I was worried.
This is me and my friend Sonia in a picture taken two days ago in London.
As you can see, it’s been snowing. So much so, in fact, that all the news media could talk about was “travel chaos” in “frozen Britain”. But yesterday morning my flight got away from Heathrow just fine, and now I’m in a country where I’m sweating so much it’s disgusting.
First came the eight-hour flight to Mumbai with Jet Airways, an Indian airline I’d never heard of until recently, but which turned out to be one of the best value carriers I’ve ever used. What was striking too was how beautiful the crew was, male and female, as if this particular aircraft was staffed exclusively by the cousins of Aishwarya Rai and Freida Pinto. This isn't something I’d usually pick up on, but in this instance it was like they’d stepped out of the pages of an Indian fashion magazine (except for the token middle-aged large lady, who had a lovely personality, it must be said).
The plane was a little late into Mumbai, which meant I had to dash across the airport to catch my connecting flight to Bangkok - although, bearing in mind that about a fifth of my fellow passengers were doing the same, I’m assuming that Jet would have held the flight for us whatever happened. Four hours later we’d arrived and soon I was on the express bus to the Banglamphu backpacker district.
I’m in southeast Asia partly to travel but mainly to check out what it’s like to teach English in this part of the world, but within minutes of walking around outside, all I could think was: “Christ, I’m sweaty. And that's during an overcast morning in the cool season. Maybe I should give up any thoughts of settling out here. Or alternatively, buy a truckload of talc.”
To my surprise, most of the guest houses I approached had no rooms available, but after a bit of searching I found one for £3 a night that’s pretty much a cell with a fan. Still, I was grateful for the opportunity to flake out all afternoon.
By dusk I’d surfaced to look for food, ending up at the Take a Sit restaurant - some kind of postmodern pun, no doubt - where I had the steamed omelette with minced pork (served in a bowl of hot water) as frankly I drew the line at ‘fried morning glory with crispy pork’. I know Bangkok has a reputation, but that’s just crazy...