Friday, 13 February 2009

Koh Tao to Auckland

Leaving Koh Tao should have been straightforward; catch the ferry to Chumphorn, catch the tout-free taxi to the city centre and then travel onwards to Bangkok via the night train. All was going well until we got to the train station. We waited and waited for three hours, but our train hadn't arrived. We were getting just as tired as the dog in the picture. It was snoozing away in this shop cabinet at Chumphorn train station.

Enquiring at the office, it transpired that our train had sneaked its way through the station under our very noses - we had missed it by a good two hours. Where had this ghost train gone? Luckily we were booked onto another train leaving fairly imminently. One Irishman was not so lucky. He was making a visa run to Malaysia and had missed his train in the same way. His next train was in three days' time – well after his visa had expired.

Sleeping upright in a chair on the train wasn't the best way to get a good night's sleep. Neither was the Qantas flight to Sydney, as we became over-stimulated by the food and entertainment. First we drank wine and ate cheese, something we hadn't done for many months. Next, we indulged ourselves watching films – the new Woody Allen film “Vicky Christina Barcelona” (which was excellent) and the “Wrestler” (good but violent), and then an old favourite “Sideways”. This was followed by listening to the best of R.E.M. – the iPod has died, so this dose cured Andy's withdrawal symptoms. Just before landing, we even managed a few episodes of Little Britain.

Transferring planes in Sydney, we finally landed in Auckland at lunchtime on Saturday. The plane flew very low, and we thought we were going to ditch in the water. Luckily, a reclaimed piece of land with a runway appeared just in time to save us. To our horror – and perhaps our reader's delight – we arrived to a grey, wet and cold day (14°C). Apparently two days ago it had been the hottest day since 1852. Let's hope this bad spell is just a blip.

After nine months in Asia, we're letting our guard down and readjusting to life in a developed country. It's so lovely to just hop on the bus without having to barter for the fare first. And drivers here stop to let pedestrians cross the road. This morning, we both automatically tried to stop the shuttle bus driver at Auckland airport from putting our luggage to the vehicle, even though here it's perfectly safe. We also bowed to the driver after getting dropped off. Jen struggles to remember that she can now shake men's hands again, as in Asia it's not acceptable. Life seems very easy here, and at least around Auckland, it looks just like Britain.

We are knackered now, so after a long sleep tonight, we'll begin planning our New Zealand adventure tomorrow.


uncle John and auntie Liz said...

Hi to you both and glad you've arrived safely.

Your comments about Jen bowing made up laugh!

If you get to watch any new movies, Slumdog Millionaire is a must for you. We enjoyed it very much. It will refresh your memories of INDIA !

Well I hope when you read this comment you are both refreshed and ready to explore New Zealand.

Lots of love uncle John and auntie Liz
xx xx