Discovering the world on $20 per day ......................

Post 128: Sappaya Hospital, Chai Nat, Thailand

The journey onwards from Seoul in South Korea to Thailand was both planned and accidental. The way in which flights are priced is a mystery to me. The price of a return ticket is often half that of a single ticket, travelling on a Thursday can often be fifty percent cheaper than travelling on a Wednesday or a Friday and greater distances with the same airline are often cheaper than shorter distances. You just have to keep looking for the right deal and once found, … make the purchase before the prices change. Back in Seoul I discovered that my cheapest route to Seattle was via Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Taipei. Once my ticket had been purchased I was guarded about the actual destinations. The reason for not declaring the exact route lays ahead of me in Chai Nat, …. Or to be more precise, …. In a small Emergency Room at the Sappaya District Hospital.

According to my map I’m still almost 50Km from Chai Nat. I believe that I can make my way across country using road signs in the same way that we had in Russia. On main roads here in Thailand the signs for major towns are written in both Thai and English. By taking photographs of the two words together, I can now recognise the Thai word for each town ahead of me. It is hot and humid, the second hand shoes that I’d bought in Bangkok for 90TB (£1.50) are heavy and my feet are pounding, .. my clothes are soaked with sweat, … 36 degrees and 80% humidity. Every other rider on these roads is wearing tee shirt, shorts and flip-flops, they look in astonishment at me in my fully armoured jacket and CitySprint vest, …. if I’d recently landed from Mars I would look no more out of place than I do now. I encourage the tiny Honda onwards, ….. I have it on good authority that Nurse Pa Klampeng and her colleagues will finish their shifts at the Sappaya Hospital in forty minutes time, …. I need to hurry.

In Chai Nat I discover that I’ve entered the town from the wrong direction. Instead of passing through the village of Sappaya I have for some reason arrived from the north. Sappaya must now be 20Km to the south of me. I stop at the main hospital in Chai Nat and ask for directions. They understand that I am looking for a hospital, …. they no doubt see me hunched as I walk, protecting a hernia that protests at the ‘Cruiser’ style of riding. They cannot understand why this magnificent hospital is not good enough for me. After several minutes of explaining, I have a new map, .. a map scribbled on a piece of A4 paper, … it looks frighteningly similar to the map that was drawn for me earlier in the hour, the map that had brought me in the wrong direction. With a bow to each of my new friends, I race out of the Chai Nat Hospital car park and head past Tesco’s as directed. (Yes, … Tesco). After about 15Km, I see the first sign for Sappaya Hospital.

No time to stop and dry myself, .. no time to cool down and take on water. I ride the burning Honda into the hospital and stop in front of the emergency room. I remove my helmet, … I turn off the ignition, ….. Nurse Pa Klampeng is standing in the electronic doorway, … her face held in her hands, jumping up and down and screaming excitedly in Thai. I see her colleagues massing behind her, straining to see the reason behind the commotion. ‘Farang’ are scarce in these parts but a visit from Poor Circulation is even more of a surprise.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

chok dee na teerak, Pa :-)