[Edit: I’m actually in a coffee shop in Kathmandu. More updates soon.]
Well, here I am on the plane from KL to Kathmandu having spent a week in Malaysia and I haven’t anything at all to say to you. (Un)Fortunately, having nothing at all to say never stops me, even * there’s been a dearth of hilarious mistakes. Nothing excruciatingly awkward has happened (though I did accidentally show my knickers to airport security just now), and nothing has gone atrociously wrong. I haven’t even had the shits. What else is there to write about?
It all started, as these things do, with a taxi. It came to be that I wasn’t quite on time in leaving for my train to Penang, Malaysia, as a passport anxiety crisis, precipitated by the discovery of the loss of a certain important slip of paper and resulting in the experience of a not-insignificant volume of stress being experienced by my person, thoroughly undesirable at the start of an adventure, left me with no other option than to stop for a very quick, luxurious, hour-long aromatic oil massage at a lovely little place near Sir Beardalot’s.
From oil and skin kneeding I emerged calm, collected, and late, flagged down the nearest taxicab and launched myself and my 60l companion into the back seat. The taxi driver spoke Thai and I conveyed to him, using my now extensive 15-word Thai vocabulary plus enthusiastic gesticulations, both my destination and the time-sensitive nature of my journey. We immediately hit traffic. Long minutes of motionless. Rising tension. The taxi driver conveyed to me, really rather kindly that we would reach my destination not just at the time I had specified, but BEFORE it. He turned up a sidestreet, then a narrow backalley. “That’s the stuff,” I grinned to myself, “secret, speedy routes that nobody else knows! Huzzah and hur…”. A man ahead in the alley pulled across a great metal gate, closing the path, waved us back, YOU SHALL NOT PASS. An intake of breath. Slowly, ever-so carefully, we reverse back down the backalley and out onto the road again. Taxi guy, again, taps his watch on the time he thinks we’ll arrive. I’m not so sure. He conveys to me that we’ll take the flyover. 50 baht. Done. I cross my fingers.
Well, we only bloody get there! At the same bloody time the bloody taxi driver had promised! What a legend. There’s a man who knows his city. Elated, I tip generously, dash inside. Taxi guy possibly thinks I’m crazy. He doesn’t know the half of it.
After an obnoxiously lovely Goodbye: THE RETURN with the BBF (you know the escalator scene in Cruel Intentions? Like that. Only in a corner shop. And with more snogging.), I am away.
I’m away on a train travelling south, in a rather spiffy 2nd class carriage with aircon and windows that are fixed perfectly into their sockets. My bed, upper berth for added adventurosity, is comfortable. I have water, snacks, something to read. It’s all rather boringly pleasant. At the boarder the next day I’m noticably not decapitated or in any other way put to death, detained, admonished or charged for having lost my documents. And, after 21ish hours of train travel, there I am in Butterworth, Malaysia, with absolutely no anecdotes whatsoever and nothing to say about the first leg of my adventures. It really won’t do.
That’s all for now. I’m typing this on my phone and my thumbs are beginning to ache. Tune in next post to find out about nothing whatsoever happing in Penang and KL. Thrilling.