Back to Bangkok - Ode to AC
Trip Start Jul 25, 2006
165Trip End Ongoing
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Our hotel was beyond what should have been our price range, but like India when Danayi came to visit me for a month, I had picked a nicer hotel than my average for her first few nights to help with her transition to living like a hobo for the foreseeable future. I figured if I got a swish place with things like hot water and an actual bed it might be easier for her to come to grips with the fact she had left her life in New York to live with (and like) a homeless man for the foreseeable future. The room also had air conditioning
Ahh, AC - how do I love thee? In Africa, I could never afford a place with air conditioning, and during my time in India and Nepal, it wasn't needed. But in South East Asia, it is a luxury beyond compare. AC in Thailand or Vietnam feels like wrapping a huge cloak of refreshing goodness around you. I'm a warm man. I'm Canadian, I'm hairy, and I grew up with a mother who stuck her ice cube hands down the back of my shirt to warm them up whenever she was cold and I was around, which was often. I'm convinced this conditioned my body to produce volumes of heat. It turns out I love AC, a lot. Danayi, however, is more built for the heat than I am. She is part Zimbabwean and part Jamaican, which must make her more heat friendly than the pale, porridge eating Scottish-English stock I spring from. She is smooth and not hairy. Our opinion of what is 'hot' and 'comfortable' is quite different. If there is a future here, it will someday involve a den and a private thermostat. In hotel rooms with AC, our differences usually resulted in me laying on top of the bed, unclothed, and sweating with the ac on full blast while she cuddled under the duvet fully clothed. How's that for sexy imagery, huh?
This attempt to be a good boyfriend and travel companion backfired as it started a new found obsession with ac
But, dammit, I'm also not 23 years old anymore and travelling through Southeast Asia and the Pacific for six months on $3000 total. I used to sleep in a ditch (and a couple of beaches) if it would save me 50 cents. I was willing to be malnourished, bug bitten and ridden if it would save me a couple of dollars. But I'm not 23 anymore. While years from old age (despite what some of you think, including YOU Nyenye if you are reading this), I've perhaps left most of the blush of childhood behind. I've been suffering from serious back problems for years before this trip, and on this trip (thanks Africa) I did serious damage to my knees which has yet to heal. (Travelling with no health insurance is not recommended, but let's see you find a carrier who will cover you for this type of trip and for this long.) I'm perfectly willing to spend 30 hours crammed into a bus with chickens and charcoal and strangers' children on my lap. I'll ride on top on a cattle truck full of refugees for a couple of days, share the floor of a Burundian refugees' hut in the bush, trek through the Himalayas up to 5416 metres for a lark, and brave the Indian train system for a freezing night on a third story bunk in January, but at least let me encourage myself with the knowledge that there might be a reasonable bed at the end of it
Ahem. What was this entry about anyway?
Ahh, yes. The return to Bangkok. Once returned Danayi and I decided we were heading to Cambodia next. This was particularly exciting for me, as when I had been here back in 1997, it was impossible to get into the country, and Angor Wat had been a dream of mine since childhood. Still hovering over us like the smell of a backpacker's sandals, however, was the deadline for Danayi's thesis. It had not been finished on the island, and we were unsure of the internet situation in Cambodia for submitting it, so it was decided we would stay another week in Bangkok for her to finish it. This required me to extend my visa by a week (the only amount allowed and very expensive). After the typical red tape in the Immigration office, it was done.
Danayi spent the next week working more or less steady on her thesis. I spent my time assuring Danayi everything would be ok, skulking around to various internet cafes and surreptitiously downloading movies and TV in the background (Hey, I needed my 'Office' fix now that I had access to a laptop, and besides, I felt it my duty as a man of culture and taste to introduce Danayi to Rocky 1 through 4, the only ones that count), and continuing my scientific experimenting on how many fruit shakes a human could consume in a day before he shat a pineapple. (Status - research still ongoing.)
Finally the time came to leave Thailand. Both of our visas were about to expire, and we decided to take a bus to the border the next day. Danayi's thesis was not quite finished, but we read internet was bountiful in Cambodia. The next morning we got up and headed for Cambodia. We were planning on coming back to Thailand and left with this thought cushioning our regret at not seeing more of the country.