Lots of skin is peeling off of my neck, rolling into little beads when I run my palm stiffly across it. I suspect this was New Zealand sun at work, but at first I thought it was a small squadron of mosquitos lunching on my nape. The mosquitos are circling me like sharks, which makes me a touch nervous out here in Dengue country. Which is to say, Thailand.
We arrived in Bangkok after a full day commute. We woke up at 4am Auckland time in order to catch a 7:30 flight to Melbourne, followed by several hours layover (including a luggage snafu where our luggage was stuck on the other side of customs, the airline having neglected to issue the temporary Australian visa yet we were supposed to transfer the bags to the onward flight ourselves), followed by the long haul to Bangkok international and the overpriced (and hassle-free) taxi into the city. We calculated it was approximately twenty hours, and yet we went to sleep in our windowless air-conditioned closet at a reasonable 10:30pm local time.
The room itself was reasonably spacious. It was more like a secret room you reached from inside of a closet. The entry to the hostel was at the back of a nameless restaurant and up two flights of stairs. Through a non-descript door past the hostel bar next to the pool table there was a closet sized space partitioned by a tattered blanket hung from the ceiling. Behind that blanket, there appeared to be some kind of a living space, though I never peeked behind the curtain to look. I just knew there was a local kid living there by the inscrutable sounds of Thai television, the hazy outline of a bed visible through the fabric, and the occasional halting guitar strums of a novice (or terrible) musician. To the left of the partition was another door non-descript door with the words “Room #1” fixed to its surface with scotch tape. Behind that door was us.
The space consisted of a bunk bed (a non-standard tiered design with the bottom bunk queen sized underneath a narrow single-size top bunk mattress) and a step-up shower where you might expect a closet to be. No window or any opening other than a defunct fan duct opening above the shower. The actual air conditioner was a modern apparatus mounted across from the bed where the wall met the ceiling. It was highly effective, aided in no small part by the airlock-like quality of our closet-foyer. We fell asleep that first night to the muffled laughter of gap-year European co-eds and the soft, painfully inept strains of folk guitar.