I am here, safe and sound, in my hostel on the buzzing night-spot of Soi 11,Sukhumvit (Thai addresses will take some getting used to), having successfully negotiated the bewildering Bankgkok public transport system from the airport into the city centre and back out again. Feeling rather chuffed with myself, actually.
The humidity here makes Cairns seem arid. I am literally dripping, and have already had two showers (I’ve only been here two hours). Hopefully I’ll acclimatise… The hostel has oodles of character, and is on a really lively side-street, where backpackers, locals and dodgy Europeans with their petite Thai girlfriends all rub shoulders happily. I enjoyed my first Thai meal by sampling some of the gorgeous street food on the stalls lining the road – I selected my chicken and veg kebabs with chilli sauce and watched them sizzle in front of me (fresh food at its best) and then I had some beautifully sweet mango with coconut rice afterwards. Any aspirations of turning up to my sister’s wedding in June svelte from travelling may have to be revisited, I fear.
My hand-selected kebabs being cooked (not all were mine though, I hasten to add).
I am very excited and happy to be here – it’s a thrilling feast for the senses, and I love the fact life here is so completely different to back home. This kind of travel is truly eye-and mind-opening. First observations include: frantically-driven tuk-tuks weaving through the crowds, the smell of barbecued meat and unknown herbs and spices in the smoggy air, huge cockroaches racing down the pavement, beers for 50p, a brightly-coloured street border of gift stalls, selling silk scarves, buddha statues, I LOVE BANGKOK caps and everything in between, children sleeping at the side of the road, lots of sweaty, balding men with unfeasibly pretty thai other halves, massage hawkers enticing you into their shops late at night… So much to take in.
Anyway, just wanted to touch base and let folks know I arrived safe, after a very uneventful plane journey, dominated this time by Michael Fassbender (literally, in the case of ‘A Dangerous Method’) rather than Ryan Gosling films. No fire-arm based mix-up with the baggage this time, either, phew. Right, I am now going to attempt to sleep without melting into my sheets in a pool of humid sweatiness – mmmm, nice image to leave you with.