Thursday, December 6, 2007

Hitching and High Finance

I jumped off the bus at the road to Khoa Sok Park dazed and tired after my visa run. I was walking down the road surveying the bugalow choices when I saw a woman around 65 years old nervously walking around a bungalow, then squatting, then standing then walking then squatting. I watched her and when she caught my eye she waved me over. She spoke to me in broken english and asked if I needed a bungalow. I said yes and she said "you come, you come here". She had what I thought was a thick Russian accent but she turned out to be Polish. She talked to the Thai woman owner of the bungalow and got me a cut rate price for a nice little place, I accepted and fell into bed. I never found out what she was doing and I am not sure she knew. The next day I had a few friendly "conversations" with her and in the evening she asked me over for a papaya drink. While drinking she sighed a big sigh, looked at me with a sideways glance and said "I have big problem". Soon enough I was helping her with major banking and financial translations and hoping like hell I was getting them right. She had her money in a Chinese bank ( don't ask me why) and the Chinese banking woman had written to Zofia in broken Chinese english asking Zofia what she wanted done with some of her accounts. Zofia had me translate the bad Chinese english into bad regular english so she could try to understand. She thought about my translation in Polish then translated those thoughts into bad Polish english for me to translate into bad regular english and write that translation in a letter to the Chinese banking woman. In the letter I was telling the Chinese banking woman to move this money, reinvest that money, save the interest on this money in a savings account so that Zofia could pick it up in a year. And this was no small beans either. Chit! Zofia was very pleased and treated me to more papaya drink. I was thinking I hope I put her papayas in the right accounts. The next morning it was coffee with Zofia. " Drink, drink more coffee. Drink" she kept saying, pushing the coffee toward me. Three expresso strength coffees later I was B-U-Z-Z-E-D. When I told her no more she pouted, folded her arms, pouted again and said " please one more". Then she asked me where I was going next. I told her Phang Nga and she clapped her hands. "We go together, auto stop." "What is auto stop Zofia?" I thought it was another form of organized travel, there are so many ways to travel here, so many arrangements can be made. But no, she made a hitch hiking sign. A sixty five year old woman hitch hiking in Thailand, I had to go. Next morning we were on the road at 6 am. She had me stay 30 feet from her and had instructed me to wait, that she would auto stop for us both. She was dressed in silky black pants and a black muscle shirt with a purple silky strap tank top over the muscle shirt; one strap constantly falling down. She had a tan scarff wrapped around her head and big hiking shoes on her feet. She was over dramatic everytime a car went by. She would stand in the middle of the lane and wave at the car with both arms and when they did not stop she turned to watch them go with her hands on her hips. I thought " this is never going to work they think she is crazy". Just about that time two guys in a small pick up stopped. One of the guys got out, took our bags, put them in the back of the truck, got in the back of the truck himself and motioned us to get in the front seat. Twenty minutes of hitching and we had the front seat. Chit! We rode about forty minutes and then she told the driver to stop at an intersection. We got out, said our Khow Phoun Ka's and the process started all over again. This time ten minutes went by and she had a ride. Not the front seat but the back of a concrete contruction truck. We got in among the buckets, trowels, shovels and gravel and an hour down the road the guys dropped us off in Phang Nga bus station. Shorter than a bus ride and free of charge. Before I could say much Zofia ran off to catch a bus leaving for Malaysia. I stood in the bus station smiling, hoping she had enough money.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like "fun". For me Thailand was the most interesting port I went to. So much veried culture. They are great at making jewerly if you are interested. Cheapest and best workmanship I saw anywhere, no kidding.

Chase dressed for the Army/Navy game. Didn't play but was on National TV five times and has a picture in Sports Illustrated.

Take care and enjoy all the trips and "conversations".

Love, John

cindy & cheryl said...

What a trip, TB! Are you staying in Thailand the whole 30-days you're "allowed" now? We hope you'll run into Zofia again!

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, Tracy. I am loving the vicarious experiences. You are a wonder!

Thank you for sharing your life with us.