. From the police station to the pier, took a longtail boat to Thai immigration and further across the bay for about half an hour. I stepped onto Burma! Immediately I was greeted by a few smiling guys in long sarongs, including Ali, brother of the boat driver, who led me to get my passport stamped. Then said I am to be in Burma for 20 minutes. Naively, I follow them around the block while they try to get me to buy whiskey, cigarettes and viagra (the necessities!). I buy some water and go back to the pier to see my boat driver yelling at Ali. Thai immigration closes in 30 minutes! And then they tally my bill to 100 Baht for my 5 minute tour of convenience stores. I imagine myself sleeping on the dock by the small, stilted office for the night. We make it back to Thailand and my book was stamped at exactly 6pm.

My night ended with an echoing scream in the bathroom as I unraveled some toilet paper and a thick, black spider the size of my hand, crawled out of the holder. AHHHHH-HHHH-HHH-HH-H...!! P

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