It was 4:20am and all I could hear were loud Chinese voices. I had been woken from a deep sleep. When I opened my eyes they stung, a sure sign that four and a half hours sleep was not enough.
I lay in bed and waited for the voices quieten. The exact opposite occurred. Now there were three voices and music playing, the time, 4:30am. I could take it no longer. I jumped out of bed and marched down the hall to find out where all the noise was coming from. The noise was coming from an open-door way in the hall way. When I arrived at the door, I found two old Chinese people and a guy in his thirties. They all looked pretty rough, especially the guy in his thirties, he was standing there with no shirt on and his chest and stomach was covered in scars that looked like he’d been slashed. I let rip and asked them if they could make any more noise and pointed to my watch. I told them that they were ignorant *#@%#@’s and to keep the noise down. They couldn’t understand a word I said but they quietened down and I went back to my room and jumped back into bed. Ten minutes later they were off again. I just can’t believe how inconsiderate some people are.
I headed to the border and arrived there at 7am. I went through the Cambodian border like a dose of salts. Then it was the Thai border. The Immigration officer noticed I hadn’t been stamped in to Thailand the first time so I explained what had happened and that it had all been sorted out. He said I need to wait and he needs to ring his boss. By this time there were busloads of people queuing up. I waited one and a half hours and decided to join the queue. The queue got smaller and smaller until stood face to face with the Immigration officer. He looked at me and he stamped my passport. It was the old power game. I was too tired to be upset and I was glad to be on my way.
As soon as I rode away the road was smooth and undulating. It was a lovely piece of tar seal. The aim was to make it to Pattaya. It was about 400km. The roads were mainly dual carriageways, they were boring but fast. I arrived in Pattaya at about 1:30pm, found a reasonable guest house with good wifi and Skyped home for the first time in a week. It was great to chat to my family again.
I decided to stay an extra night in Pattaya so I could visit a few attractions. The first one was Buddha Mountain (Khao Chi Chan). This is a 130 high Buddha lasered into a lime stone cliff and inlaid with gold leaf. Below are water features and gardens. It was something different and was worth a visit.
Tomorrow, I head to Bangkok to try and secure my Burmese and Iranian visas.
The trip to the outskirts of Bangkok was quick and uneventful. 60km out from Bangkok you could see the pollution coming down like a light grey blanket. Once in the outskirts the traffic ground to a halt. Firstly, from roadworks, although I was lucky enough to sneak a couple of kilometres down the outside of the traffic. The gap was just wide enough for my bike. When I purchased my panniers, I made sure they didn’t stick out further than my mirrors. If my mirrors get through so will the rest of the bike. Secondly there was a bad accident with one cars boot shoved into the backseats. In total I stopped three times for about 5-10 minutes each time. Turned my engine off and sweated.
I arrived at "At One Inn". I’ll be here for at least three days.
I was up bright and early and, on a mission, to secure my Iranian, Burmese and Nepalese visas.
I decided to get some exercise and catch the metro train and Skytrain and walk from the stations to the Embassies. It would be much easier than trying to ride my bike in the traffic.
I left the Iranian Embassy and went to the Myanmar Embassy. It was closed due to a national holiday. Bad timing or what!
I headed back to the Inn so I could ring the Iranian Embassy. When I rang, they still had not received the number.
Day 165 Friday 13th February 2015
At 9am I rang the Iranian embassy to see if they had received the copy of the authorisation number. The guy who deals with visa was not in” ring back Monday”.
I headed off to the Myanmar Embassy and arrived there at 10am.
The queue was massive, well over a hundred people. I was lucky enough to have grabbed a form off a person selling her visa services the previous day. I had filled all the paperwork in and all I had to do was drop it at the counter and pay for it. That took two and a half hours. I paid extra to get the visa same day. The office was due to open at 3:30pm for collection. I thought with such long queues this morning I would get there early. I arrived at 3pm and the doors were closed and the queue was again massive. The doors opened at 3:30pm and we walked in but no counters were opened. The counters never opened until 5pm. The office is supposed to close at 4:30pm. I finally got my visa at 6:45pm. When I walked outside there were still queues on the street. I presume it was this busy due in part to the embassy being closed yesterday and today being Friday. The last chance to secure a visa before the weekend.
Day 166 Saturday 14th February 2015
I had the Iranian travel agent resend the authorisation number through to the MFA and find out from the MFA if they had received it. They had.
Day 167 Sunday 15th February 2015
Relaxed and took it easy. Ready for Monday's onslaught.
Day 168 Monday 16th February 2015.
I phoned the Iranian Embassy to see if they had received the authorisation number. No they had not, “ring back after 10am”. When I rang back after 10am I got the same answer. To say I was getting frustrated was an understatement. I asked if they could help in chasing it from their end, they were not interested in the slightest. I had to bite my lip and stay calm.
I headed off to the Nepalese Embassy which closes at 12pm. I burst through the doors five minutes before they closed and the paperwork was completed right on 12pm.What a contrast to the other two Embassies.
I rang the Iranian Embassy from the Nepalese Embassy, they let me use their phone and I went over to sort out what could be done as I have to head off from Bangkok tomorrow.
The guy at the counter gave me the name of someone I could talk to who might be able to help, the only trouble he couldn’t speak English. I was really getting frustrated so I rushed back to the inn and e-mailed the travel agent and asked her to call this guy. I also asked her to get the copy of the fax the MFA had sent Bangkok. They had sent it four times. The guy at the counter continued to tell me the MFA had not sent the number; in fact they have a network link to them and it doesn’t exist.
Day 169 Tuesday 17th February 2015
I rang the Iranian Embassy again and spoke to the guy on the counter. He said there was no authorisation number. I told him I have a copy of the fax the MFA have sent to your embassy; I have a copy of the authorisation number and I have waited almost one week and you have not helped. I have the evidence and I want to speak to the Ambassador right now. It was if I had thrown acid in his face. He said no he wouldn’t put me through to the Ambassador and to get the travel agent to speak to the guy who spoke no English. I did and the travel agent called me back saying that they will issue the visa today and that the guy behind the counter and the guy who speaks no English shouldn’t be treated like that. It’s amazing what happens when you ask to speak to their boss.
I couldn’t get to the Embassy before closing as it takes over an hour so I got the travel agent to tell them I would be there first thing tomorrow morning.
I have been to the Embassy nearly every day. When I sign in there is a maximum of 10 people they are dealing with daily. Very light work load.
Day 170 Wednesday 18th February 2015
I was at the Iranian Embassy at 8:30am. I waited in the guard house and had a good chat to the guard. Nice man.
At 9am I went in and was given a form to fill in. I filled in the form. I wanted the visa issuing today as I head off towards Burma for my trip on the 20th. The cost for a visa is 5000baht (NZ$ 200, US$150) but as it was same day it would be double that. I said can you show me pricing on your website, no they couldn’t. Can I have a receipt for payment, no you can’t. I’ll leave it up to you to draw your own conclusions.
I arrived back at the Inn at 11 just in time to check out. Packed my gear and headed off out of Bangkok. Progress was swift covering 380km in 4 hours ending up in Kamphaeng Phet for the night.
It was a leisurely 160km ride to Mae Sot today. I headed to the Thai / Burmese border to make sure I knew where it was for tomorrows meet up with the tour group.
My 30km service is due soon so I had the oil changed today. I also gave Winston a bit of a clean and checked out the fasteners. All ship shape for Burma tomorrow.