After bagging a fake international student card which would get me a sizeable discount for the Grand Prix if nothing else, I also managed to sell a couple of surplus books at the last moment. I was waiting for the bus over one last beer in a deliberately chosen quiet cafe, where I had planned to sit and read a local street magazine. The waitress beat me to it though and quickly started pointing out adverts for clubs, a subtle hint that she wanted me to take her out. She probably wasnt even out of her teens and had legs beyond compare hanging long below her skimpy miniskirt. I had to tell her I was leaving though and was almost glad for the excuse, it re-affirmed right till the bitter end a hard won lesson that any white man was known to have money and so fair game around here. Even though no money would change hands for sex per se, they still looked on you as a means to an end. It belied the fact that they did not appreciate true love as we understand it. One interpretation of that is that they were all whores at the end of the day, and arguably a more honest straightforward transaction of Boom Boom 500 Baht was the more honourable, but then it was just symptomatic of their very different attitude towards life and love in general. If a man could offer them security then that was the most important factor to them, it was nothing if not practical I had to admit. I took small compensation in that she must have fancied me at least a little bit though.
Thinking I had been forgotten, a phonecall produced a guy on a moped to take me to the bus, bags and all, where with no-one around the cops promptly slapped a parking ticket on it. Eventually under way somewhat later than advertised, driving through the city revealed it to be consistently awe inspiring with each turn revealing another gleaming, ornate temple complex, excellent contemporary architecture and bright lights galore as standard. Every car on the road looked to be brand new. It was on the way out through the burbs that we passed by a textile factory where perhaps 1000 women could be seen rattling away at sewing machines through an elevated window, sat in intense spotless ranks of blue cotton uniforms, a sweat shop turned respectable 21st century style. My first glimpse of the Thai countryside was in the dark then, with semi-tropical forest and paddy fields discernible between similarly pristine houses. I had not been aware of the itinerary but the super roomy and comfy double decker coach only took us as far as the city of Surat Thani. From there we all split from this hub into minivans for our respective destinations. Though there were many free seats available another young Thai belle had chosen to sit next to me, she was going to Phuket though and maybe it was just as well.