Bristol to Heathrow
My ex-wife, Helen, had persuaded me to pack a jumper. I had tried so hard to remove all luxuries, attempting to pack light. Despite this, helped by the English winter, I agreed.
1 hour into the bus journey, a French lady pointed out that she was getting a heat stroke at the behest of a faulty heating system. Despite the cold outside, onboard we had a taste of Burmese sunshine. A balmy 28degrees. Maybe that jumper was a bad idea after all.
Arriving at Heathrow with a large box
Stopped by a man of African descent. “How is it that you are allowed to carried a TV on the plane”.
Heathrow thankfully empty. The bike box so wide, it should require license to maneouvre. I do so, into signs, sidings and the odd child for good measure.
Finally in departures. Hours to spare. A first.
Tired. Really tired. I discover a pocket full of loose change. Realising I had to spend said change or receive its brick-weighted burden, I set upon finding dinner and snacks. I paid with card.
Realising shortly after what a total idiot I’d been, I decided to ignore all sensible means of disposing said coins (e.g. more sun screen) and instead opted to purchase my bodyweight in chocolate.
A Chinese girl attempted to use a vending machine as we waited to board. 40p short, I quickly popped over, inserted the money and issued an accompanying smile. 5 minutes later, the same girl returned with a box of chocolates to say thank you. So incredibly sweet. Both the gesture and the volume of sugar now in my possession.
Now aboard Beijing-bound, I sipped beer, swallowed sleeping pills and drifted into a haze of happiness and exhaustion.
Beijing – greeted by the most vigilant airport security I’ve experienced so far. Met and adopted a first-time traveller bewildered by the maze of checks and double checks, lack of obvious signage and $10 coffee.
Bangkok – bike retrieved – seemingly in 1 piece, albeit box punctured. Confused taxi folk ponder how to transport bike and don’t recognise destination, a 10 min drive away. Driver attempts to levy additional charge. I check with the hostel. Driver departs. That night, I walk down the busy strip to a bustling restraurant, for some fantastic Thai food. No English, spoken or written, but the food and service could not have been better.
The adventure had finally begun.