Travelling can be a messy business
12.12.2011 - 12.12.2011 24 °C
We just travelled 3 hours on a ferry with first class tickets, seated like third class steerage. Our trip to Koh Phangan taught us that even in spite of light drizzles encountered on the way, the best seats were on the top deck that was open, but covered, and as a bonus, the seats reclined! So naturally, for the ferry back from Koh Phangan, we pushed and shoved our way to the top deck, only to find that while itw as open, there was no roof for shade and the few seats there did not recline. Oh well.
We snagged the seats anyway, wiped them as clean as we could (they were filthy--which we should realized as a sign of things to come), slapped on some sunscreen and settled in for the ride. Moments later, the ferry weighed anchor, and we quickly discovered why the seats had been left empty by locals and had been so filthy to begin with.
Exhaust. Two giant, black, billowing pillars of it. And just our luck, the wind was blowing it right back onto the boat, soaking us in soot.
Having just shoved off, we decided it wouldn't be too bad; once we picked up some speed the smoke stacks would belch their debris backwards off the boat, right? But to our dismay, there was no speed. The ferry had already departed an hour later than scheduled, and it looked like it was going to add an additional hour onto our travel time at the rate we were chugging along, because chugging was the the best we were managing.
The engines churned away, three decks below, pounding out a beat that sounded like the low bass notes from the Full Moon Party DJs, except that there wasn't necessarily rhythm to this beat, nor was there an end to the song. There was no escape. The seats on the decks below were enclosed, but not air conditioned, and besides, by the looks of the crowds of passengers who had crammed themselves onto every available spot on our deck, it didn't look like there was going to be any room down below anyway.
For three hours we endured. For three hours we baked in the sun, save for the times the wind shifted directions and the smoke stacks blocked it out. For three hours we breathed in our own smog until our noses were blackened with it. Three hours.
When the sights closer to the opposite shore became familiar again, passengers began to rouse themselves from their spots on the deck. While I thought our chairs were dirty, these poor people had become completely covered in grime. Whatever had touched the deck was graced with a layer of black grime and soot. It was disgusting. Thank goodness for my dirty chair.
Three hours from our ferry's departure--five hours from our departure from our hotel--and we still had an hour and a half to go to our final destination of the SRT airport. It won't be until midday tomorrow that we'll arrive and check into a hotel and final get to wash this leg of our journey away.