There were many motorcycle taxis around the station trying to vie for my custom, but I knew from experience that they would only take me to a hotel or guesthouse that would pay them the most commission. So I waved them all away and started walking slowly down the road away from the station, a small local shop was just closing up as I was walking past, so I approached the owner and I asked in Thai if I could buy a cold beer before he closed. He got me a cold can of beer Chang and then he asked me where I was staying, so then I told him about my present situation and he told me where I could find a good inexpensive guesthouse by the name of Ladda Guesthouse not too far away, just next door to Robinson's Department Store, he then locked up the shop, wished me good luck and left.
I walked a little further down the road in the direction of the guesthouse, but my amputated leg which I had chafed in Penang started really hurting, so I looked for somewhere that I could sit down, rest my leg and drink my beer. I was quite lucky and I found another small shop that was closed, but they had left a table and chair outside, so I quickly sat down, took off my false leg and started to relax with my beer. I could see the Ladda Guesthouse entrance diagonally across the road from where I was sitting, so I knew I only had about another 30 metres to walk. After finishing my beer and applying a handkerchief as padding for my leg, I put my leg back on and headed for the guesthouse.
The entrance for the guesthouse was small and there were stairs up to the reception, it took me a while to negotiate the stairs with my bag but I eventually got to the reception desk. I asked the girl behind the reception desk if she had any spare rooms available and I was expecting the worst and waiting for her to tell me that they were full. She told me that they still had two rooms available, asked me to sign in and asked for my passport and 200 baht for the room. I felt quite happy, I had somewhere to stay now and she handed me the key, the next problem was that the room was up four more flights of stairs, but their security guard carried my bag up for me so I only had to carry myself, it took me a few minutes but I made it with relatively little pain from my leg. The room was very tidy and clean, with a double bed, table and two chairs, a wall fan and a separate tiled bathroom with soap and towels, I was very pleased with it at the price charged.
After I had relaxed for a while, I decided that I had to go out again and find somewhere to eat, so I went downstairs and asked the girl where I could find a cafe or restaurant. She told me to go back down to the road and just keep walking away from the station and I would eventually find the main food area. I did as she told me, but after a couple of blocks my leg was hurting again and I still could not find anything, as I was crossing the next road still heading in the direction that she had told me, I looked left and right also, I spotted a small neon sign off to the left, but I could not see exactly what it was, so I just kept on walking straight to where there were more lights. I passed a pub eventually and next to it was a large restaurant, but I took one look at the prices and decided that the pub looked better, so I went in. When I sat down I was given a menu and again the prices were quite high, but not as high as the one next door, so I ordered a beer and a Thai snack and relaxed a little again. After I had finished the snack and the beer, I had decided that this place was too expensive for me to carry on drinking in, so I paid the bill, went outside and started walking back the way that I had come before.
When I reached the next junction, I spotted the neon sign that I had seen before and this time I headed for it. As I got closer I could read the sign better and it just said 'I, Red' in English, this amused me slightly because it was very similar to my own name of 'I. Reed'. It turned out to be a Thai cafe/restaurant and there were many ordinary Thai locals sitting at the tables outside drinking beer which attracted me. I approached the cafe sat down at one of the outside tables and asked the person serving how much the beer was, I was very happy and relieved when she told me that the price of a large bottle of Chang beer there was 40% cheaper than the small bottle that I had just had at the last place I was in, also the food was very much cheaper and they had a better selection too. Over the next two days 'I, Red' became my permanent local hangout, because they sold the Thai food that I like, they had cheap beer and during the day they had a hot tea stall outside and as a rule, daytime I always drink lots of tea. The staff and especially the owner 'Daeng' were very friendly and attentive, so everything suited me perfectly, also there was a mini-mart just across the road from them where I could buy any necessities that I needed.
So what started out as an unscheduled stop for me, turned into a very pleasant two days break, I was quite sorry to leave Hat Yai in the end. I have sketched a map below for anyone visiting Hat Yai who would like to know the location of the places that I have been talking about on this page.
Cheers for now
Legless fool in Thailand
British expat amputee in Thailand
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'King of the road'
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To my current legless blog 2008
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My home town St Helens, UK and their famous rugby team
Some of my short stories HERE
Biography of author John McMiken
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