Inspired by the book I’m reading (Antonia Fraser’s excellent ‘Must you go?’, an account of her life with Harold Pinter told through her diary), I thought I’d try out a diary style.
I had a crazy week last week, where the very different aspects of the life I’m leading jarred against each other. I visited Singapore for work, and started back at yoga on the island of Koh Phangan.
I’m thus posting three days this week, one day’s diary entry per post, and each post (a little) shorter than usual!
Tuesday May 21st 2013
0617 – Alarm goes off. Feels early. My first night in my new bungalow. Room is hot as I’ve turned off the AC in the night. I turn it on again by feel, in the dark – my bed is so huge I use it as a bedside table as well as to sleep. I snooze my alarm.
0631 – After two snoozes I had better get up. After morning ablutions I go to the kitchen to make breakfast. You go outside onto the balcony and use the key to get into the kitchen, which feels strange in my nightie. I make banana, museli and yoghurt.
0653 – Breakfast on the balcony, whilst writing morning pages. 1000 words, every morning, without fail. It’s already really warm outside – probably late 20s – even in my nightie. But then I go back inside the bedroom when I’m done, and it’s freezing. I hastily turn off the AC again.
0718 – Shower, pills, dress. I’m off to yoga, so I’m wearing black cropped stretchy yoga pants, a long purple t-shirt, flip flops and my new blue and cream dotty headscarf to keep my hair out of my eyes. And a lot of mosquito repellent and bite cream, as after only a few days back in Thailand, I have at least 30 bites. <sigh>
0745 – Walk to yoga. Register for Level 2, and say hi to the girl on the desk, who remembers me (by name!) from Level 1 back in March. I am disproportionately pleased.
0830 – I’ve already done this class when I did Level 1, but once you have completed a level, you can drop in on the classes for free, so I’m getting back in the swing of things before I start Level 2 next week. They’re learning headstand today. I find I am comfortable with all the positions, except, ironically, headstand, where I just can’t flip my legs up to the wall, and I get frustrated. And the teacher brings everyone down before I manage it. Harrumph.
1030 – End of class. I head out quickly, as I have all my things with me ready for Singapore. I walk in the direction of the ferry, grabbing a coconut shake on my way, until a song-thaew passes, and I’m on my way. It’s really hot now, low 30s and no cloud cover.
1100 – I buy a ticket for the boat from a friendly Thai woman. I walk down the pier to wait with the others in the sun. The boat should arrive about 1115, but doesn’t come until nearly 12 – and it should depart at 12. They are remarkably efficient with the unloading and loading, and we’re away only shortly after 12. I’m impressed. But the boat is pretty dirty with lots of litter. And I’ve started to catch the sun.
1244 – We reach Samui, and I step off into a pre-booked minibus, feeling smug. However, I didn’t realize I was coming into the port the other side of the island from the airport, so it is a very bumpy ride for nearly an hour. By the end I have a headache and my shoulder and neck are aching. More pills, less smug.
1330 – Check in. Then realize I have a long time to wait until my flight at 1635 in this small (though pretty) airport. I decide to head to a coffee shop, where I am rewarded with some of the most lacklustre customer service I have seen for sometime. One of the customer assistants is eating as I come up to the till and doesn’t stop, just waits for one of the other, further away, assistants. The new one doesn’t say anything, just looks at me. I ask if they have any vegetarian sandwiches. She says no and almost-but-not-quite laughs. I suggest, tentatively, ‘mocha frosty’? She rings it up on the till. No further words are exchanged apart from a forlorn kob kun kaa (thank you) from me.
1400 – I stay in the coffee shop despite a lack of food/pleasantries, using their wifi. I spend time preparing for the next day’s work, checking my wordpress stats, looking at emails and facebook, and then I’m inspired and write a draft of a post.
1545 – I realize I have to board in 10 minutes, and that I haven’t actually cleared security yet. I walk along the pathway to the gates – it’s all outside, and it is very cute and pretty. Samui airport wins awards for this. An English couple in front of me is taking photos and exclaiming. I guess when you compare it to Luton, it’s pretty amazing. Mostly I am hot though. I only have a rucksack with me, but it is surprisingly heavy, and the heat and the weight of it are not helping my aches and pains.
1600 – I should be boarding, but I am in a queue for the one x-ray machine. Despite 9 staff members, it’s stuck. No feedback is given to the increasingly large queue, which luckily I am only 3rd in. I was fourth, but they Australian guy in front of me, after a few minutes waiting turned and said to me “is this the way out?” and when I said it was, in fact, the way in, he looked a bit sheepish and slunk off. Excellent.
1606 – I make it through the x-ray with no problems, and walk the 10 metres to the gate. There is no sign of any boarding activity, but there are free drinks and snacks, so I have a couple of mini coconut danishes to keep me going.
1614 – We board, and I have a row of seats to myself. We leave on time, and I watch (for the 10th or so time – not my first Bangkok Air flight) the amusing K-pop safety intro. It reminds me of The High Life, an ill-fated, but (I thought) hilarious Scottish sitcom about camp airplane staff in the late 90s.
Bangkok Airways Safety Demo/Dance – you only have to watch the first 45 seconds or so to get the idea!
1657 – I get a version of the vegetarian meal which includes veggie instant noodles. I feel like I’m back at uni. It’s all quite nice though (real cutlery!), and keeps me going. I read my book, and make more notes for my work tomorrow on the flight. And then I fall asleep.
1935 – I’ve lost an hour – how careless. In fact, it’s an hour ahead in Singapore. The airport feels a bit 70s in terms of the colour schemes – lots of browns and oranges. I see at least 3 Starbucks before I manage to leave.
1946 – The sweet man on hotel pick-ups tells me the bus won’t be back for a while and suggests I take the train, which is only $2SD, and will get me to practically outside my hotel within 45 minutes. I take a map.
1957 – After some faffing about, I find the train, and have a straightforward journey. There’s a bit of frustration when the ticket machine won’t take the $50SD note I have, and I have to find change, but it’s done quickly enough.
2035 – I get to my hotel, check in and throw my bag on the bed and go out again quickly, wanting to find a snack before I go to bed. Food has been a bit random today. I have a look at a few local places, but there is a lot of meat and fish. I disappoint myself by going to Wendy’s and having what I thought was a healthy option, broccoli and cheese baked potato, but the cheese is a glowing orange colour that reminds me of nuclear reactors. It tastes…ok. I have a salad sans-dressing with it to try and increase my vegetable content.
2108 – I get home and into bed. My room is nice looking but smells a bit musty. I fiddle to try and get the AC right, but instead I just get cold. I do more reviewing of the materials for the next day, and lose an hour on the internet.
2215 – Suddenly it’s late, and time for bed. I do my various nightly rituals, and go to sleep….
0124 …except I don’t because between the merrymaking of the people in adjacent rooms and the corridor, my mosquito bites and the pain in my neck and shoulder I’m not feeling too great. I get up and self-medicate in various ways, and finally sleep.