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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Travel Story

From Siem Reap to Pattaya

On a long journey you have many
experiences and many stories.  On
this journey around the world we
have collected enough stories to
fill a book.  Today we left Siem Reap
in Cambodia and traveled a few hours
by car to the Thai border at Poipet.

When we reached the border we had
to say goodbye to our wonderful
Cambodian driver and load our luggage
into a rickety wooden cart to be taken
across the border.  Poipet is a notorius
border crossing with a reputation for
scam artists.  We exited Cambodia and
had to walk across No Man's Land in
the scorching noon day heat to enter
Thailand.  We made it through the
border crossing in a half an hour and
thought it was going to be smooth sailing.
I guess we forgot about Murphy's Law.
We had arranged for a Thai car service
to meet us with a van to drive us
for 3 hours to the beach in Pattaya.

Once we entered Thailand we could
not find the van or driver.  We spent
45 minutes in heat that I can't even
describe on the side of a 7-11.  We
tried calling, we tried texting, we
kept some people with the luggage
while others went searching for
the driver.  Brennan was carrying
a sign with my brother's name
that we took from the window
of our previous driver's van.

A deaf man approached us and
started pointing to the sign with
the name on it and pointing in
another direction.  We all thought,
oh no, are we getting scammed?
But at this point we needed to
explore any option.  And here is
the amazing thing, this deaf Thai
man had read our name in English
blocks away and he recognized
this foreign word.  On one paper
the name was written in marker,
the other was printed from a
computer.  I can't recognize a
Thai word if I had 2 signs right
next to each other.  Could this man
have a heightened ability to recognize
letters even in a foreign language or
does he have a photographic memory?
We don't know but we do know that
this man, in a town filled with scam
artists and thieves, renewed our faith
in someone just being kind and helpful.

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