Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Freewheelin’ in S.E.A – Day 4: Market down as another win

Maddie entered our room to shake us from our slumber, we had to check out at 12 and it was 11.30am. After a quick shower and bag packing we were downstairs and ready for the weekend market. Our gang of five had become eight, our American pal Amy joined us, along with a Scottish guy and a German girl whose names escape me. We lost Alex and Scott to the doctors, as Scott had a bad fever, probably due to the previous night’s banana incident, so the six of us jumped on the Sky Train to Chatuchak Park. We parted ways in order to make the navigation easier, agreeing to regroup at 3.30pm. Maddie was looking after my passport in case we needed them for the train booking later, so we stuck together and made our way into the vintage market. It was a mad mess of indoor stalls which were reaching boiling point underneath the heat of the afternoon sun. I needed some clothes as I’d brought hardly any with me, and almost immediately saw a garish Zebra print shirt which was perfectly suited to the animalistic beach vibe that I was going for. I asked how much and the Thai hipster guy replied 200 baht. I chucked 150 at him and he started dancing. Maddie would stop to check out every stall that had any dresses at all, and I’d scour up and down, then report back with where looked good for girls. Being raised by a single mother and older sister has definitely made me a good shopping buddy, but the fourth day without weed hadn’t afforded me the patience to wait whilst she tried on at least two items per stall. This place was like the Camden stables were ten years ago, a mass of vintage band t-shirts, old converse, cowboy shirts and items of Americana, mixed in with a whole heap of mass produced shit that no discerning shopper would ever consider purchasing. I decided to cut an old band t-shirt into a much needed vest, so I ran up and down the narrow aisles in search of one with The Doors. After about twenty minutes, I was successful, finding one with the band on the front, and a quote on the back which read “If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it truly is, infinite” Cost me about a fiver which I gladly paid, before navigating my way back to the park to meet the others and get some delicious street food.

Brady, Maddie and I headed off to the humorously named Bang Sue station, purchased tickets to Nong Khai which is on the border of Laos, then took the train back to grab our bags from the hostel and wish our friends a fond farewell. We took a cab with our three backpacks in the boot, and headed to the train station. Brady got his ticket to Chiang Mai, as he couldn’t join us in Laos due to visa restrictions; we hugged as I sung ‘Bye Bye Brady, Brady goodbye…’ in my head and then darted off for our train, making it with just a few minutes spare. We had a ten hour journey to the border in front of us, but it was a sleeper train with air conditioning and seats which were swiftly converted into beds. By 9pm, everyone was seemingly asleep, except the two of us who were chatting up until we realised, then quietened down. Within a few minutes Maddie conked out too, so I drew the curtain across her bed then started trying to work out a route for Sarah and I to travel when she arrives in Bangkok. After about an hour, my map was marked out with a few choice places, and I laid back on my bed. I looked up at the void above me, pen still in hand, and wrote ‘The Freewheelin’ Troubadour loves you’ on the space above my face, peaceful in the knowledge that every soul that lays there from now on will know how I feel about them. My feet were going forward on the bed, and it felt like I was being pulled into a time warp as the train gently rocked me to sleep. Another new marker on my map of life was approaching in the distance.

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