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"Help us! Our bus is late!"

December 1, 2002
Bangkok, Thailand

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We made it to the travel agency by 6:15 a.m., in plenty of time to make our 6:30 ride down to Koh Chang. But when no one had shown up yet at 6:40, Ellie -- ever resourceful -- wrote up a sign: "Help us! Our bus is late!" Em soon followed with a series of flyers making a similar plea. But it was Jen's persistence that got a woman passing by to make a couple of calls on her mobile phone to try to find out what was going on. Moments later, a woman emerged from the travel agency and led us down a dark hall, to a bar room where some guys were playing pool and drinking beer at 6:50 a.m. Then through a small alley to the street behind, where our van was just pulling away. They noticed us running behind them about a block later and let us climb in.

We rode about four hours south, along the Gulf of Thailand, and then took a ferry out to Koh Chang, a tropical island several miles offshore.