My neck was killing me. The coach wasn’t comfortable and I drifted in and out of poor sleep. At about 4am the voice of God boomed from the speakers again – we’s reached Bangkok and drove through to the North Terminal, arriving at 5am. I spoke to the western girls who’d been on board and they turned out to be fellow Brits. They didn’t have a clue where to go so I shared a taxi with them to Khao San road where they could get a place to stay.
At Khao San we got them a guest house. I found out one of the girls, Ruth, had worked in Meribel, (French ski resort) a few seasons before I did, and knew some of the people I’d worked with! As she says, Meribel people always find each other! The girls went off to bed and I found another place nearby where it was quieter and hit the sack for a few hours.
When I woke up I got organized, sorting the stinky jungle laundry and walked around for ages trying to find somewhere that could wash and dry my only pair of shoes in a day and eventually got lucky. Only 2 quid too! Then I went to Siranees (Mark’s friend) travel agency to arrange a mini bus to the airport. 5 am pickup, that’s going to hurt! I made some more Nepal arrangements. I was in touch with a guy called Bikrant, from a company called Fantastic Nepal who Siranee put me in touch with. He’d sort my accommodation for the first night, then I’d chat with his company about potential activities once I arrived.
I went to meet Mark for lunch and we caught up. He was eager to hear about Khao Sok and my bag exploits. I needed to get my dead laptop looked at and he suggested a department store I’d visited with him before. I caught a local bus there and went up to the top floor which is all computer shops. The first place I went to the guy spoke good English, that’s a stroke of luck. He took a look at the laptop and ran some tests. My worst fears were confirmed, the hard drive was irrepairably fecked. All the data was unrecoverable. Damn it! Fortunately I had the photos backed up on an external hard drive. The guy said I could buy a new hard drive here, and for only £50 I thought it was a good deal. He installed it for me with a load of dodgy software to replace what I’d lost (good luck finding legit versions in Thailand!). It only took a few hours – I was back in business!
I got a bus back to Khao San, collected all my laundry – the shoes looked brand new! – and began setting up the laptop again. I was at the hotel restaurant and got chatting to a young Dutch guy who was alone and on the first days of his travels. I gave him some advice on the highlights of Thailand, then went to phone my family on Skype. The connection was ropey and the voices were breaking up but we managed to have a conversation, which was nice, I hadn’t spoken to them for a month.