My definitive travel tip no.3 – if travelling solo, ensure you have a personal stereo stocked up with several thousand songs, and a good book, at all times.
I was about to spend my second night in the hostel on my own, and wasn’t happy about this, but created the situation for myself in the first place by deciding I didn’t like Bangkok and hiding in my room. The choice was made easier by powerful air conditioning that made the room the most comfortable place to be in the heat.
Anyway, just when I’m about to settle in for a night of feeling sorry for myself, and a bit homesick, I’m reading The Road to McCarthy, where Pete McCarthy is describing a trip to New York for a recital of his writing in front of a bar full of paralytic Glasgow Celtic supporters. I realised that all of Pete’s excellent stories so far had been based on encounters he’d had on his own, meeting people along the way. At this point I decided to stop being such a berk and go out for something to eat (I was going to make instant noodles I got from the Seven-Eleven).
After strolling up Salom Road for a while looking for an Indian place, missing Aloo Gobi and chapatis, I settled upon a nice-looking restaurant with an outdoor bit and a mixed menu of Thai and western dishes, so I could decide on impulse whether to eat local or comfort food. The food turned out to be great, a grilled salmon Caesar salad and stir-fried chicken with cashew nuts. Pete kept me entertained with an increasingly amusing account of his time in New York, and the restaurant kept me entertained by playing the Scorpions’ greatest hits – I wasn’t sure of the band until ‘Wind of Change’ came on, and then I knew. At one point a family came in, Westerners, where both the teenage daughters had unfortunately inherited their father’s bushy eyebrows, one of whom having decided to disguise this by a combination of plucking and heavy eye make-up that ended up making her look like a Maori about to perform the Hakka. She was very pretty and it wasn’t as bad as it sounds, but I liked the Maori comparison.
So I came back to the hostel just now to write this much happier than when I left, to find the staff all laughing their asses off as they’ve been on the Bacardi Breezers. Also, a funny thing happened – a photo I took of Hong Kong on Flickr has been commented on by the chap who played Gary Coleman’s best friend Dudley on Diff’rent Strokes. You couldn’t make it up.