Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Freewheelin’ in S.E.A - Day 40: Back to the future


After what felt like five minutes sleep, our 5 o’clock alarm rang. This would be the last time I wake in a bed that wasn’t my own, the last time I have to carry all of my possessions in a half-broken bag, on a half broken back, out of a half-broken hotel, the last blurry Bangkok morning I would witness through hazy eyes. I wasn’t ready. I could’ve stayed for at least a few months more, although I needed to stop living so I could catch up on my adventures. See, the life of a writer is a difficult balance between living and writing. If you're not out living the moments, you will have no experiences to draw from in your work, but if you're doing too much living you can scarcely find the time to get your experiences documented, and you end up with a back-log of life weighing you down as you get around. I'm searching for a happy medium, but think perhaps it can only be achieved with great discipline. I've always been a naughty boy. Exhaling the last of our smoke out of the window I went to get some water from the 7-Eleven. As I returned back down the narrow alleyway, I saw a Thai girl coming towards me, doing the walk of shame from our hotel. I assumed it was my brief neighbour, although it could have been one of many. I gave her a cheeky smile as she approached, one of those ‘I know what you’ve been up to’ grins, and she gave me a friendly little punch in the arm as she passed. I would miss this place.

God was waiting to wish us goodbye
After a few minutes our mini-van arrived and whisked us away from Four Sons Place. One thing I wasn’t going to miss was the crazy driving, as much as I enjoy the thrill of fearing for my life in near-death experiences, ten times a day was a bit too much. Still, the lunatic got us to the airport in good time, we checked in our dead weights and I felt like Atlas, with the weight of the world finally removed from his shoulders. I did a little boogaloo, moonwalk, and electric slide through passport control and boarded the sixth flight of my trip, which would be taking us back to India. I had hoped to spent this time like all the other spare time I’ve had, writing, but my mind was too tired to concentrate on such things and I spent it instead staring blankly at a screen which had some shit film or another  for me to doze along to. Sarah and I were both excited to land in Delhi, secretly hoping that a problem with the plane would mean we had to stay for the day, however, no such luck occurred. Still, we had a few hours in the airport which we’d gone home from a year before and we first visited a store which did free henna so that Sarah could get her hand done again. There was also a guy doing free palm readings, so I sat down with him on a tiny stool, offering my hands as reading material. He took them and then started explaining each line in detail. He said I had two head lines, which is very unique, but also meant that I over think. A running theme in my life, it seems. He said I had a long lifeline which has no breaks, meaning I won’t suffer any big illnesses along my journey. He told me that I’d be lucky up until the age of forty-five, and then I’d have to work harder to achieve what I want. He said that I had good karma, a good balance between hard work and luck, and good creative mercury, but I won’t be satisfied with my level of fame. He told me about the power of stones, telling me that I should try and get a 7 carat emerald on a silver ring and wear it on Wednesdays to improve my creative mercury and gave me a card, offering to guide me in more detail if I ever wished. That’s the second day in a row that I’d been pretty satisfied with fortunes for the future, and both were similar, so I must be doing something right.

Sarah had something on her phone which allowed us access into a fancy lounge where you could have a drink, eat and wait for your flight. Everything was my favourite price, free, so I filled my boots with a variety of different Indian dishes, snacks and a rum and coke, mixed extra strong on my request. Within an hour our flight number 111 was called and we swiftly boarded and got seated by the emergency exits, which is always a blessing for my long legs, thanks to a bit of pre-planning with my friend Johnny who works for Air India in London. Even though I’d just recently eaten, I had a good go on the Indian food that was served on-board, not wanting to miss out on another free meal, although this time I washed it down with a valium, and then edited some of my writing until my eyes grew heavy. I must’ve slept for around two hours and awoke to an announcement from one of the cabin crew asking for any doctors on-board to make themselves known. I felt sad upon hearing that, it was the first time I wished that I’d listened to my Dad when I was eight, and become a doctor. Still, I wrote that everything would be ok and it was written. No further alarm.

Our wheels bounced down on the ground of London town, nobody cheered as the pilot told us that the temperature was 2 degrees centigrade. I stepped off of the plane feeling positively buoyant, almost giddy, which could be put down to my lack of sleep, or the knowledge of the present I had left myself at home. No more expensive twigs, only the most darling of buds. We navigated our way through baggage collection, then customs, where I stopped at their ‘anything to declare’ section to declare that I love Sarah, before making our way onto the tube. I sent a message to my best friends to let them know their boy was back in town and was delighted to received a reply from Mike, reminding me that we had tickets to see The Dandy Warhols that Thursday at an underground club called Heaven, which to me sounds more like a cunning trick by the Devil to attract people to Hell. It was amusing to witness London’s tube culture after forty days away, until I ended up having to shout at two naughty teenage French boys for constantly trying to open the door of our moving train. ‘Ain’t nobody got time fo’ that’. We didn’t have time for anything other than getting back to Bethnal Green as quickly as possible, and everyone else smiled at me for telling them off. It was the first time in a long time that I’d acted like an adult. I didn’t like it.

It was freezing outside and we couldn’t face waiting for the bus with our bags, so we took a taxi from Bethnal to our Hackney home, which I managed to haggle, still in holiday mode, and arrived through the door of our expectedly messy manor to cheers from our housemates. Henry, Pete and Damien were gathered in the living room and welcomed us back with huge hugs, Henry throwing his stinky bag of skunk at me, which I immediately rolled into a homing missile and aimed directly towards my lungs. We spent an hour with our family of friends and then made our way upstairs where a big hot bath was waiting. We both climbed in together and lay in the heat watching steam hit the ceiling as the knowledge that we were no longer travellers with the world at our feet started to sink in. This automatically made mine itchy, but that’s to be expected, you cannot stay on the rollercoaster forever or you’ll never know what it’s like to queue, the anticipation of excitement is half the fun, and now was the time to anticipate the future. I knew that I had much to be getting along with, at least three books worth of material to release, music to finish working on and a script or two to finally write, once I’d transferred each days’ worth of memories from this trip onto page.

Although it could be looked upon as the end of an adventure, I still have a mountain to climb and with the support of my best friends, lover and all of my fellow Freewheelers, I’m certain I will overcome everything before me.


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