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Saturday, November 29, 2008

WINTER BREAK

For
Sunday Scribblings – ‘A Winter’s Tale’
Writers Island Journal 8 – ‘Memories’
Matinee Muse – ‘To Overcome’

A WINTER’S TALE – MEMORIES of how TO OVERCOME
The $700 price-tag, attached to a simple, but essential journey

WINTER BREAK
3DAYS/4 NIGHTS IN MALAYSIA, FOR $50
(Includes accommodation and transport from/to Bangkok)

Visa-run; vacate Thailand.
Can’t buy
Stand-by;
No fly

Hualamphong trains are full
No fuss
Don’t cuss
Take bus

VIP coach, door-to-door?
First class?
Alas!
Hopes pass

Twelve seats; sixteen passengers
I mean,
Sardine
Routine

No fun for the feint-hearted
Seat share
Sleep, rare
Nightmare!

Thousand kilo plus journey
Highways
Delays
Wrong ways

Adds two hours to the timeframe
Complain?
No pain –
No gain

Trang, Songkhla, Hat Yai, Sadao
Unclamp
Ease cramp
Book-stamp

Border post formalities
Check bag
Smoke fag
Chin-wag

Warning to in-bound tourists
Drug scan!
Don’t plan!
Hangman!

Butterworth, Malaysia
Road/rail.
Short trail
Set sail

Nearby island, our target
Calm seas
Cool breeze
At ease

Disembark Pulau Pinang
Georgetown
Run-down
Port town

Looking for a place to stay?
Cheap rate?
Room mate?
Private?

Lorong Cintra, hostel dorm
Twelve beds
Dead heads
No zeds!

Late at night, Chulia Street
Beer shack
Street snack
Back-pack

New-age travellers abound
Long hair
Tale share
‘Stoned’ stare

Impromptu midnight market
CD’s
Movies;
Copies

Daylight street sights come to life
Hustle
Bustle
Tussle

Indian, Chinese, Malay
Food trade
Gold weighed
Hand-made

Imposing Komtar Tower
Chain stores
Brace scores
Of floors

Penang Road Bridge; direct link
Mainland
Island
Strait spanned

Passport process to complete
Join queue
Review
Then stew

Two days in the ‘waiting room’
Time out!
Get out
Find out

Shun tourists; check out locals
I steer
To rear
Folk here

Liven up a bland sojourn
Feed me
Roti
‘Toddy’

Tell me of their history
Brit rule
Life cruel
No school

Faced with abject poverty
No stash
Of cash
To splash

To ease the wretched lifestyle
The poor
Endure;
But more

Uncomplaining dignity
They dare
To care
And share

Welcome me with open arms
Glad I
Came by
Said ‘Hi’

Suitably shamed, yet inspired
Trust fed
Street cred.
Face red

Immigration; visa stamped
Long wait
Pay rate
New date

Border crossing to Thailand
Last chance
Quick glance
Advance

Still twenty hours from Pinklao -
Sai Thai.
Hopes high
Hours fly

Say ‘Sawasdee khrap, Krungtep’
Year more
In store
Before

The process begins again


Hualamphong – Bangkok Railway Station
Trang, Songkhla, Hat Yai, Sadao – Thai place names, en-route south
Pulau Pinang – Penang Island, (Malaysia)
Lorong Cintra – Love Street
Roti – Similar to Naan Bread
‘Toddy’ – Alcoholic drink made from fermented coconut
Pinklao – Area of Bangkok
Sai Thai – South-bound bus terminal, Bangkok
‘Sawasdee khrap, Krungtep’ – ‘Hello, Bangkok’


Self Catering breakdown

Public transport to Hualamphong - $1
‘VIP’ bus to Penang - $20
4 nights hostel accommodation - $8
‘VIP’ bus to Bangkok - $20
Public transport home - $1
Total - $50
(Plenty of stories to tell)


Package breakdown

Taxi to Bangkok airport - $20
Economy class Penang return air fare - $400
Taxi to hotel – $15
4 nights mid-range hotel accommodation - $240
Taxi to airport $15
Taxi from Bangkok airport - $20
Total - $710
(Nothing to write home about)