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The train journey down here

The train journey down here seemed a bit rough; it was a bit like the trains you see in Indian films, with open windows, lots of noise, and clouds of dust blowing in every so often. When we arrived at night, we were glad to be approached by someone from an agency who could give us a lift to a beach out of town. We checked into a bungalow there, and the next morning woke up to a view of a white, sandy beach. So we took a swim, then went off hunting for somewhere that we could get breakfast. It was good to get away from the throngs of backpackers who had been around everywhere, and we seemed to have the beach to ourselves. The only problem was that because we were away from the tourist areas, we had a bit of a job finding somewhere to eat.

In the afternoon we caught a songthaew (a pick-up converted to carry people) into town and sorted out our onward rail tickets. Then we climbed into the back of another songthaew to go home and waited for it to leave. More people climbed in, and we all waited. Finally the driver appeared after 90mins and we drove off. By this time it was dark, and I thought that we were almost back at the bungalow, so we got out to walk the last few hundred metres. But... Yes, I'd made a mistake and we were still 3km from it! After being chased by lots of dogs, we followed the road through the jungle, and finally made it back. Occasionally we did stop to look at fireflies and the stars, but generally it was a night that deserved to be Friday the 13th.

Right now we're sitting at an internet place / restaurant and I've just enjoyed the delights of their horrific toilet. Many of the toilets here in Thailand are 'squat toilets' that you have to pour a bucket of water down to flush. This one adds to the interest by having a live turtle in the water tank, as well as the other wildlife you generally find around Thai toilets. I half expected Greenpeace to burst in and stop me from using it.

Thailand seems to take pride in scheduling their trains at times that no-one could possibly wish to travel. Tonight we're booked onto a train down to Trang in the south of the country and it leaves at 0236. That gives us another seven hours to kill in a town where everyone goes to bed at nine o'clock. At least the good news is that I finally had a reply to the email I sent to Orange a week ago about my phone not working. It seems that they've realised that all of their customers who are currently in Thailand are having the same problem. Very observant. They say that now they just have to figure out why it's not working.

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