I was awoken rather abruptly by powerful rumbles of thunder at around 5:30am this morning, and I have never been so scared by a thunderstorm in my entire life. There was a flash, which lit up the inside of my bungalow like a powerful neon light, and the loudest crash of thunder that I have ever heard. I cannot even begin to describe what it sounded like but it scared the s**t out of me! In fact, envisage the worst earthquake you could ever imagine – the ground was breaking in two and buildings were collapsing – and you’re getting somewhere close.
Fortunately the worst of the storm was over by the time I had to leave to catch the ferry back to Ban Phe. In fact, by the time I was on the ferry you wouldn’t have known there’d just been a terrible storm, the sun was shining so brightly that I was in danger of getting a bad case of sunburn on my arms as I hung over the side of the boat breathing in the sea air. At Ban Phe 10 of us squeezed into a mini bus, our bags at our feet and our knees subsequently level with our elbows. The journey took approximately 4 hours, and the moment we pulled into Khao San Road, the skies opened again. Even making the 5 minute walk back to the Wild Orchid Guesthouse would have involved me getting so wet I may as well have gone for a swim in the river, so instead I ran to the nearest internet cafe, updated my blog and emailed Todd (he’s apparently back in Bangkok applying for various chef positions at some of the city’s top hotels).
By around 8pm this evening I still hadn’t heard back from Todd, so I headed out for some food and one of my favourite mango and passion fruit shakes from the vendor just in front of the 7-11 on Soi Rambuttri. I subsequently sat down at one of Khao San Road’s many cafes and ordered a beer Chang, and it really started to dawn on me that I am actually going home tomorrow. It’s a concept that’s always seemed far too distant for me to dwell upon that seriously, and it’s not one that I’m looking forward to. I have a feeling that it will take me longer to adjust to being at home than it did for me to adjust to being out here nearly 6 months ago. Of course I’m looking forward to seeing my friends and family but I’d sooner them being flying out here to visit me. I love Asia : aside from having to barter the price of the majority of your purchases (right down to a bottle of water in Vietnam) and having to deal with people (not everyone by any means, and it’s only a serious issue in Vietnam) trying to rip you off or constantly trying to sell you their wares, I love the culture, the people and the pace of life over here. I love the food, I love the climate (although not the fact that you’re sweating most of the time as a result!) and I love the sights and the sounds and the smells that constantly surround you.
I can honestly say that I haven’t missed any of my ‘creature comforts’ as it were from back home, but one aspect of home that I have been craving is being able to go to the gym. I know it sounds crazy but a trek every now and then does not keep you fit (which I’ve realised having puffed and panted my way through several of them!) and I’ve lost all my muscle tone. So, one of the first activities I shall be persuing as soon as I get back to Shrewsbury is a dam good run (if I can manage it!) and some work on my muscles (namely my triceps, biceps and my abs). Tony, I may have to enlist your help as my personal trainer to get me back into it all! Aside from that, occasional longings for marmite and cheese have entered my head, and I shall certainly look forward to not having to sleep under a mosquito net every night and not being covered in bites all the time.
This is probably the last time I shall visit an internet cafe over here (aside from checking my mail around lunchtime to check whether Todd has got back to me and wants to meet for lunch) so I shall update the rest of todays journal when I return home on monday. Looking forward to seeing you all and boring you with endless tales of my Asian adventures . . .