34 hours in Bangkok
Trip Start May 08, 2005
45Trip End Aug 16, 2005
First, the taxi driver left me at the gas station as we were leaving Patong. While he was refueling, I went into the mini-mart to buy a drink. We made eye contact as I was walking in.
When i walked out he was gone. There was really nothing for me to do but giggle.
At the airport, I almost got in to a fight with a couple of french guys who butted right in front of me in the check-in line. It turned out that they had some paperwork problems that need to be cleared up and had returned after the task's completion.
I didn't know them from god's dog and they just pushed past me. Really bad PR on their part...no harm, no foul.
I knew i was tired though. i knew i was through.
I was tired of other non-english speaking of tourists. I was tired of women in shadours. I was tired of everything and everyone....
The main question was simply if i could get home in one piece and i was starting to have my doubts.
Went to Asya's apartment where i had left my stuff and would spend my final night.
This time, we avoided the pussy shows. In a nice bit of synchronicity, one of the peace corps volunteers whom i met on my trip to Ubon, Emily, was in Bangkok that night.
The three of us met up, ate middle eastern food, smoked a hookah, and went for ice cream.
Asya and Emily really hit it off. They seemed to both be starved for someone new to talk to and share experiences with. I had feeling they would enjoy comparing notes; Emily had spent no time in Bangkok during her 7 months in Thailand, while Asya had not left the city in the 6 weeks since her arrival.
After midnight we said our goodbyes, got into taxis and went our separate ways.
Back at her apartment Asya and I talked until 2am.
I couldn't believe it was over, the trip was done....
She chided me that deep down inside, I really like living Kansas City....
I told her not to push that button again...
My flight didn't leave until 22:45. I spent a couple of hours roaming around aimlessly on Sukhumvit.
I came to staring at beer cooler in a 7-Elephant.
Walked away with a shudder, further evidence it was time to get out.
1700: Meet up with Asya at the apartment and we walk to dinner. Find a little hole in the wall Thai restaurant. It is wonderful.
The last meal of a man condemned to culinary mediocrity???
Som Tam, Penang Curry, Pork with chillies, Thai iced coffee, mushroom salad....all for less than the cost of one dish at a restaurant back home....
1900: Last stop at 7-Elephant. A bottle of water and M&M's for the plane...and 3 tubes of Darlie toothpaste. It's good stuff that isn't sold in the states.
That might have something to do with the racist depiction of a big black Sambo on the tube.
1930: Cab to the airport. The check engine & fuel lights are both illuminated on the dash board. Remembering my luck in the taxi to the Phuket airport, I purchase some Buddha blessing flowers from a street vendor at a stop light.
We make it to the airport without incident.
2010: I am checked in. I am waiting. I am asked to fill out a tourist survey by a couple of university students working for the Thai Department of Tourism.
One the first questions was how many days i had stayed in Thailand. I guess at 85 days.
8 5 D A Y S!?!?!?!
The survey goes on to ask about all the activities and attractions and places i enjoyed on my stay....their paper isn't large enough so i hand it back....it is time to board.
For several days before departure, I was vacillating between the disgust of returning and the dread of staying any longer.
In the final moments, it doesn't matter anymore. The inner conflict succumbs to the inertia of my feet.
Through the barrier.
Stamp the passport.
To the gate.
The jet way.