I have no home, no keys, no job and I’m in a strange country I’ve never been to before. I can’t read their signs and I don’t speak their language. The water is poisonous and the food, fission-hot. Luckily the beer is 60p a can and delicious and always cool. I think I just swallowed a bit of metal from my beer can but we’ll gloss over that fact and pretend everything’s normal: it’s fine, see, can’t you see my smile?
The flight was uneventful. I sat next to a kind Turkish man and then an enormous Brazilian who told me he had 35 meetings to go to in the 11 days he planned to spend in Bangkok. The sun set behind us as we left Manchester, then rose ahead of us halfway between Istanbul and Bangkok. I did not sleep on the plane, only dozed and only for a couple of hours. I am tired and tired and tired.
At Istanbul airport I watched an elderly woman in white robes argue with a customs official who’d confiscated an enormous, curved knife from her, and saw three elderly Chinese men asleep on a bench, leaning against one another, each propping up the others.
My cousin met me at the airport. I got through customs without a hitch. More fool them. Within a few moments of being outside, a sweat patch had started majestically unfurling across the back of my top. Sexily. I have not had a chance to practice my Thai, but I have learnt that the expression for “no chilli” is “mai phrik”. Say it. Say it again. Do a lol. Ad infinitum. There are a lot of mangy-looking dogs here, hanging about on the streets like lazy gangsters. I was too self-conscious to ask whether or not they’re aggressive the first time around. Maybe next time. I need to know. I need to be prepared.
I haven’t really slept. Did I say that already? I’ve lost track. I’d better sleep. I can feel that metal thing I definitely didn’t swallow jut hanging around in my throat. Death.
The streets don’t look like they’ve been set up properly but that’s something I’ll have to deal with tomorrow, AFTER some sticky rice and sticky rice with mango. My cousin says that’s a thing. I want it.
Just almost fell asleep then. So now signing off. Like a boss.
Day 1 and I’m still alive. So far, so good.