Serbia to Cambodia: Transit Exhaustion & Exhilaration
Serbia to Cambodia: Transit Exhaustion & Exhilaration
One thing about living in a quasi-permanent state of vacation is that you have a hard time saying No, even in the face of all common sense. After a week of self-destruction in Berlin, I planned to take my last night there easy – relevant given I had a 9am flight back to Serbia the next morning. That didn’t happen. I then had 2 nights in Novi Sad with some local friends where I did anything but take it easy. Finally, on my last night in Europe, Belgrade – and feeling absolutely done with everything – four Swedish girls from my hostel pressed me into going out for an epic one as well.
The next morning I was ready to begin my flight to Phnom Penh from Belgrade, with stops in Abu Dhabi and Bangkok. I told myself I’d sleep on the plane. That didn’t happen either. My eyes were bloodshot as hell and I was shaking from various withdrawal symptoms, but I was also overtired to the point of insomnia. Instead I went into a trance and tuned into episodes of David Attenborough’s Africa (Brilliant) along with Pacific Rim (Retarded), The Internship (spectacularly unfunny) and The Great Gatsby (Really freaking boring). On the plus side, Etihad airlines had really lifted their game and menu from the last time I flew with them. By the time I touched down in Bangkok for my layover, everything hit me at once and I felt myself reduced to a quivering, nervous wreck. I honestly cannot thing of any point in my life where I have felt so absolutely shagged.
I stumbled through the airport to find the nearest CP transit lounge – one of those places where you can take a shower, get some food, relax etc. I checked in for 4 hours, and seeing it was mostly empty – pushed two couches together to make a bed – passing out in seconds to immediate deep sleep. Forth level inception shit sleep.
Suddenly I felt myself been shaken by someone. It barely registered to me initially but once they were accompanied by yells I hazily creaked open an eyelid. It was two of the lounge hostesses. Sir, sir, your time was up 30 minutes ago and I think your flight is boarding now also. Sweet fucking Jesus, I exclaimed and leapt out of my seat like a Kangaroo with its ass on fire. The boarding gate was about 20 minutes from where I was in the airport. I would have to run for it.
Taking off like a lunatic, I began dramatically speeding through the premise like in the airport scene from Home Alone. However, I’d given myself no time to collect my self from waking up from such deep unconsciousness and was practically hallucinating as I was running through the place. The people around me appeared as if they were underwater and a giant overheard poster of a Lego man started laughing at me. It’s a wonder I didn’t clatter into anyone or thing. Furthermore the voice over the airport intercom came across as muffled. In spite of this, I could barely just make out what sounded like a crude pronunciation of my last name being requested to come to my gate immediately.
I freaked out at this point and some how summoned the power to triple my sprint pace. Finally, up ahead I saw my gate, and literally ran into the check-in counter, collapsed on it in sweating heap, and slammed down my passport and boarding pass. MADE IT. Ah thank you sir, we will begin boarding in about 15 minutes. …. OH… OH REALLY? I squawked hysterically. Apparently I’d just imagined my name been called out, and the hostesses had gotten it wrong. I swung my head around and saw a men’s bathroom behind me. Well, please excuse me then. I stumbled in, kicked open a stall and threw my guts out.
A few minutes later I emerged, bought a bottle of water and sat sweating profusely while I waited for the flight to actually start boarding. I was now not only totally fucked, but also very, very irritated. And I was surrounded by obese middle aged Americans jabbering loudly. I could feel a nervous twitch starting in my left eye.
Boarding began. We got onto one of those runway buses that take you out to the plane. A fat jabbering fat woman next to me kept swinging her weight into my hand on the support pole I was grasping as we drove out. I felt myself exploding with rage inside but only just managed to keep it together. I stared venom at her and with an eerie deadpan, uttered. Ma’am… Please… That scared the shit out of her. On the plane I passed out instantly.
The flight was only an hour so I didn’t feel that much better when I was roused upon touching down at Phnom Penh, but I knew now that my hotel room was in sight. At least getting my Visa at the airport was a speedy and largely painless experience. I retrieved my bag and exited the airport.
I approached a Tuk-tuk driver outside, threw my stuff in and was on my way to a comfy hotel bed. But as we pulled out onto the road I felt all my exhaustion and discomfort evaporate. New grimy sights and smells hit me like a bullet. I’d well and truly left Europe behind. The only law being observed by the motor-scooting masses was the law of the jungle. The air was tropical and warm, albeit dusty. Corrugated iron, dodgy wiring and palm foliage provided a rolling overture. Twenty hours ago I was in Serbia. Now I was in Cambodia. I couldn’t help but smile. I forgot I was tired. I really love travelling.