It’s a Small World, After All

So here I am, back in Bangkok. Apologies for the long lapse in posts – when I’m having fun, I have a hard time sitting in Internet cafes for an extended period of time, and when I’m not having fun (i.e. bored), there’s nothing much to say. You understand.

Vientiane was so lame that I really wished I’d stayed in Vang Vieng for another day or even two. It was expensive, there wasn’t much of anything to see, and it was kind of dingy and depressing. I splurged on a posh room and spent two and a half days catching up with world events courtesy of BBC World News. Then I came back to Bangkok a day early, to scare the crap out of Stephen by knocking on the door to his room at 5 in the morning when he’d just arrived 3 hours before. He says he thought it was the police. I wonder if there’s something I should know about.

But Stephen has indeed arrived safely in Bangkok, and he and I are having a ball. He is, naturally, still exhausted from the flight, but being a trooper and keeping up with me and my 50 Baht cocktail sprees. We’re trying to figure out where to go next, and whether to leave the country. We’ve heard really good things from fellow travellers about Cambodia, so Ankgor and Siem Riep are sounding like possibilities, and of course I would have no trouble at all going back to Vang Vieng for, say, New Year’s Eve or something. I’ll keep you all posted, of course.

But before I go to the National Museum, I’ve got to mention a few unrelated events, to add to the ever-growing body of evidence that the world is not as big as it looks.

Yesterday morning, we were walking over to Boots to pick up a few things when I caught the eye of a young Thai woman. She looked familiar. At first, I thought she might just be someone I’ve seen around locally (in Bangkok), but then something in the back of my head clicked. I turned around as she passed me and we pointed at each other. I had met her at a bar in Chang Mai, where she was drinking with a friend of a friend of a friend (American, as it happens). Now she’s in Bangkok.

Later on, in the afternoon, walking back from Wat Pho, I spotted a couple of guys talking to a streetside vendor. I thought, “No, it can’t be…” but it was. Christof and Axel, from the slow boat in Lao. I hadn’t even realized they were coming back to Bangkok, but they go back to Germany from here on Sunday. Hopefully – they called the airline yesterday, and were told they’re not on the passenger list…

Around 11:30 last night, after chatting with an Aussie/Brit couple for an hour or two over way too many cocktails, we were meandering down Soi Rambuttri when someone called my name. It was Martiyn Blom, another slow boat acquaintance. I last saw him in Vang Vieng, and likewise hadn’t known he was going to be back in Bangkok. He was sitting with Christof and Axel, whom he’d just run into himself, drinking Vodka/Red Bulls at a bar van run by three gorgeous ladyboys. We had a few toasts to see him off – he goes back to Holland this evening.

It is a small world, indeed. Maybe it’s not as odd as I think, maybe it’s that I’ve been following, for the past week or two, the easiest and therefore most travelled routes, but either way it’s both heartening and a little odd to think that one can walk down the street in the biggest city in Southeast Asia and run into people one knows. Kind of like home, except I still only know one bartender. Sigh…