The Final Chapter
I woke up on the sleeper train and bought coffee from one of the sellers that walk up and down the carriage. I had some sweet red bean buns for breakfast and enjoyed the views from the train on my way into Bangkok for the last time.
It occurred to me that back in May when I passed the same shacks at the side of the train tracks, I felt sorry for the people that lived in such terrible conditions. This time around I just saw normal homes and people who were just going about their daily lives.
I got into Bangkok Hualamphong at 9am and got a taxi to my hostel. I’ve stayed in great hostels in Bangkok before but still like to try a new one so I got my taxi to KhaoSan Immjai. I couldn’t check in until 2pm so I left my bags and went for a walk to get a second breakfast and do some shopping.
I had been telling all my friends that I was flying home on the 20th December as I wanted to surprise them so I was keeping schtum about the fact that I was in Bangkok. I walked about doing some last minute present buying then checked in at my hostel. It was yet another great hostel and my dorm was lovely. I immediately got chatting to a girl called Sharon who had been teaching in rural Cambodia for four months and was off home to Holland the next day. I spent the afternoon in the dorm watching the final four episodes of Breaking Bad (probably the best TV series I’ve ever watched!!) then Sharon and I went to do some more shopping and she knew a great Israeli café so as we were both quite sick of Asian food we had a great dinner of falafels, pittas, babaganoush and hummus.
Sharon left really early that morning so I had said goodbye the night before. I decided to visit the weekend market. Every time I’d been to Bangkok it had been on a weekday so I’d never had the chance to see the big weekend market before. I got the local bus there which was fairly easy to figure out and I got there quite early and had a coffee as the stalls were opening. It was a good place for me to get some more presents as a lot of the goods were the same as I had seen all over Thailand but at a cheaper price. I managed to explore the maze of stalls, buy some presents, gawp at the puppies and bunnies for sale and meet the fluffiest dog ever!
As the market was getting ridiculously busy at about lunchtime I was ready to leave so after a banana roti I got a taxi back to my hostel.
I spent the rest of the afternoon doing the last of my shopping and treating myself to a mani/pedi whilst I could still afford it!
I decided to return to the Israeli café for my last meal as it was so good then I tried to get a good night’s sleep! It would be my last night in a dorm for a while!
My shuttle bus to the airport was leaving at 6am so I was up at 5am to get ready. I sat downstairs by the open entrance to the hostel and watched monks returning from collecting alms. I was soon on my way to the airport and watching the sun was rising over Bangkok. I checked in straight away, found a coffee shop for some breakfast and got talking to a guy from New York about travelling. Before I knew it, it was time to board the plane. My uncle flies for British Airways and had tried to get me upgraded but my plane was completely full – everyone going home for Christmas I think! The staff were lovely to me though and it wasn’t too painful for a 13 hour flight! Of course I watched a good selection of movies – We’re the Millers, Monsters University, Despicable Me 2, The Internship, Kick Ass 2 and The Hangover 3. We flew over some amazing places and seeing the Himalayas was fantastic.
I landed at about 5.30pm London time. It felt so surreal to be back on British soil. The air smelt different, people sounded strange and everything seemed so dark.
Seven months have flown by and yet landing in Bangkok on the 21st of May seems like a lifetime ago. I can’t even begin to explain how many incredible places I’ve seen, how many interesting, generous people I’ve met and how much I’ve learnt about life.
Generally, people are kind, the world is small, family, friends and health are universally treasured and education is more valuable than money. Travel isn’t easy but it’s worth every penny spent and every tear shed.
And after every amazing thing I’ve done this year, absolutely nothing beats the feeling of walking through Heathrow, emotionally and physically drained, dragging a dirty tattered rucksack, knowing that I was about to be reunited with such incredible friends and family.
I was home.
And so this is the final chapter of this blog. I never expected anyone other than my dad to look at it and I really didn’t think that I’d actually manage to keep it up and enjoy it! I have over 3000 views and over 100 followers on tumblr so I guess it’s been useful for some people.
This may be the final chapter of this adventure but it’s certainly not the end. There’s a beautiful world out there just waiting to be explored. So for now let’s just say…
To be continued…..