Saturday 20th. 11.30am
Thailand is so hard without my brother. Everyone is confused and nothing makes any sense at all. I’m sitting at the taxi place crying and crying. Fucking hell. Just feel so ignored and dismissed. Feel like a problem they are glad to get rid of. After all the love and welcoming and friendliness, this morning there was such confusion about the bags, the timings, the check out. It just seemed so unbelievably hard and like no-one wanted to solve it.
And now I’m sat at the taxi place and they tell me to wait and there’s an empty taxi and I would like to go and get my boat now please. And the sweat runs down my back in rivers like the tears on my face.
And I lost my water! Fucking hell. My litre bottle for the journey, in all the confusion I put it down and now have none. And I’ve just cried half a litre out my face.
Jesus woman. What is this.
Here’s a funny thing, when I cry, my eyebrows hurt. Like a row of tingly little stinging pains spring up along my eyebrows as soon as I crease up in tears. What the fuck is that?
And my injuries now include bramble scratch (where I moved to the side of the jungle road to avoid a huge vehicle and got great bruising stabs to my leg), muscle ache in my arms from either swimming or gardening, and the stupidly avoidable life jacket rash, which is it’s own special kind of soreness until it meets with mosquito spray which is another new world of pain.
And now there’s three taxis just sitting here. The drivers chat to each other. I’ve been sat here for 15 minutes. When does a fucking taxi go please? I think you have to have my brother’s energy to cope with Thailand. I don’t and I can’t right now. I would really like to get in one of these now please.
Oh wow the exhausted headachy sadness of it all. I look at the immaculate beautiful people in the airport, the shiny clean floors and walls and perfect flowers and I sip my perfectly frothy oat milk cappuccino. I missed this. There really is a limit to the amount of barefoot jungle life I can cope with. The sand everywhere, the insects as big as your thumb in the bathroom, that smell of something dead in the jungle foliage, or the waft of sewage in the street or the smell of dogshit as you pass certain buildings.
Perhaps I am too much of a snob to travel properly. There’s a charm and a simplicity and then yeah but why would you arrange for a river of waste water to run down the path to the hotel?
So I feel at once comforted and alienated at the airport. Refreshing and also intimidating to see beautiful wealthy white people again. I’m aware I look scruffy, I’m sitting on the floor, having changed into my comfy jeans and trainers with Starbucks crumbs around me and a mix of suncream, sweat and failed makeup on my face.
But something has changed in me. To feel so rejected by Thailand was really hard. It’s not that they were even rude, they just weren’t as in love with me as they are with my brother. Of course they’re not, I’m just another guest at the hotel. It’s just time to check out. Bye then. Such an irrational torrent of tears.
What is that about? About just being nothing. Meaning nothing. Being no-one. That’s what it is. No purpose, no projects, no significance. No love. And the stupid gardening project I did. They didn’t need that, I needed that. Of course they don’t care. No-one’s interested in my projects cos I’m just another white tourist on the island. Nothing special. No-one really. Which is fine, it’s exactly what I wanted, but wow it set off some unexpected surges of grief.
And such a strong sense of rejection just because they weren’t polite to me. Because they’re not Englishly overthetop with the smalltalk and polite gestures. Which I usually hate anyway.
Why does it matter so much?
Don’t know but it has knocked me sideways.
I will explore this further, need to check in now.
‘Do you have a visa for Australia?’
‘What? I’m going to New Zealand.’
‘You will stop in Sydney so you need a visa.’ She’s looking serious, in her check in desk and uniform.
‘But British citizen?’
‘You need a visa.’
I started googling it as she consulted with a colleague. I do indeed need a visa. She took my phone out of my hand and found the page for me. ‘You download and apply for visa now and come back.’
So I sat on the airport floor leaning against a self check in station, took another chill pill, and feeling sick with dread and shame, deleted all the videos of the fire show so I could download the Australian Embassy App and fill it in. I could just go home right now I thought. Just let me go home now. I want to go home. I could just fuck all this and buy a new flight and be in Heathrow in 12 hours.
Have I ever been involved in domestic violence? No, but good question Australia.
I paid my 20 dollars, clicked submit and stood up to queue before it had arrived. As I walked over to the desk I heard my phone buzz. There it was. I showed the lady. Great. Boarding pass issued. Done.
And tears tears tears. Got through security, found a bar and now have a large white wine to cry with.
Just so fucking lonely, that’s what this is. So alone in the complex journey. I usually love a journey on my own but I’m so fucking unhappy.
On the plane. Thank you for a window seat, God above I’m grateful. And no-one next to me thank you Jesus.
Thank you for the water refill station at gate D4 so I can counteract the alcohol I just downed in one.
I should be celebrating the awesome near miss just then of getting a visa in 20 minutes, but I have no-one to celebrate with, talk to about it. God I’m so lonely. Didn’t realise I could be so unhappy after just three days without a friend, partner or sibling. I was looking at all the white people at the airport with a ridiculous longing – will you be my friend?
No, just tears coursing down my face all over Sivaranupum airport.
Thank you white wine and pink pills. Feeling OK now. Looking forward to sleeping this whole way. Bangkok – Singapore – Sydney – Queenstown. The cheap traveller’s multistop hand-luggage-only budget adventure.
I actually clung on to my little travel sheep Jeff earlier, on the boat as we left Samet, like he was my friend. What the fuck is that about? And now on this flight I’m so bored of trying to document my travels, as if anyone cares, I have left Jeff up in the overhead lockers in my bag, and instead of the busy paraphernalia of all my tasks and toys for this flight, I just have water, my phone and my stupid fucking thoughts.
*Even if you’re just transiting in Sydney you need a visa, you unbelievably unorganised woman.
*Scoot airlines serves no food! Even on a 7 hour flight you need to order your sustenance from the 12-dollars-a-cake menu on board.
*They do a bag security check right before the boarding gate so they will empty your water bottle, but don’t worry there’s a refill tap in the corner once you’re through.
*When your sense of value and identity has been crafted artificially by the many projects and services you provide to a whole town full of people, it will be quite a jarring and unsettling experience to realise that without them, or any substitute, you will suddenly feel like you have no reason to exist. However, an experience of perceived ‘rejection’ is incredibly helpful as it can serve as a useful reminder that it is really time to cultivate that inner sense of self and strength that you asked for, and to stop needing other people to make you feel worthy of love.