Donna blog

Donna Day One


It`s about 1.45 am and I’m sitting in Doha airport drinking iced tea. I’m on my way to Bangkok with my lost and found friend, Joanne. I thought I’d feel nervous and scared but I feel strangely calm. Jo’s having a shower (because we’ve booked into a posh lounge in Doha whilst we wait for our connection to Bangkok). I am surrounded by dozing, baggy-eyed people and bored-looking travellers. I’m not bored. For me, this is the most exciting this I’ve ever done in my life! A young pretty woman at Manchester Airport commented that she didn’t think I was very well-travelled because this was my first trip to Thailand. She and her husband were rhyming off the places they´d ‘done’ in the world to me and Joanne as we were waiting to board our flight in Manchester. I’ve encountered this kind of traveller before and find them quite irritating and boring but I don’t say this to the woman because I may not be well-travelled but I do have some manners. I looked at Joanne who, with a wicked gleam in her eye, told them that most new marriages end in divorce after the first year. She then said something wholly inappropriate about beavers which made me laugh so much it took away the sting of the woman`s words a little. (For context, the young pretty woman had just told us that she met her new husband at Beavers before they both became Scouts.)

Much later in our journey, I would stage a similar intervention with Joanne who, plastered in sweat and fury in a queue at Bangkok airport that we’d been in for three hours, tried incite a riot over the general chaos and disorganisation of the queueing system. I think I calmed her down (well, there was no riot and she stopped cursing) because that´s what friends do – you look out for one another. That said, a little later on in the proceedings, Joanne said if I pushed in front of her, she’d punch me in the face, which made us both laugh our heads off. And then we weren’t stressed anymore. Just like that. Two very tired, middle aged ladies, sweating and laughing in an unbearably hot airport, realising that nothing is ever that bad if you can laugh about it. It´s like magic, it really is.


I open the taxi door and step out into heat so visceral it slaps the fringe right off my forehead. We`re at the top of Khao San Road in Bangkok (finally). The music and noise from the street is making the road vibrate and there is the smell of infamiliar meats cooking. There are people everywhere. Joanne says, “Don’t worry, we don’t need to go down there, our hotel’s over here.” She must have mistaken the look on my face for fear. It´s not fear. It´s excitement. My heart is racing – I love everything about this madness – the ferocious heat, the noisy crowds, the unnameable smells.

“No, Joanne, I definitely want to go there!”

So we drop off our bags at Villa de Khaosan (very comfortable and clean for travellers who want to be near to but not in the action) and walk down Khao San Road and it´s …

  • Smiling men offering fried scorpions on sticks
  • Crowds of beautiful girls sucking on laughing gas
  • Music so loud it hurts your ears
  • Alligator carcass skewered on a large fork
  • Rainbow lights everywhere, bobbing about in the night air, reflected in the puddles as you walk
  • People laughing, dancing, smiling

…it’s wonderful and  I love it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *