It’s ten past ten where I am. Bangkok. I’m sat at my desk in a room painted beige with one window that faces a wall and another looking out to a corridor at the end of which is the bog. Bits and bobs are scattered everywhere. Dot’s naked, it’s all on the floor. Tents and tripods, maps from Timor and clothes I never wear. The fan is on, the curtains are blowing, the coffee’s being drunk. What a day.
It started at the British embassy. I went there first to collect a letter I’d had them draft at the request of the officials from Pakistan. They said it was the only way they were going to give me a tourist visa.
But of ourse it wasn’t good enough when I took it to them. Not the right words in the right order or with the right meaning. “It should say this’, or ‘it should say that’, the man behind the perspex glass told me. By now I’d made friends with a man from Afganistan who’d been badgering the same man two weeks to give him one. Stil the answer was no. I wasn’t optimistic. At the counter I argued that the British embassy have already said they won’t write that, commit to approving my trip. Just saying instead that they know I’m applying for a visa and that me and Dot are on our way..
The mustachioed man wasnt budging but he did have a fantastic suggestion. ‘Go home to England and apply for it there.’ Great. I’ll just do that. No sweat Charlie. I negotiated and nagged him some more until finally he said he’d speak to the consulate. By now my Afgan fried was raging, apocolypic, nuclear. They closed the shutter on him.
Two hours passed. It was pissing it down outside but air-con cold inside. I read a magazine about ports and docks and watched people come and go. Boring. Then my embassy friend backoned me over. Long story short he was all ready to say no, hit me with a big sombre no. But then he asked about my bike. Dot. I told him. 105cc. Small. Slow. He nearly choked. Asked why would anyone want to do something so stupid with their life. We were making progress. He mocked me. I didn’t care. He lifted his stamp. And bashed my paper. ‘Collect your visa in the morning.’ Simple as that.
Still in shock I then took my camera for repair at the mall. You might not know this but having miraculously revived it having hung it on the shower door, I then took it in to the sea thinking I was clever. I crouched down low, for an action shot. A bit of surf in the foreground. Edgy. Arty. That’s when te tsunami hit. Camera broken. Please Jim, fix it for me. After that I had some postcards printed of Dot and cruised back to the hostel for a instant coffee in my new kettle I bought from Tesco. Just like ours, but with no thai food section.
With visas and getting my bike to Nepal, there’s a lot to worry about. But there’s something much more important on my mind. Love. It’s disappeared, in the opposite direction. I’m going west, it’s just flown east. Fucking hell.