Thailand - Nakhon Sawan and no-one speaks english...
After a short train journey of a bit more than 3 hours from Ayutthaya I arrived in Nakhon Sawan. The train station is about 6 ks out of town. The minute I stepped out of the train I was surrounded by tuk-tuk drivers selling expensive rides to town. I decided to take a songthaew together with some locals which turned out much cheaper. Well, I did not have a map nor did I know where my hotel was which I had booked the night before. So it was difficult to know where to get of the songthaew. Nakhon Sawan is rarely visited by tourists. And no tourists - no maps - and no english.
This city seems to be fun for me ;-). On the songtaew I got to know Sonja, a german traveller. But she immediately saw the hotel and jumped of the vehicle. I kept on with the ride and tried to figure out the streets' name. And I made it. I could find my hotel! The Grand Vissanu which I had booked was a business hotel - clean, comfy but soulless. But for a backpacker price and it was good - well I had hot shower, a TV, a clean bed - nothing to complain. The staff was very friendly but did not speek a word of english. I asked for a tourist office and the guy at the reception pointed out the police station on the map. Well, he had a map at least.
But as it was his only one he did not want to give it to me. Bad luck. But he called a colleague and a young girl which originally seemed to be chinese tried to talk to me with some words of english. It was a funny conversation: my few words of thai, her even fewer words of english - we had a good laugh. But she couldn't help me with my biggest question: "Where is the huge lake with the lotus flowers and how can I get there"? She even did not know that there was a lake - but in the end she told me she can bring me there the day after tommorrow. That was to late for me, I wanted to go the next day. But it would have been funny to see where she takes me (as she did not know the lake). Well, I thanked her for the conversation and tried plan B. I wanted to go to the hotel where Sonja was staying. Maybe she had more luck on finding some info. In the meantime however, it was getting dark outside and also here again, aggresive dogs where hanging around the streets. Sonja's hotel was quite a long walk and I decided not to go there that evening. Instead I went on the nightmarket to get something to eat. Afterwards I successfully tried to go back to my hotel without being attacked by one of the many dogs. It was time for plan C: checking out on the internet how to get to the lake. But the internet was not working properly that night. Well, sometimes travelling can be a real mess. I only came here to see a lake - but where is this lake and how can I get there?
Next morning I woke up early. Time for plan D! I hurried up to check out and went to Sonjas hotel. When I arrived there, Sonja was already gone. Well, the best ideas can come to your mind on a toilet. So I asked to use the hotel's toilet and when I came back to the friendly lady at the reception she gave me here phone and said "your woman, mister". I was a bit surprised. It was Sonja. The reception lady had called the tuk-tuk driver who was taking Sonja to the lake. She was already at the pier with enough time to wait for me till the boat was ready for a cruise. Happily, I jumped on one of the hotels tuk-tuks and here I was finally on my way to the Bueng Boraphet lake! It was indeed a very nice and peaceful lake with nice flowers an lots of birds. Definitely worth a visit! We were cruising on the lake for 1 hour and later we went to the nearby aquarium which was quite interesting with a lot of local fish but also some saltwater species. And then, it was time to go back to the train station. The question was how? We decided to take the songthaew. And again they tried to rip us. After half way to town we had to change the songthaew and of course they wanted us to pay again. But we simply did not pay. We had asked for a ride to the train station and had paid this price once. That is enough. The driver gave us some very bad looks. We are farangs, but we are not stupid! We had to wait for a bit more than 1 hour at the train station for the next train northbound. Enough time to get something to eat. It is fun - the delays of the trains are so commun, there is an extra column "delay" on the timetable. This time, we took an express train as the regular train was another 2 hours later and we did not want to wait that long. Well, it was still cheap and after 2 comfy hours we arrived in Phitsanulok, or, how they call it here "Phi-Lo". Sonja continued to Sukothai and I stayed in Phi-Lo. It was time to say goodbye and I went to look for the Lithai Hotel which I had found on the internet.