Banks, Buddhas, and Booze

Phitsanoluk Travel Blog

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I hate Barclays. I am also not too keen on my bed, after even a half bottle of whisky, I can't sleep. Maybe it's the lack of warmth afforded by my piece of cloth for a cover, or maybe it's the cold of the a/c, perhaps both, but sleep is not forthcoming. Still, after some jam and toast (staple breakfast in SEA) and an attack by the resident kitty, I'm more awake. My cold, cold shower also helps. Ah, did I mention we're the only people staying in this hostel? Yup, gotta wonder why....

It's certainly not due to the owners, as they are very friendly, and even offer to take us down to the bus station (for 60B) to catch a bus to Sukothai. This is where I realise I have ATM issues. By issues, I mean my card doesn't work in them. Now, this is why I hate my bank:-

Burger and I have the same account, same bank. He says he's going to SEA and they say, OK, have a good time. I tell them, and they tell me I have to call them everytime I leave a country and inform them where I will be next. This is fine, if a little costly and annoying. I called them from Luang Prabang to inform them I was leaving Laos (not that I used my card there anyway) and going back into Thailand. After putting me on hold for a while, they decided that was OK. Now, they have blocked my card, while Burger's works fine. What is the fucking point of me going through all this hassle when they block my card anyway? Wankers.

So, rant over. It's an hour to Sukothai and costs 55B, though I think we get off a little early (at the bus station) as it's still 12km to the old town, and the historical park. We get on a songthaew with 2 other people and it costs 50B each to get there, so it's not too bad. We get hustled by a bike vendor, but decide to walk around. It can't be Angkor Wat, we reason. And it's not, but it's equally as impressive in it's own way, and bigger than expected.

There is actually a ruin there, that looks like the famous Angkor, with it's 3 phraang standing proud as the Angkorian capital itself. The most important, and biggest ruin, is the Wat Maharat, with some HUGE Buddhas. A spectacular sight anyway, without the mist brought on by a worker (I presume) trying to preserve to area using some some of preservation gas, creating an air of mystique around the place. There is also a Buddha in the park which claims to be the oldest in Thailand, along with some impressive stupas, and statues. A couple of hours in this heat is enough though, and we retire to a cafe just outside the park ( you can come in and out with a pass), and I eat some silly hot soup, which makes me cry. Again.

We wander out into Sukothai old town, and I still have bank issues, but I check on the internet, and there's money left in my account, so it's just Barclays being ARSES. We find a hostel in Bangkok, in Silom, and book that for tomorrow, so that's cool. And, even cooler, is the new form of transport we ride to get back to Sukothai bus station. It's like a tuk-tuk, except you sit in a cage opposite each other, then the driver sits to your right (or left) driving the tuk-tuk from behind! It's scary riding it, as it seems the view of the driver is blocked, due to us both being obese. It's only 42B for some reason to get from Sukothai to Phitsanoluk, and there's no traffic so we get back in good time for a chill out before dinner.

Well, I say chill out. That's what Burger does. I have to sort out my bank. After getting a phone card (easy enough), the saga starts. I can't find an international phone on the street where we are, but our hostel has one! Excellent! But it doesn't work. The owner suggest I try next door, at the posh hotel. So, I turn up next door, sweating my arse off, asking if I can use their phone. The girl behind the counter grabs my card, takes it out back, obviously gets confirmation from someone it's a phone card, then points me to the phone. Great, I say. Now, how do you use it? Her answer? You press the buttons. Stupid, insolent, bitch. Of course you press the buttons, I am so stupid, I thought you just concentrate hard enough on the person you want to call, and it will work. After 3/4 unsuccessful attempts, I see a sign telling me to dial either 007, or 008 before calling out. If only that sign was in the other phone boxes I tried, I could have sorted this all out by now. Anyway, by this time, I'm fuming. I get through to Barclays, explain myself, and the girl says my card is fine now, there's a lot of fraud out here, and I needed to confirm it was me. That's it. All sorted.

We walk down to the night bazaar, which is a 30 minute walk, which is a bit dissappointing, to be honest. All they sell is girls clothes, and that's it. It's a nice location though, right on the river, and there are a few more Westerners about down here. Though still not that many. And the bar we end up in, has ZERO. It's fantastic, we are just sitting around with Thais, all drinking our whisky, and just chilling. I came to like Phitsanoluk tonight!

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