Cambodia – day 00

I got up at 4am with surprising ease. It’s really easy to get out of bed to go on holiday. On a work day I’ll be damned if I wake up before 8am. Anyway. Taxi, flight from Brussels to London, the memories are blurry, it feels like another life already. British Airways, the flight attendants kept calling me “my love”, I’ve never felt so validated and cared for in my entire life.

Heathrow. So British. Polite, posh, busy. Impractical and cold. Santa Claus is strolling through Chanel and Dior, the queue at Starbucks is… well, like any queue at any Starbucks anywhere in the world, really. I read a book on my tablet but I have trouble keeping my eyes open.

It’s Christmas: I watch Frozen. I mouth along with the songs and giggle at Olaf. Dudes who did the concept art on that guy were clearly high.

Finally, it’s time. The flight is… okay, since we didn’t crash. I still hate it, hate flying. My right knee hurts. I try and try and try and try to fall asleep. I watch a horrid HORRID movie: Me before you. You can tell the actors are trying, but the book it is based on really fucking sucks. Anyway. Still 8 hours to go. An hour later, still 7 hours and 59 minutes to go. Time is frozen still and I might explode.

We’re here. Bangkok. I like Suvarnabhumi, I know it well, better than any other airport. I had some memorable times at this airport. They were mostly spent between the library and the Burger King counter. As soon as we get off the plane… it’s a whole, really, an atmosphere. The heat, the humidity, like the air is this liquid thing you have to wade through. It smells like dust and stale aircon and cooked sticky rice. It feels like home.

Usually I stop and change here, get my bearings back, but this time I race to catch the free shuttle to the other airport, Don Mueng. My flight is at 2pm, I have time, theoretically, but. I mean, this is Thailand. Better safe than sorry. The shuttle is this old bus full of tourists where the aircon works only when the bus is still. We race along the freeway. Bangkok is right there, skyscrapers of all shapes, giant pictures of the dead king blown up on buildings, the river full and bustling. Small houses left to roast under the sun. This city is a civil engineer’s nightmare.

Halfway in, the shuttle stops at a paystop. Never starts again. The smiling, nervous driver keeps trying the ignition, says “ten minit ten minit!” to anyone who asks. The employees of the freeway take it in stride, they must be used to this kind of thing. Taxis pass us by, mocking us. “Twenty kilometar to airpor’!” Ah ah yeah, fuck you dude. I hang around the side door, enjoying the slight breeze and the smell of exhaust gas. It’s so hot. I can’t help my smile. I am home.

After about 30 minutes, another bus rescues us. Half the tourists left and took taxis already. Quitters. We get there on time, and I didn’t even have to murder anybody. Don Mueng airport is a nightmare of endless queues. At the end of it, I spot a Starbucks. Time to enjoy the typical Thai meal of a spinach danish and a tall latte.

Who cares? It’s Christmas. Derek Hale’s birthday. I made it to the airport, in a few hours I’ll be where I was always meant to be. Hot and sweaty and tired and frustrated and scared and emotional. Home.