I had spent my last few months eating rice and lentil soup with my hand, going to the toilet next to buffaloes and showering once a fortnight. I'd failed miserably at washing my clothes in a bucket and squeezed udders when I wanted a milk tea. A noticeable film of dirt constantly caked my face and I painted my nails to hide the mud stuck under my fingers. Nonetheless, this was all manageable. If it wasn't for my newly encroaching uni-brow, maybe I would have stayed put in Nepal longer. However, I had a plane ticket to Australia with my name on it. Or so I thought.
The day before I left, I'd been notified my flight had been cancelled and switched to another airline. When I approached the new airline's counter, they dismissed me and my voucher. "You…airline …blacklisted! No take ticket." I lugged my bag and frustration to my blacklisted airline's office. I waited with armed guards for a pensive five hours. In the good company of guns and a broken concrete stoop I sat there, frozen. Spotting a street vendor, I ordered one last Nepali Milk Tea. Warmly spiced, it gave me a little bit of hope. As the employee casually arrived at 11:00 a.m, I staunchly demanded outbound transport.
Indeed, I got a new ticket on a different airline. Shortly thereafter, I was buckled in the air, eating a curry. With a suspiciously close connecting flight in Bangkok, I got stuck in customs. A hidden pair of tweezers were testing my luck and threatening my connection. My rushed walk, turned into an awkward jog. I started to sweat and my stomach began to turn. Now sprinting through duty free perfumes, nausea hit me harder than the woman spraying Calvin Klein's latest in my face.
I was the last person on my flight. My entrance was grand and unwelcome. I darted stink eyes, as I was eyeing down only one thing: the toilet. As soon as the seat belt sign turned off, I dashed to the bathroom. A symphony of sounds emerged as projectile curry left my body. Fever aches rivaled my limbs. Tears welled in my eyes. Green chunks continued to escape, each exit more violent than the last.
If I thought I had upset eyes glaring me down before, the stares of disgust and sheer annoyance peaked as I returned to my seat. I buried my head in a blanket. The flight attendant tapped on my shoulder for meal service. I figured unveiling my pale face and watery eyes would have warranted my humble refusal. But she insisted and left my curry on the table. It was the exact same curry I just spray painted across the bathroom walls with… fantastic.
Landing in Singapore, my layover was a sizable 17 hours. With a self-diagnosis of milk tea food poisoning, I sought out a bed. The airport hotel offered me a room for $485 dollars. Oddly, that was not in my disposable income budget or rainy day fund. I digressed into the elevator. Three male backpackers greeted me with cliche boots, scarves and body odor. My illness escalated the conversation quickly, asking "Where are you staying? Can I come with?" Sorry Mom, standards and safety were about to be comprised. Public transport had shut five minutes ago. We hailed a taxi to the budget hostel.
My expectations of a clean Singapore melted as we entered the hostel. The elevator reeked of smoke. Stains were the only tangible décor. The owner opened up the first room, revealing only one double bed. The two German friends agreed to take it, as they had known each other longer than 20 minutes. He opened the second door. Maybe I was delusional at this stage, but the two single beds promised looked dubiously like a double.
I looked at the thirty something Estonian man. I decided this was going to be the most unsuccessful one night stand of my life. With waves of sickness, I told him we would strictly split the bed. If he even thought of touching me, I’d spew and retaliate in an appalling capacity. Scared, we ignored the cigarette stains on the bed and went to sleep.
It wasn’t until the morning I found out my one night stand was in the Red Light District. Normally, people rented our rooms by the hour. The pieces came together as I felt my moral fibers crumble.
And my luck ensued... as that was only half way to Australia.