Neat but too loud



This morning, apart from feeling ruined from four beers and not enough sleep, was seamless. I got up, got breakfast, interviewed a candidate, checked out, got a Grab taxi to the airport.

My driver pulled up in a bright green and yellow Toyota Altis. I didn’t notice until we drove off that it either had a bust exhaust manifold, or the loudest pipes I’ve ever heard. Driving to the airport was like being in the back of a rally car going full chat.

A really shit rally car, but that’s neither here nor there.

After Singapore, where every taxi is a Hyundai Sonata, or Hong Kong, where they’re all old Toyotas with that bad-boy remote door opening lever, Thai taxis are always a bit of a shock. One and all, they resemble something assembled by a teenage boy-racer.

Take my SUPERLOUD taxi. The steering wheel was a tiny racing one, with red anodized Sparco logos. It also seemed to be missing an airbag, and just had a random set of wires protruding from the hub. I wouldn’t have been surprised if the driver had activated a set of neon lights under the car, or stopped half way to the airport to weld a makeshift spoiler on the back.

(Last time we drove to the airport in Bangkok, the driver stopped half way up the motorway to take a leak. I suppose you drive safer undistracted by bladders, etc.)

At the airport, the lines were short and when I checked in, they gave me a "long leg seat". Sometimes I adore the inventions non-native English speakers produce. Particularly if I can stretch out as a result.

I found a space at Starbucks, because after several days of Thai food, I craved blandness. Almost immediately, the Subway opposite started making a smoothie, or vacuuming the ceiling, or testing a jet engine. I’ve no idea what, exactly, but it was damn loud and in my presently weakened state, I wanted silent Buddhist calm, not an almighty whooshing. I’m pretty sure the noise was the construction of a metaphor, now I consider it more carefully.

And so in a few hours, back to Singapore, for what should be the last flight of the year. 12 new stamps in my passport. What will 2017 bring?


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