My six-week voyage across Southeast Asia came to an end in Bangkok, Thailand. I spent the day, like I typically did, roaming the city. There was one task I needed to get out of the way. The day before I had walked around and found an alleyway that was also a shopping district in Chinatown. The path was perhaps four feet wide, but as was common with shops there, all the stores had piles of their merchandise overflowing onto the street. The area was odd because you would squeeze your way through this path along side passing street vendor carts and motorcycles, how those fit in the alley was astonishing.
I did, in fact, have an objective on this day. During my excursions I had come across three general types of hammock. The first was a woven one that I would imagine is what most Americans picture. The second was made of cloth which I found squeezed me quite nicely. The third was made of bamboo and are hard, sort of like relaxing in a rounded swinging platform. My brother’s birthday was not so far off, and I had decided I wanted to bring him back one of the cloth hammocks. Generally I had been keeping my eye out for someone selling them, but they only sold the woven type. So this day in the alley I stopped at a mercer to buy some fabric to make the hammock. In fact, I stopped at three or four to find one who had the specific fabric I was looking for. Eventually I did, and spent the next twenty minutes deciding on length and haggling over price.
Back to my last day. I had to go find a seamstress who could sow together the ends of the hammock for me to pass rope through. There was one I had seen who worked from a street corner. Luckily she was there. We spend a couple minutes trying to understand each other, what I wanted, and what I needed. Agreeing on a price, she told me to come back in a couple hours.
After the ordeals of the day I decided to head to a touristy area for the night. I enjoy watching tourists hurry around. I found a hookah bar. Though hookah is a hobby of mine, I generally do not like to go to hookah bars. It isn’t that I don’t like them, but first off the hookah I own is better then the ones I usually get at a hookah bar, and also they charge you $20+ to smoke when the tobacco and coals for my bowl costs around $0.75, so I feel like I’m getting ripped off. On this night I decided why not splurge. It was Southeast Asia anyways so it only cost $5 (probably would be less if I weren’t in a touristy area). I sat there watching people go by.
Randomly as I was smoking an English guy came up to me and asked if I had a lighter. I did, in fact I like carrying around a lighter because you often meet interesting people who need one. He sat asked me about the hookah and sat down with me. We ended up chatting for a while and getting along well. After the hookah finished, we decided to go grab a couple beers.
This meeting seemed to be a fitting end; it was both the last night of my adventure and the first night of his. In fact, he was doing a similar type experience, solo backpacking across some of the countries I had. We hit it off really well. We grabbed a beer tower together and ate scorpions. If you’re curious, scorpions taste like cheese in the middle with a tough outer layer. Chris and I spent the rest of the night out with each other and met many other travelers as well. The worst part is that Chris gave me a piece of paper with his name on it so that I could track him down on Facebook, but I have yet to be able to do so. I still have the piece of paper in my wallet.
We bid each other adieu. The next day I threw out my sneakers. Don’t buy fake Adidas sneakers in Malaysia, they get holes in the bottom really quickly.