At the airport near Amsterdam, the haul of hell to come had shaped its form through the airline Lufthansa declining my attempt at checking in due to a lack of proof of exit. Naive me had been cocksure that, similar to the precedent visit, no one were to bother controlling and thus clueless I marched the queue-less counter as I waved my passport. Soon after, my lady on the other side of the world armed with a laptop and I on my handy, scavenged the web for the cheapest exits possible. After all, it was unsure were I to actually depart on the particular date. Thank heavens then, when we found a bus hauling tourists over the border for a bargain of a price.
Fast forward through the weeks of apartment-sitting, meeting up with old and new local friends, a trip to KL and catching up with a mate under the comfort of drinks in a familiar town and then a final gloom gaze into the apartment. A period that had flown by followed by the final footsteps ticking on the floor of a place we called home as I exit one last time. Out of the premises and into the Grab taking me to the pick-up point where the journey away from home and into travels will commence. Fully aware of it being an excruciating long one, I had been more than slightly discontent with the humid heat striking onto backpack-wearing me causing an already drizzle of sweat to soak my shirt. But the heat is a fight fought on the daily in these harsh countries.
A minivan spurted passed and stunted into a halt before letting me board. A handful of foreigners greeted me and within the hours I learned that I was the only one with a drive into the double digits. What did I get myself into, I wondered, as the distance between Bangkok and I crawled shorter.
As a weary and lost bundle of people we made our way through customs and a hint of anxiety hung on our shoulders. Fortunately, the procedure had gone swift and smoothly and moments after the van was burning rubber on the potholed road of Thailand. A country massively distinct from the country of take-off and it filled my belly with an enticing excitement. The hour we drove to my stop I therefore spent glaring out of the window and at all that we passed by. After manoeuvring myself out of the van, the driver seated me into a wobbly, plastic garden chair for the hour to come. From this point on I would be the sole foreigner and from here I could join the locals within a double-decker carrying a blessed a/c. Now was the start of a dreadful ride passing the fifteen hour mark of head-bobbing, neck-breaking positions and constant switching of positions.
Then, at last, finally, the driver announces the arrival in Bangkok and my miserable joints get their longed for stretch as I stumble out of the vehicle. A crowd of vendors and taxi’s swarmed like seagulls hunting for food on a sunny day and I pushed myself away from the inflated rates and into the lobby. Although the ride had ended and the soil underneath me belonged to Bangkok, I was far from a shower and warm bed. What awaited me was a cruise to the airport followed by some hours of loitering and a tiresome embrace with Kath, who’d land some hours after my arrival. What was perhaps the least enthusiastic reunion followed by yet another hours-long drive into the city for the search of our hidden hostel located in one of the alleys minutes walk from Khao San Road. There, though asked to wait before entering our room, my body screamed relief as they allowed me into the showers. We were back, back into travels and it felt exhausting and exhilarating. Up next, we were to explore touristy Bangkok.