A guy in a pale lemon polo shirt escorted me and all of my luggage down a puddle-filled alleyway away from Khaosan Road and towards another main road where I boarded the coach.
It was nothing like the overnight bus I’d taken from Yangon to Bagan a few weeks earlier. There was no mini television to watch Slumdog Millionaire, no fluffy cushion, no cosy blanket, no padded arm rest, no complimentary water or cinnamon-sprinkled box of Christmas biscuits.
The air-con was on full blast and having decided a rose gold velvet and lace crop top with a sheer cardigan was the perfect travel outfit, I felt like I was being cryogenically frozen for the entire first leg of my twenty-four hour long journey.
I was sat next to a guy in his late twenties with a wild nest of light brown curls and a distinct aversion to wearing anti-antiperspirant. He kept staring at my computer screen to digitally eavesdrop on whatever conversation I was typing out to myself.
As we left Bangkok, the sun went down and the city’s streetlamps came on.
Blurry blasts of bright light blinded us as we hurtled down the empty highway at speed, passing hundreds of shacks, canteens, petrol stations and malls.
I entertained myself with writing while the slightly younger travellers flirted in a interesting blend of French, English and Spanish. I began smiling at how old I felt, at how nostalgic it sounded and how adorably obvious it all was.
There’s always the really friendly girl who just loves to talk. She’s full of energy and her face is full of real smiles, she has stories to tell and will speak them out loud even if nobody is really listening. She has her eye on one of the boys.
For some reason, her travel companion is quiet and moody. Maybe she’s just sick of the stories, maybe she needs a Time Out or maybe she just really is quiet and moody. Whatever it is, it seems to make her alluring and the boy, the one the bubbly girl has her eye on, has his eye on her.
A love triangle is forming and nobody seems to notice.
The chatterbox is on her fifteenth story, or maybe seventeenth, we’ve all lost count. Meanwhile, the boy has shifted his entire body to face her moody friend and is desperately trying to get her attention by asking questions, which of course she puts minimal effort into replying to.
While they’re all busy fighting for each other’s attention, there’s a shy guy in the corner that they haven’t even seen. He’s sat there silently wide-eyed in amazement at the bubbly girl’s stories and wishing he had the balls to chat her up.
Within a couple of hours, the chatterbox had run out of steam, her friend had fallen asleep and the boy had given up. Everybody else was managing to get some shuteye but for whatever reason I couldn’t.
I must have got no more than sixty minutes of incessantly interrupted snores in before the sun started to rise outside my window. My neck was stiff, my eyes sockets were sore and I was half gagging for a coffee, half wanting to wail like a sleep deprived baby.
But then we pulled up at the port.
BOATS & HOES
I guess having gone from an intense Vipassana course in Mandalay, straight to an action packed tour of Bangkok, I’d left myself with very little thinking time, but when we pulled up to the small ferry port in Surat Thani, it hit me…
I was on my way to Paradise.
I had a very dodgy coffee in one of those paper cups with makeshift paper handles – a red level health and safety hazard for anybody as calamitous as me, while a large sandy-coloured stray dog lay beside me enjoying my telepathic dog whispering.
My eyes were being delighted with views of lush green islands that you could just about make out amidst the morning haze, my face was being tickled by the splashes of turquoise waters and my hair was flowing in a salty sea breeze.
After a perfectly enjoyable wake up call, minus the dodgy coffee, we boarded the ferry to Koh Samui.
I threw my backpack, my rucksack and my not-so-miniature suitcase onto the pile of luggage and scurried up the steps to the deck.
The boat was busy and it was an eclectic mix of passengers.
There were poser couples in oversized Gucci sunglasses with bags to match, yoga lovers with slinky sun-kissed bodies, young families, old groups of friends and solo travellers with top knots and tattoos.
Then there was me – dishevelled from an overnight bus journey and thawing out nicely with my usual deranged Cheshire Cat grin strewn across my face.
I swivelled myself sideways and dangled my arms over the port side of the boat, enjoying the spray from the crashing waves below and wishing I could dive in as we sped across the Thai Gulf towards Content Castle, singing my own rendition of Boats ‘n’ Hoes.