Day 185: I Can See Right Through You!

We finally did it. Today was the day we finished the last stage of our Australian visas by getting our X-rays done. It meant the application process was now well and truly in the hands of the Australian officials. Today was also Anna’s last day with us, as she was moving on the following morning to Bangkok before catching a plane home. After our visit to the hospital, the day took a slower pace, and mostly involved us wandering around. So here it is, a day involving a hospital visit, markets, and a drunken traveller.

• I didn’t sleep too well. It was around 4am before I actually turned out the light. Before that I was engrossed in the final episode of the tv series “Spartacus”. What a show it had been. I led in my bed for the best part of an hour, but try as I did, sleep wouldn’t come. I was too concerned with the thought of what I’d asked Sarah for for my birthday. The Nintendo 3ds. I was paranoid that I wouldn’t use it enough to benefit from its high price tag, and in turn, Sarah would be wasting her money. I was then worried I was too old for such a device, and I grew increasingly concerned with the fact I’d spent £30 on eBay, buying a few games, and other bits for it. Later on that day, Sarah put my mind at ease when she told me I’d probably play it a lot in Australia. She said we wouldn’t be travelling the country like we had Asia, because it would be so much more expensive, comparing the lifestyle to a more routine based one of back home. And seeing as I wouldn’t be writing the blog any longer, I’d play games in its place. This made me happier about it all. Also, I needn’t worry about what people thought of me playing such a gadget, as later on when looking though Facebook, I noticed a particular guy friend of mine wearing ugg boots. I thought to myself “if he’s brave enough to wear those in public, then I really shouldn’t worry about playing on a Nintendo”.

• Eventually I drifted off, and came too around 9:30am. We packed our bags, then went to the communal area. Anna printed off her hospital forms, and we all decided to stay one more night. Sarah and I took advantage of their bus ticket to Pai. By booking it through the hostel we got a reduced price on our stay, although it didn’t really work out any cheaper, but at least now we had plans for the next day. Unfortunately we had to leave our private dorm room, as it was only reserved for online reservations. We were asked if we’d mind moving to the 4th floor instead. Well, I say asked, it was more of an instruction than a request. It was a bit of a joke after that, as they wouldn’t allow us to move straight away because the people occupying the beds hadn’t checked out yet. This meant we went from being checked in, to having to check out, to having to check back in again later on. We threw our bags into the storage room, then left for breakfast.

• Breakfast consisted of two small sandwiches on Sarah’s plate, and a smaller bagel on Anna’s. Sarah was the one who’d suggested the tiny cafe just up the road from So Hostel. I chose not to eat because they gave more bread than filling. Instead I opted for a couple toasties from the 7Eleven next door, and a tasty strawberry milkshake. After food we hailed a red truck, and for just under 30 baht each we were taken to a hospital.

• We had to explain to the receptionists that we didn’t need to see any doctors, we simply needed X-rays for a working holiday visa to Australia. We received many strange looks, probably because people don’t tend to get an X-ray, unless there’s something wrong, or visit a hospital unless they’re sick. After filling out a few forms we were instructed to take the elevator to the 4th floor. There we found another information desk, and had to repeat the whole explanation process over again. They seemed to better understand what we needed, and after more forms were filled out, we began our health checks.

• Heights and weights were taken, along with blood pressures, and our bmi’s were calculated. Sarah went first, and returned unhappy after finding out her weight. When Anna returned, she wasn’t happy with her height (she claimed she’d lost a couple centimetres). When I came back I was smiling, granted it said I was one cm shorter than I thought I was (194cm), but my patient photo looked good when it appeared on the pc monitor (the hat hair worked to my advantage), and I was at peace these days with my weight loss.

• With our vitals recorded, the next step was the X-rays. We were taken back to the first floor, and into the radiology department. The process took no longer than 30 seconds. We each stood in front of the machine, and had to hold a lead sheet around our lower backs. We had to stand with our elbows forward (looking like giant upright chickens), rest our chins on the plate, and take a deep breath in and hold it. It was almost like having a photo taken when the X-ray fired through our torsos. And as quickly as it began, it was over. The lady then instructed us out the room, and told us to wait while they sorted out our forms. When all three of us were done, we had to return to the 4th floor to pay.

• It came to a total of 1500 baht (roughly £30). Luckily there was an ATM outside, and even more luckily, my credit card was working again. We each paid separately, then we caught a red truck back to our hostel. When we got inside we were allowed to check into our room, however, we couldn’t get our bags out of storage because they’d crammed them in again. We decried to go back for them later, and instead, put our day bags in the lockers of our room.

• I don’t think we stopped any longer than 15 minutes, before Anna rose from her bed. She had been on her phone moments before, and now had a worried/ upset look on her face. She said she wanted to go to the silver market, as she wanted to buy some jewellery. She wasn’t asking for any company, but because of the expression on her face, I felt concerned and suggested to Sarah we join her. It’s not everyday I volunteer myself to go shopping either. Because it was mid afternoon it meant the night bazaar hadn’t yet started. So all the stalls that would be lit up at night, lined with merchandise, were currently just metal skeletons. The silver market was different to all these, and was more of an indoor affair. There were a few shops open, but Anna didn’t see anything she liked. We stopped in a few places that sold trinkets, but ultimately we came to the conclusion to come back in a few hours time when everything was up and running.

• We stopped in McDonald’s (which wasn’t my idea for once) so Sarah and Anna could grab a couple lattes. Followed by a visit to the neighbouring Subway, all so I could eat. Afterwards, we returned to the hostel to waste some time. We still couldn’t get to our bags, so we left them and watched tv shows in our room. There were signs of life when we got there, the bags in the corner for a start, and the actual living person on a bed being a definite tell tell sign of other backpackers presence. There were still 6 or 7 beds unaccounted for though.

• At 6pm we headed back out the door and walked around the bazaar. I made one purchase during our visit, it was more flags of the places I’d been so far, which I’d to attach to my holdall at a later date. To do that I’d need a sewing kit, and or, an iron. Hopefully Sarah’s parents will bring the former of the two when they fly out. The girls also bought some badges, and while I was with them, Anna bought some parachute pants. After a while of trawling the markets, we thought it best to get some food. We then did something controversial, we broke the mould and went somewhere different for our evening meal. It was a place called Thai European, on accounts of them selling a variety of dishes from around the world. We chose Italian, and enjoyed a generously sized “medium” pizza each.

• When we had finished, I left the girls to continue looking around the stalls and walked myself back to the hostel. I spent the next 40 minutes talking with my mum on Skype, finding myself retreating to the room when wave after wave of Mosquitos continued to bother me. Even then they managed to find their way into dorm room 401. Their was a series of loud knocks on the door near the end of our Skype call. I opened it to reveal a rather strained and stressed Sarah Duxbury, she had dragged our large bags from the elevator to our room. At first I was impressed, thinking she’d carried them all the way up the stairs. Nope. She was just making a fuss over 15 feet. You’ve got to love people’s quirks right?

• I said goodbye to my mum, then Sarah, using her diva ways, “politely” asked for my phone. I handed it over, then went to reception for a second Internet code. It was there I saw Anna, she was returning from the 7Eleven with bottles of water. Back in our room, I put the code into the tablet, and spent some time on eBay. Trying to best others in the heart pumping final 30 second bidding battle. BOOM, I’d just won a copy of Mario 64. I then followed that purchase with an offer on another game. I had to stop myself, as by the time I’d finished I had procured 3 new games.

• While I was trying to best other shoppers on the digital car boot sale sight, we could all hear the security swipe pad making noises on the door. Somebody was attempting to get in, but each time they swiped their key card, they’d mistime using the handle, resulting in the door handle flopping about aimlessly. Anna jumped up to open the door, but we wish she hadn’t. It was a very drunken Englishman. How drunk? Well, lets put it this way, when asked where he was from, he couldn’t even think. Eventually coming out with the answer “Lon…*hiccup*…don. There’s not really much you can do for/with someone when they’re in that state, so we tried our best to get him to leave. Sarah achieved this when he began wandering around the room attempting to Skype someone. All he’d say was “can you hear me? Hello?”, it was then Sarah saw an opportunity and ceased it. “The wifi is really good downstairs in the communal area, I tried earlier and it was perfect”, she said cunningly.

• He then disappeared for a few hours, giving us all some peace. I don’t know who he was with, but I think it was safe to assume the empty alcohol glass, and tobacco on the bed were his. And the stench of smoke in the air was caused by his drunken sociopathic ways. Soon after he left, Anna’s friend showed up. Sarah and I briefly met her during Songkran in Phangan. She had been on a long haul journey like we had to be with us, and said she needed a beer after it all. This is where I felt bad.

• I was primed and ready, and in the mindset that I’d be going to bed after I showered. But I had the issue of it being Anna’s last night. Sarah had already spent 3 hours at the market that night, so she got to spend some good time with Anna, and could be forgiven for staying in. I on the other hand felt like I should go out, but felt very tired. I said to Anna that if she really wanted me to go out for “one beer”, I would. She said she did really want us there, but could understand that I should stay in with Sarah in case the drunken guy came back. So I did, but I felt bad about the disappointed look I’d painted on Anna’s face. At least this would give her the opportunity to catch up with her friend, one on one.

• After my shower Sarah and I watched tv shows in bed, somehow she managed to force me from mine to a different one. During the shows we got to enjoy the drunken guy wrestle with the door again, it never got old. After a while I stopped with the procrastinating and began writing the blog. By the time I’d finished it was 2am, had I known I’d be up this late, I’d have gone out with Anna. Speaking of which, they hadn’t returned yet, so much for that one beer. Isn’t that how it always starts.

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