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Some may call it an accident, some may call it a mistake, but I call it serendipity.  With every supposed wrong turn we make, every situation that doesn’t go quite as we planned, there’s something else to be discovered and seen.  It seems that the “bad luck” I’ve had recently may have been unfortunate, but it has also provided the opportunity for some rich experiences.  Of course, there are lessons to be learned, but I don’t like to concern myself too much with getting things right.  Traveling is just about the one thing that I am ok not doing extensive research on before jumping in.  In fact, I’d be perfectly fine with not knowing my next destination or how long I’d be staying at the current one, if only I had the money to support that type of travel.

Spacious and comfy.

Spacious and comfy.

It all started when I was getting ready to check in for my flight to Kuala Lumpur.   I had inadvertently packed my passport in a purse that I had decided not to bring.  Thankfully, I discovered it soon enough to still catch a ride with Mizu and Zen.  It turns out that was actually fortunate, because I had booked the wrong flight (it was for the following day), so I would have been stranded there or been forced to pay SGD 60 to change to that flight, if they had space.  Instead, I got a luxury bus ticket for SGD 38, got treated to gelato and waffles, had a huge seat and personal TV, got a chance to enjoy the landscape, and even got dropped off at a location very close to my hostel (saved me a trip from the airport!).  I had wanted to take a bus originally, but what I fould was more expensive than flying, which is why I had chosen to buy an air ticket.  But in the end, I still got what I had wanted to do.

The next hiccup was a small one, where I nearly went to the wrong airport to board my flight to Phuket.  It was caught early on in the day, so I got to my boarding gate with plenty of time to spare, but even if I had gone to the wrong place, I could have found a way to get there on time anyway.  Upon arrival in Phuket, the airport bus had stopped running for the night, so I took a shared airport “limousine” and we stopped at a travel agent’s office so they could solicit us.  Though I didn’t book any tours, I did find out about one that I was interested in, which I probably wouldn’t have known about otherwise.  I plan on taking such a tour in the next day or two.

The night view of Phuket Town.

The night view of Phuket Town.

Now in Phuket there are many beaches, most of which are a good 30 minute drive from Phuket Town.  My first day there, I decided to go over to Patong Beach, which is the most tourist-concentrated one.  I had booked a spa appointment for the afternoon and enjoyed some wonderful relaxation treatment (aromatherapy sauna, hot stone massage, and facial!) before heading to the beach.  I had a lovely time digging up clams and those sand bugs that burrow in the sand with amazing speed.  Unfortunately, I had a bit too much fun and by 7:15 I was trying to find a ride back to no avail.  The bus stopped running at 6:30 and the tut tuts quoted me at THB 500!  So I walked along the street, trying to find a better way and ended up asking a hotel security guard and his friend for help.  They flagged down a family on a motobike and arranged to have them drop me off for THB 200.  The man dropped off his wife and baby and took me over the hills back to Phuket Town.  On the way he stopped for gas (or whatever it is) and I was greatly amused when they took a huge bottle of what looked like cherry syrup or grenadine and poured it into his tank.  What interesting fuel!  When we got to the hostel and I paid him, he then offered to take me for a spin around town.  I decided to accept his offer and later he insisted on showing me Phuket Town from a viewpoint.  There was a nice park at the top of a summit and a crowd of people sat on the small wall erected to prevent people from tumbling down.

It almost makes me want to try it.

Would you have guessed this is fuel?

Learning my lesson, I checked with the bus driver the next day to make sure I didn’t miss the last bus (which was due at 4) and went to another beach, Nai Harn.  I had managed to find a larger clam and even a pointy-shelled sea snail before it started to rain.  So by 3:20, I was standing under some trees at the bus stop, waiting for the bus to arrive.  When it stopped raining, I ventured back towards the beach to get some more water for my new pets and an expat approached me, offering to take me back.  Apparently he had seen the guys at the coffee shop eyeing me and he didn’t feel it was safe for me.  I just needed the bus to come and all would be fine.  He insisted on taking me because he was bored out of his mind and needed something to do, so I decided to go with it.  I got the extra water I wanted and he took me to his place to exchange the motobike for a truck.  We had a nice chat and I got a comfortable ride back, complete with a bucket to keep my pets in so I wouldn’t have to hold them the whole way.

So, it turned out that each transportation problem I came across became a new adventure, often with nice people helping me out.  I believe that people are mostly kind and genuine and certainly not psychokillers or kidnappers, but I still keep a wary eye out.  Everybody I’ve sized up so far seemed like a punch to the face and a kick to the groin would be enough to take them down.  I’ve watched out for roads to make sure we were going the right way and noted places that we passed that looked safe enough to find help at, if I had to run away.  With those precautions, then it’s just luck on who I choose to trust.  People may be concerned about a girl traveling on her own, but as my expat driver told me, I seem very confident.  I walk with a purposeful and powerful stride, I ignore most of the people hollering at me, and I act like I know what I’m doing whether or not I actually do.  Nobody’s going to see me as an easy target.  I’ve come across a lot of helpful people who have saved me a lot of hassle (and money).  I call that serendipity.  🙂

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