Anton's First Thoughts (I think they tell in his words what we all felt!) 'Those God dam bastards have got my bags!' I thought as we waited at the carousel at Chenai airport. Two Indian men were arguing about who knows what a few meters to our left. 'This place isn't so bad. Its a bit like a grubby local airport in Africa, but with less Africans and more God dam baggage stealing bastards'. Our bags eventually came and we made our way to the outside for the first real glimpse of the rain that had started when we were landing. Ceri and Sari bravely marched up to the only Taxi operator there and asked how much it would cost to take us to the backpackers.
'Rs1000' he said 'Bacause it is raining' Ha, bullshit. what the f@#k does rain have to do with the price of a taxi ride. They went off again with Ben in tow to find a better deal but there were no Taxis around so we went back to the first man to try to barter a better deal. I got it in my head that I could do this as long as I had a stern look on my face. 'Come on, you gotta give us a better deal, you can't say that the rain makes any difference. Rs700. No. Rs1000. OK OK, Rs800. No. Rs1000. Fine! Rs900. Rs1000. Don't barter.'
Don't barter, Bah.
So we accepted his offer after a begrudging couple of minutes of fervent mumbling amongst ourselves and all piled in the van with 2 other Australians we split the fare with.
As soon as we left the airport we realized why the price had gone from Rs350 to Rs1000. Traffic came to a stop. A dead and complete stop. No moving. Just sitting stationary. For 3 frikking hours. Unfortunately the constant hooting and engine fumes persisted for the entire time, infiltrating the precious few minutes we had to sleep before the driver cranked the vehicle into gear to edge us froward a few meters.
Eventually we came to the cause of the traffic jam. A single intersection and 3 cars moving in the opposite direction to all the other traffic. Oh ad the huge puddle that they were all sitting in that almost engulfed the auto rickshaws trying to forge their way through.
Some skillful darting around landed us in a small dark side street where the driver stalled the car. Unfortunately he did not really stall but had come to where we were stayng.
Oh crap! Its a shack. No wait the thing next to it has a door. Humm, still not too many steps up from the shack.
We grabbed our bags from the taxi and all piled under the shade of the building. A small raised section with painted flowers as decoration had a bundle of rags stuffed in the corner but besides from that it was empty. We rang the bell and the small bundle of rags stirred. 'Holy crap' thats someone sleeping there.' It really dawned on me at that point how poor most of this country was and I wondered if these raised sections are built for the homeless so they have a place to sleep.
The owner of the backpackers opened the door bleary eyed and in not so good a mood. I can understand that as it was 3:00 in the morning. After a bit of negotiating and hand waving he showed us the rooms and I realized that the small bundle of rags probably wasn't a homeless person but a backpacker that had decided to take the cleaner and safer option of sleeping out on the porch. But at 3:00 in the morning you don't really care about the rat the size of a small car that spoke Spanish with a Brumby accent and we went to sleep.