Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Elle avait l'air d'une serveuse de snackbar

Cette femme, qui entre au resto Viet où je suis affairé à manger un poulet, qui rentre et qui demande directement au cuisiner où elle peut utiliser un ordinateur, et cet homme, de rétorquer dans le calme plat, en poussant son bras jusqu'à ce qu'il soit horizontal et tendant la main gauche vers la bonne direction, vous marchez par là pour 10 minutes ma dame et vous allez au Futureshop, et il décide de ne pas ajouter, vous allez vous en acheter un et vous me fichez la paix, alors que des yeux elle suit la direction de sa main, et d'un air confu, regarde autour du resto, marche un peu en allant nul part comme une poule au chalet de Phil, et soudainement quitte la place, et moi et le cuisinier, on se regarde, on se sourit même pas, il n'y a aucune émotion dans les quatres de nos yeux, mais quand même, il sait que en dedans de moi, je suis en train de rire, et j'ai une si belle admiration pour sa réponse.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

My last post in ASEA

I am in Bangkok, sitting at a computer offered by the guesthouse I am staying at. The internet is a meak $2 an hour. I choose to afford this luxury because I have been here for 4 nights already and I have another 3 more to go. I am also cursed with a crippling muscle cramp in my left shin, my second since Laos. A quick internet search lets me know that dehydratation is the main cause of this. 

I know I drink too much, body, why do you have to punish me like this?

I'm walking at around 2 km/h and my only trips out are to go eat, and it's incredibly painful. I don't mind the lack of mobility, but usually by the end of the day I feel light-headed, my hands are shaking, and all I can do is crawl in bed and play some games on my iPod to try and ignore the pain.

My usual remedy for pain both mental and physical - beer - is what caused this predicament, and so I must refrain. 

So here I am, listening to Bernard Adamus, sitting directly under a fan and still sweating, writing my thoughts down like I did at the start of my trip. I missed this, but for some reason on Don Det the inspiration was lacking. Rather, I was too busy having fun and soaking in all the delicious moments.

I stare out the window of the AC-ed computer room, at the cute Thai receptionists who show only contempt for me. I can't blame them, travelers seem to think that they can be as big douchebags as possible here in Bangkok.

They must have seen a lot of stupid white people.

The day after I left Don Det with a smile for I miss my friends at home, but a melancholy for everyone, I arrived at the guesthouse and out of reflex connected to that social media only to learn that one of the ex-pats living on the island, Carl, died in his house in the night. He was 63 years old. He used to be in the British army.

He used to kill people for money, is how he put it.

This left me with some feeling I cannot quite describe... How will I die and who will find me? Will my life have mattered? I started to think about my plans to live on Don Det for a few years but decided to focus on Bangkok and being reunited with the Thai culture instead. 

After 3 months on an island where the only vehicules are motor bikes and bicycles, being thrown into this tsunami of cars, tuk-tuks, scooters and pedestrians I started to feel light-headed. Also, climbing the steps to my room in the guesthouse left me with sever pain in my chest which I could only guess was caused by the heavy pollution. To climb 10 steps I need to take a break and focus on my breathing - backpack or not.

I was supposed to fly out on the 10th of April. Supposed to. I checked my flight at least 5 times. 02:00, BKK airport, 10/04/13. A quick meeting with 2 friends from home on transit in Bangkok as well, and at 11:00 I bid them goodbye and grab a cab to the airport.

Arriving at the gigantic, 6 stories high glass monster that is BKK airport, I am again overwhelmed with how many people there are and how big everything is. Inside, despite the hour, the floors are buzzing with travelers going somewhere else. 

Me, I'm going home. 

I find myself standing in front of the giant luminous screen that offers the schedules for all the flights in the next 24 hours. Scanning for 2am and I cannot see my flight. Suddenly, I start to sweat despite the AC. I'm starting to breath quicker. I take a few steps back to see the whole of the screen and look for the icon of British Airways. 

Finally I spot it, farther on the left. On the left? That can only mean... 


I look at my iPod... 11:53.

My mouth lets a "fuck" escape. 

I have been convinced since high school that I have numbers dyslexia. So many math tests that I failed because I have inverted two numbers for no reason, or put a comma at the wrong place. This confirms it for me. I have verified SO MANY TIMES that goddamn time, I scream at myself in my head.

I run to the British Airways counter. No clients. I go to the agent and tell them I am getting on that flight.

"No, you're not. It's too late."
"There's nothing we can do? There's no rush line?"
"No. You have to call customer service."

The Thai clerk nonchalantly hands me over a tiny piece of paper with a 24-hour, 1-800 Thai number on it and waves me off. 

I find a webphone and try to call. They do not accept calls to toll-free numbers. Great. I go back to the British Airways desk and everyone is gone. 

Reality sets in that I have missed my flight and wasted $1500. 

I had a great plan set up with my friend Mathieu. He had a BBQ organised on the 13th just for the occasion. Everyone was gonna be there and I was gonna pop out and film everyone's reaction. 

I go back to the flight projections and see there are no flights from British Airways scheduled in the next 24 hours. I pay an obscene amount of Baths to use a phone at their "communication services" counter and call the 24-hour helpdesk, who turns out to be open only from 08:00 to 16:00. 

I feel like crying. I pay another fee to use the social media monster just long enough to let my parents know what happened. I have 300 Bhats left to go back to Bangkok, everything is too expensive here in the airport. 

It cost me 243 Bhats to get here so I hope I will be fine. I go back out and am accosted by a few cab drivers who all wave me off rudely when I ask them to use the meter - they all want 500 Bhats to go back to Koh Sang Road. 

Finally I find one who wants 350 bhats or to charge me 50 bhats just to use the meter. I open my walet, give him the 300 bhats I have left and tell him that's all I have. 

He smiles and tells me to get in.

20 minutes later and I am back at the guesthouse with a feeling of defeat, culminating with my leg cramp and the death of Carl. I drop my bags in the room, go back out and buy a few beers, and sit down with 2 Thai girls that manage a small cocktail bar on the side of the road. They manage to make me smile, and after 3 beers and refusing a generous offer of good times from a ladyboy I'm drunk and off to bed.

The next day I connect to the Social Serpent to find messages by my parents who were quite angry. They had the right to, they offered to pay for that ticket. Utterly defeated and depressed, I disconnect and go eat breakfast alone, at 2 km/h. It will be a few hours before I reply to them, once I calmed down.

That day was spent trying to reach both the Bangkok and London British Airways offices where either the numbers were out of order or the person on the line would "not hear me" - either from a landline, cellphone, or skype - and hang up on me.

I swallowed my pride and decided to buy a new ticket. 

At least, I bought it after the water festival. If I'm to stay a night or two more, at least let's make it worth it