Low expectations are key, I think. I expected the dirt and smoke and heat. I prepped myself for toilets that would challenge both my gag reflex and my balance. I was ready to eat food from street vendors cooking unidentifiable items in large vats of oil. To forget that I ever used to smell good. And I sort of love the letting go. “Mai pen rai.” “No worries.” I haven’t showered in two days. “Getting ready” in the morning means little more than a smear of sunscreen. Sleep is easy, brought on by pure exhaustion.
I may be forever cured of my jumpiness as a passenger during car rides. I tend to always offer to drive because of my inability to trust that other people will drive with the same cautious perfection that I would. Stop laughing Onge. A few taxi rides in
It’s light out now, 7 a.m. I went to sleep in the light and sharp lines of the city. Now I’m rolling through the middle of a tropical forest. The dirt is brighter here, more orange-y. I imagine my grandma here, pointing out every variety of plant as we pass it. “That is a banana grove,” she would say. “In the reign of King Rama IV, he ordered that every peasant would plant a single fruit tree in this area of the jungle.” She always has stories like that, always a tour guide. Sometimes my friends make fun of my random knowledge. To that I say, sorry, it’s genetic.
The two train seats fold into little bunks, caves almost. I’m tucked away in my little cave, separated from the hallway by a thin blue curtain. The train will stop after a bit. I will struggle with my luggage, pulling it recklessly down the steep steps. I will climb into a tuk tuk, or maybe a bus. I will take a shower in a bathroom that may or may not sport an impressive collection of mold. I will collapse into bed. And I won’t worry about whether or not the sheets are sterile.