Kathmandu —> Kuala Lumpur —> Phuket

I am so happy to arrive in Thailand! The flights were a pain in the arse as usual but generally grand. I can’t conceal my pure joy at going to Thailand again. It really is one of my happy places. I land in Phuket with a content familiarity at being here before. I can’t take the smile off my face. I know my way around, I know where to take the local bus & I have a handwritten map with nice hostels marked out. This is quite organised for me & I’m very pleased with myself!

I sit on the bus & take my book out. It’s mainly a prop as I spend the majority of my time taking in the views, talking to people & thinking how lucky I am. By the time I reach Phuket town I have 2 other people in my entourage also looking for somewhere to stay. We call into a hostel & think it’s a bit expensive for what it’s offering. The next place is much nicer & cheaper so we quickly agree to stay. It feels so nice to set my backpack down & have a big spacious area in a room. Even having a non bunk bed feels like a luxury! These beds have their own shelf, light, power socket & a segregating wall around the top part of your bed. They almost feel private!

I am so hot & sweaty after the day of travel & wandering around Phuket so I immediately shower, then get changed, leave a pile of washing at reception & go out for a wander. I’m not hungry yet, my body is confused with crossing timezones & travelling for so long.

I’m going to a fitness retreat here in Thailand, although I don’t have any clothes & my trainers disintegrated a country ago. After months of neglect it’s now necessary to go shopping so I go to take the bus to the shopping centre. A tuk tuk driver calls me over offering me an extortionate rate. I politely decline telling him I’m taking the local bus then he negotiates to take me for the same price as the bus but we’ll stop at a shop for me to have a look in & I don’t have to buy anything (as he gets commission for footfall through the store). This feels like a reasonable deal & the guy seems sound so I happily pop into the tuk tuk. The shop he takes me to is an overpriced western style shop aimed at rich tourists. I do my bit pretending to browse then I actually see a piece of jewellery I like. FML. It costs £7. This is a lot of money to me in Thailand. I think of the cost of jewellery I buy at home & £7 seems like a very good deal. Either way I’m torn. I buy it. I laugh at how I was totally willingly duped – but I love my new necklace so I don’t care! The tuk tuk driver is delighted & has even agreed to collect me from the shopping centre & bring me home in a couple of hours!

The shopping centre is full of western shops & it is exactly what I’m after – h&m to get some basics,  boots for the amazing Urban Happiness aromatherapy products stocked in their Thai branches (you have to try these, they are incredible & I can’t find them anywhere else!), & a sports shop to buy trainers. I spend way too much money on my much needed 2 bags of shopping & go to take my free tuk tuk back. At the hostel my washing is ready & waiting for me at the front desk. It smells heavenly & this makes me a bit emotional after months of damp smelling, washed in dirty water, clothes. I throw out my holey, worn out, clothes & lie down for a couple of hours excited at my evening plans to visit the night market with my new french friends. I reflect again how lucky I am before the hot humid air leads me to sleep.

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