On Thursday, I flew out of Beijing Capital Airport, still full with a meal of egg-and-leek dumplings and gan bian dou jiao (spicy fried green beans), with a couple of bottles of Yanjing Beer. By 0730 I was sitting in a coffee shop on Henderson Road in Singapore, happily devouring a breakfast of kaya toast and runny eggs, washed down with strong coffee sweetened with condensed milk. At 1330 I was chowing a lunch of dosai and dhal, with iced buttermilk, on Upper Dickson Road in Little India. At 2200, I was in Soi Ram Bhuttri Road in Bangkok, being served green curry and steamed rice, plus a streaming cold Chang beer, by a deep-voiced ladyboy.
The night I arrived in Bangkok, a heavily tattooed stranger on the next table told me that he worked for Microsoft in anti-virus development, but had just got back from Africa where he’d been involved in a personal sideline involving gold….
Last night, I just sat and could only nod my head as another stranger, this time a beautiful and charming Walloon nurse, poured out her stress and tension – she’d just come in from Haiti, where she’d been involved in post-earthquake aid with Medecins Sans Frontieres….
I wonder who I’ll meet today?
Ah, Asia. It’ll be a wrench to leave.