Monday, 29 October 2012

Freewheelin’ in S.E.A - Day 1: A road to somewhere

I stepped off of the plane after a long trip from my beloved London, which included a stop off in my beloved Delhi, into the pulsating humidity of my soon to be beloved Bangkok. Luckily I’d had a last minute panic, after weeks of procrastination and nonchalance, which had at least left me with a destination in this new city, the Lub D guesthouse in Silom. Although pretty shattered due to little sleep I opted for the Sky train, giving myself my first challenge of the trip. It was pretty much just like getting a tube back home, except you get a plastic coin instead of a paper ticket, and they have the most beautiful air conditioning known to man. It lifted me out of the humid haze and I suddenly felt awake again, more than awake, ready to take on the world as I excitedly watched the tall buildings of Bangkok whizz by. Then I got off, and just like when opening the oven door to check on your dinner, it hit me again. It was twenty-eight degrees and 8 p.m, and living in London where the last few summers have been a wildly inconsistent let down (except for the collective warmth of mass MDMA use), this felt hotter than hell itself. My broken backpack wasn’t helping either, but I sweat my way all along Silom to my hostel.
I threw a few bills at the young girl behind the counter, exchanged a few pleasantries and smiled at a few strangers, then ran upstairs, threw my bag in my dorm and dived into the shower. It was positively freezing, and I loved every second of it. I threw on some clothes and went outside, where a group of people were having drinks and talking, I asked a girl who was smoking for her lighter, as the airport in Delhi had stolen mine, then stood there and smoked my cigarette in silence, before strolling off to check out my surroundings and grab some dinner. My first meal alone, and what a treat it was. Me and Myself get on very well, you see, often doing things for each other’s amusement, and We treated I to an amazing prawn pad Thai, and hefty portion of fried squid. If I’d had my Sarah to share it with me, it would have been an acceptable amount, but I took the piss with how much I managed to consume of this amazing meal. I left feeling suitably stuffed and as I walked through the neon hustle and bustle of Silom square’s night market. A guy in the street outside a Thai massage place asked if I wanted a massage, I said I possibly might, so he dragged me somewhere completely different down and across the road. I kept slowing down and looking at stalls but he persisted, saying, “come look, come and only look”. That sounded like a good deal to an inquisitive mind like mine, so I followed him up a flight of stairs and through a door to be faced with what was quite clearly the madam of a whore-house holding a calculator, saying oil massage, boom boom boom, 1000 baht. I realised that boom boom boom must mean sex to the Thai, when speaking to foreigners, whereas in the west it just makes everybody say way-yo. WAY-YO. The far from inconspicuous line up of about eight girls behind her, in skimpy nighties and underwear, cemented the fact that I was standing in my first ever brothel. That’s one to tell the grand kids. I stuttered out some shit about having a friend coming tomorrow and that I would be back then with him, before darting out the door and back to my hostel quickfast.

I returned and said hello to a big welsh guy at the bar named Rhys and asked if he minded me joining them outside. I sat with a group of about eight people from Wales, America, Thailand, Ireland, Australia and England. The first English guy I met was Andy. I asked where abouts in London he was from, and he replied “Enfield”. “FUCK OFF”, I responded, shocked that the first Brit I’ve met on this ‘lonely’ journey is from my own home town. MADNESS! SHENANIGANS, I declare. The settings of the scene all shook, and out stepped all of my loved ones (everyone), all part of an epic ruse after choosing to come and join me on this journey. Those last two sentences were untrue, but we’re all together anyway, and that coincidence was enough of a sign to assure me that I was still on the right path, which I found ever since leaving for America in the winter of 2009.

I went to bed after a few too many cigarettes and not enough weed, as everybody I had asked had some horror story or another to tell and hadn’t come across any. I took another shower which was warm this time, and entered my relatively empty eight bed dorm, where there was one American guy I’d briefly said hello to, and a black guy that had been sleeping the whole time, whom I hadn’t met yet. Tomorrow would be another start. I didn’t know where I was going.

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