Where shall I begin? Right here is probably best. And then I`ll backtrack a little and tell you about the trip over here.
It`s 7.30pm local time and I`m sat in an open air bar just around the corner from my hotel in Sio Rambuttri in the vibrant Koh San Road area of Bangkok. The area is famous as a centre for backpackers of all ages from every corner of the world, made famous in the movie 'The Beach'.
It`s very hot but there is a little breeze every now and again. A welcome respite. The bar is about half full. Mostly couples of all ages and as I`m writing I`m also people watching too. Hundreds of people filing past the bar on the narrow street outside stopping at the many, delicious food and other stalls along the busy narrow street.
Westen dance and RnB in playing but not too loud. A lovely Thai waitress has just brought over my large bottle of Chang, a local lager. I`ve no idea how much it`ll cost but it`ll be less than 100 Bht (that`s around £2). And this is a relatively expensive area of the city and of Thailand in general.
So, how did I end up here? In my little paradise!
I flew over with Emerit Airlines with a 15 hour overnight airport stopover whilst I waited for my connecting flight in Dubai . The crew were superb, very attentive and, of course, I couldn`t help but notice the girls were beautiful and the guys were handsome and immaculately dressed in their uniforms . Meals were better than the usual airline fodder and drinks were all completely free. Yes, even the alchoholic ones. And hereby hangs a little problem. No not with me. The lady who sat next to me with her young daughter.
Now here`s where I have to be careful. A little diplomatic. Which is not always my middle name. The problem is I gave her my card with the website address on it. So she may see what I`ve written here.
A few minutes before take off from Newcastle airport, when I had thought I `d be able to sprawl about on the only two seats on the full plain remaining empty at the side of me, a lady and her daughter appeared.
Maureen (not her real name) is from Darlington. Probably a little youger than me, late 40`s, early 50`s maybe. She and her 12 year old daughter were travelling to Dubai where her husband works. She was very open and talkative from the start and when she learned of my 15 hour stopover in Dubaia, she very kindly offered that I go and stay the night with her husband, daughter and her in their Dubai appartment.
I almost said yes. In fact I porbably did at first but managed to wangle out of it as the flight continued and we got nearer Dubai. Sometimes when extroverts have one too many drinks they become a little obnoxious. And at first I hadn`t realised that the ccrew were getting a little concerned as she mouthed off about this and about that. Had she ordered the salmon and not the chicken, I cannot remember. But she did go on about it. And on. And on. And...
Now I don`t wish to sound ungrateful. It was very gracious of her to offer me a place to stay for the night. But I`ve been here before. And I didn`t want my adventure to kick off with an awkward start. So, in the end I just got my head down and tried to sleep. Before getting off the flight she passed me her Dubai address and that was that.
I wonder what would be going round in her husbands head if I`d turned up with her on the doorstep? Perhaps he`s a good, understanding sort of guy. But I wasn`t going to take the risk. Particularly not after her personality seemed to change for the worse after having a few drinks.
So that was how the fisrt leg of my journey over here went. I slept on the floor for an hour or two in Dudai airport but I wasn`t the only one. Or the oldest. All quite exciting really. Welcome to my new world.
On the next leg of my three day journey to get here I met a lovely young lady from Amsterdam called Sanna. I don`t recall her having an alchoholic drink on the flight and she told me an interesting story about a boyfriend she once had in New York. I`ll tell you about it and about Sanna next time.
I`ll also tell you about my arrival at Bangkok airport, another sleep on an airport floor, well bench actually, and how I unsuccessfully attempted to navigate the Bangkok city streets to find my hotel.
Time now to maybe order another Chang. Or maybe I`ll take a little stroll and mingle with my fellow travellers. Must be up early in the morning tho. The train to Kuala Lumpur via Penang awaits.