Dag 143; Bangkok

Leaving Hampi I shared a ricksha to Hospet with Livnat and Lori, two Israeli travelmates. During the ride, Livnat asks me if I believe in fate.

I answer her that yes, I do believe in fate, and that no, I do believe in free will. There is a goal of which I know nothing, but that we will reach it; of that I am sure.

Then she asks me if I’m afraid of hell, and I answer no, so she asks if I don’t believe in it. I don’t know, I’m just not afraid of it. I know that being human in hell, you would adapt. In a certain sense, we’re already in hell, we’ve just been here for so long, that we’ve forgotten what it would be like not to be. Real hell would be not to be able to adapt.

It’s like, heaven would be boring. For us to endure heaven, the part of us that longs for hell would have to be cut out.

And what would be left in either case, wouldn’t be me. It would be something else. And how it could be called justice if that thing would be rejoicing or punished based on my merits, beats me.

Livnat’s got a red and gold stick-on bindi, asks me if I want one. Of course, it’s the Shivavatri festival, so she puts a pink one between my eyebrows. We laugh about it, I allow myself to rest in her beautiful deep eyes for a few moments.

The ricksha bumping along, she says; difficult questions, right. Yeah. You know, she continues, it’s not my first language, but most the time I’m able to say the things I want to say in english. With you, I feel like a little girl all the time. Is that good or bad, I ask. Bad, of course. Well, I say, you should be glad. I never explained why.

Arriving at their bus stop, we have some delicious fresh pineapple juice and a smoke. I gave my pack to Lori, I don’t want them, I’m quitting, she gives me back one cigarette. My last cigarette, I tell her. Always the last, she says. Yeah.

They get on their sleeper bus, going to Poona, and I start walking towards the train station. With every step I can feel something decending upon me, something like a thick soft blanket. The silence beyond sound, the ear-popping sound of once again going solo.

Because, you see, it’s been so long since I was truly alone. In Goa and Hampi there was always something or somebody going on. And now, I was leaving everything and all that behind. Step by step, literally, I was leaving India, all that was, and step by step, I was walking into being just me.

The train-ride to Bangalore was eventless. Coming to Chennai, I left my luggage in the train station, bought some grapes and just sat there on the stairs outside of the station watching India pass me by. Dirty busy polluted chaotic backwards narrow-minded India. I hate it, can’t stand it and miss it. I will return.

I thought I was travelled out, blase. Coming to Bangkok I realized I was wrong. I did realize that I probably would travel in a different mindset, and yes, that seems to hold. Take the outer appearances of Tokyo and fill it up with the inner soul of, say, New Delhi or Mumbai, and you get Bangkok. Kho San Road, the backpacker centre, is a 24-hour madhouse. Arriving at 6’o clock in the morning, I find some aquaintances from the flight sitting in a ’Irish’ bar having breakfast beer to pumping cheesy euro techno remakes.

I think about finding a room and ask a truly odd old western man for advice. He’s quite disgusting actually, standing in the street holding a bath towel dressed only in yellow shorts, his face sprinkled with moles and boils, he gives me a hotel name, and then as if it was more to the point, the name of a night club. They’ve got 60 girls there, he exclaims. Damn thai women, though, they leave as soon as the money is gone. No wonder why, I think, but I’m tired, it’s all just too lovely, I feel dazed in the same way I did arriving to Mumbai, so I smile, thank him and walk away.

I find a good hotel, but unfortunately there’s only air-con rooms left. Just as well, as it’s incredibly warm and humid. Oh, well. I’ll splash out 480 baht (85 SEK) on my first night in Thailand. I eat some street noodles, sleep, and when I wake up it’s night.

I pass the ’Silk bar’, outside there’s some thai women dressed in fetish leather skirts, knee height boots and military caps. I just want to buy a ’singha’ beer for the road from them, but they try to explain something to me and I end up going into the place. It’s quite a nice place, I’m a bit underdressed in my embroided pants and sleeveless shirt. Anyway, I sit down at a really good table and just take the street in. It’s lovely, the beer is not that good, so my next order is a Heineken and some cream soup.

Suddenly, somebody is saying something in my right ear, I’m sitting alone at a table, they have a lot of people waiting to be seated, would I mind joining those two thai women down there at that table in order to free up this one? I’m actually quite enjoying myself, although getting kind of saturated, so I think, why not. And, the ladies look nice, when I look their way, they wave and smile. One of them have totally caught my eye, she’s impossibly slim yet not skinny, has that kind of nervous manner that seems common to young thai women - looking around the place, wringing hands, picking at stuff. Cute as hell. Lovely.

So I go, ’yeah, sure’ and go down to the table, it’s a shit table, it’s halfways out in the street and made of plastic. On the way there I meet the girls, smiling and saying ’thanks’. They are on the way to my table. My ace table with superb view.

"If you’re not having fun there, you can come back in," says the hostess.

Obviously, I’ve been exchanged for something a bit more in line with the message the place is trying to convey.

And of course, there’s not exactly a big crowd waiting to join me at my shit table halfways out in the middle of the street. When my cream soup comes it comes with the bill without me having to ask for it.

Today Becky mailed and told me she’s on a small island outside the port of Ranong called ’Kho Pha Yam’, not to be mixed up with ’Kho Pha Ngan’, the big party island. Apparently this island is peaceful, not very developed and got some lovely beach. Just what I was looking for to kick of my stay in Thailand, I’m leaving for Ranong tomorrow night.

Love, Stefan

PS. The list of topics not yet covered by these travel diaries is getting quite long.