Misleading. What that should say is ‘a 24 hour odyssey from London to Bangkok involving a highly unnecessary stop-over in Mumbai on account of it being marginally cheaper than a direct flight when twenty-something traveller booked trip’. But WordPress subheads are limited.
When you book a 9.30am flight it seems completely reasonable. Only the day before you fly do you count back and realise this is going to involve a 5.00am alarm. Five am is very early. But with four months, nine countries, no work and the promise of seeing a proboscis monkey buoying me, I care not.
A ‘play me’ piano strategically positioned in Heathrow departures draws to it a seven year-old bushy-haired Etonite who begins straining ‘A Whole New World’, punctuated by patchy lyrics (being overexposed to Mickey and the gang as a child, I know for a fact that Aladdin does not want to take Jasmine on a ‘magic car boot ride’. That’s less a romantic journey, more kidnap. Little did I know how apt a rewrite this was considering the months of sketchy night journeys and border crossings ahead…) No matter, the caterwauling provides a suitably screechy serenade to shake me from my early morning stupor, and, not wanting an encore, I bound towards check in.
My phone starts shuddering – the Bangkok taxi transfer confirmation has finally come through: ‘Hello customer. I will stand by purple sign. You come to me. I am hairy with tattoos many. Taytay.’ I think of safe, comfy home. I think of my office strewn with events invites and chocolate samples. I think of months voyaging all alone… I picture a jungly Borneo playground, macaws squawking, orangutans careering through the mist. Off I skedaddle to board.