The railways in Thailand are simply good. They carry one pretty fast and cheap across the country. A really small extra charge gets you a seat in a comfortable sleeping wagon where they even supply food to the bed. The trip from Bangkok to the south to Surat Thani is 12 hours through lush rain forests along hundreds of miles of coastline and countless islands. The last stop is the gathering place for travelers over country in order to reach all the tourist spots. Getting lost is impossible anyway in this country. You can find buses, tuck tuks, minivans, jeeps and trains all day and night long. Crowded with backpackers who brood over their „Lonely Planet“ and bother me with their same-sounding, meaningless stories.
Advice: Leave the travel guide at home and put your footsteps beside the beaten tracks.
I wanted to visit Thailand without prejudices and get to know it my way. I arrived together with my younger brother Simon and friend Matthias in the City of Angels. Considering that we neither were aware of if we can enter the country with no return ticket nor had an accommodation booked and not even knew „Thank you“ (Khop Khun khap) in „thai“, everything worked out pretty easy. From the airport we took the Skytrain to downtown and found immediately a cheap hostel. Bangkok’s nightlife is not less lively than during the day and somehow we ended up in one of those spooky ping pong shows. The city is flooded with temples. The probably most famous one is called Wat Arun.
Advice: Tuk tuks in Bangkok are much more expensive than taxis. Even without taxameter.
Unfortunately there are lots of downsides in Manila too, above all prostitution. The metropolis is a melting pot for sex tourists and sugar daddies. Suppressing the fact what losers they actually are at home, they spoil here as molochbarons innocent, desperate filipinas their human dignity, in order to brag about the obnoxiousness to their probably similar messed environment. Left behind are disillusioned facades. These unprincipled, bloated, self-regarding, mangy sacks, who shamelessly and wantonly with their disembodied, soulless purchases squeese through the of poverty flooded roads and draw on a third world country as it would be an Eat-all-you-can buffet!
No Freedom until we are equal, damn right i support it.
Satisfaction is measured solely on the threshold of dissatisfaction that everybody has to set for himself. I can only say, living is way more cloudless if you set your breaking point low. I do not mean that one should swallow everything what is laid in front of your paws, but to pay attention to the details and embellish it worth living.
Meanwhile it was three AM in the night, in every dark back alley i felt exposed to eyes, I felt everywhere lurking shadows in the darkness, I cutted across country on a platter. We made it to a safe, police guarded park, spent the rest of the night there and went at the next morning to the province of Cavite to Lyn’s mother and the rest of her family. Despite major language barriers and minimal standard of living I was welcomed there like the prodigal son.
At midnight I was jerked from sleep by loud banging, the drunken father stood with drawn revolver in the doorway and forced me to leave. Through the fact that I slept in a room with his daughter before marriage (banned by Iglesia ni Cristo) i defiled the honor of his family. Oddly, he only noticed that in a drunken stupor. If I have to leave, she also leaves, said Lyn, put herself between me and the gun and decided despite the threats of her father to be shunned by her family and not being able to come back to leave the apartment with me. Silently, she took my hand and pulled me out into the night. Admirable, selfless loyalty, as I only know it from the Philippines. Thank you a lot!
Finally i was persuaded into joining a celebration of the religious sect „Iglesia ni Christo“. Banned cameras, fastidious seating, prescribed unit clothing, signed donation cans and the separation between the sexes are just a few of the features that are required by the Church of Christ in order to pass the doorman. What started with a strange feeling swept quickly through the screams of the pastor quickly into oppressive unease. The howling sect clientele around me didn’t make it any better, so I looked around for escape exits, since I already imagined sacrificial rites, which would probably hit the only foreigner in their midst. Nothing like that happened and I left the club of course unscathed, however, I was stopped in front of the exit gate to the great freedom of a bunch of subpastors and submitted a brief survey regarding my accompany before they returned my stored things like identity card and camera bag.
…we lost ourselves and walked through parks where indescribable fireworks took my breath away, strolled over promenades along the sea, in a nutshell.. i’ve seen beside the whole poverty, violence and injustice that makes Manila one of the most dangerous cities, points of light where joy and community bloom.