It was a very humid evening when we were walking in The Walking Street of Pattaya. The blinding lights of the billboards and music blaring in their ears had awakened our hunger levels to 100%. My sister was wailing like an ambulance looking for food. Dad was hurriedly moving around pushing past the people and getting on and off the footpath. He was leading an awe-struck and clumsy me who was bumping into people and muttering "Sorry". She just could not tear her eyes off the mini-helicopter hovering in the air (Although she knew that it would never work back home). Very much aware of the kind of people around him, as if programmed to do so, Dad kept muttering under her breath, "Your mom is half-blind in this tropical city! One moment of carelessness and your sister is GONE."
Here was the final situation: an exasperated and starving family. My vote, "Let's get back to the hotel."; which was resembling others' vote. We all agreed to this and went on to get a tuk-tuk. I had sacrificed all my free time for reading the next book in the Percy Jackson series in pouring all the information about Thailand from Lonely Planet into my head. There was a point that kept getting my eye every time I opened the book.
It stated,"The people in Thailand are very genial and adjusting in nature" Till now, whenever I came across an aspect of Thailand that resembled the facts in the book, my points of argument with my mom for buying Lonely Planet books kept increasing. But after that day, I never uttered a word in favour of guides; for the incident which took place that day had washed my mouth with soap.
The tuk-tuk driver asked for 100 baht which is equal to Rs. 200. Any rickshaw driver would have to sell his rickshaw if he ever asked for such a price. My mother was in no mood of bargaining (Fancy that! Mom did not bargain) and we started our journey back to our hotel.
While the tuk-tuk made its way through the traffic, we were searching for a place to stop and dine. We then spotted 'Chotiwala', a favoured and delightful restaurant. Oh my God! An authentic Indian restaurant amongst the 'Crabby' and 'Fishy' restaurants. It was so enthralling to see an Indian restraunt here. So we desparately pushed the STOP button.
Now, If a person plans a trip of 100 baht and stops half-way he will pay 50 baht only. But wait, Lonely Planet ditched me when it came to following basic rules like this! The young man who was driving our hired tuk-tuk asked for 100 baht.
At first my mom was patient and spoke to him with the expression as if she was dealing with a dim-witted child. She was like, "Why 100? 50 only. No Sandalaya hotel. Sandalaya, 100. Half-way, only 50, Ok?" But the driver was persistent and went babbling "NO, no, no! 100 baat only!!" The same order of events repeated at least five times before my parents lost their temper. I was secretely enjoying the tension and anger building up in the atmosphere. My sis was somewhat scared and started backing away as though the colliding winds might start a storm. She was darting her eyes from mum to the driver uncomprehendingly. Hunger and exasperation had started to prevail and my mum finally gave up the 50 baht in his hand, trying to hurry away from this mess.
Next, something totally opposite happened for which I will never forgive lonely planet. The driver threw the money on the road. Such a sophisticated act was enough to drive my dad up the wall. "Enough!! Is that the way you treat your customers? That's it. I am calling the cops. They will set you JUST right." Cursing under his breath, Dad strode over tho the traffic signal and called for the cops standing on the other side of the road. "Stop! Stop! Give me da maaney." At a cautious distance, Mum handed him the bill. Just as we expected, the driver snatched the money, cursed in Thai out loud and drove away leaving a an angry trail of smoke.
We then simply walked in the restaurant satisfied with glee.
Hi! Just as I explained before these are my crazy experiences. Read on!
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