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I WOKE UP IN A HOSTEL AROUND 7AM
BRANDON SCOTT GORRELL


I went to the reception area and sat at one of the computers. I got up and poured myself a cup of coffee from a thing they had there. I sat down in front of a computer and checked my websites. One of the staff, who I had shared two beers/played pool with the night before, sat by me and looked at my computer screen. I was posting a blog. He asked me what I was doing and I said I was checking my emails. He looked at the screen and at me. He said he couldn't understand what the screen was. I repeated that I was checking my emails. As some kind of affirmation I minimized and maximized IE a number of times. He didn't say anything and stood up and left. I walked to a market and bought food. I bought a fried chicken wing somewhere else. I walked back to the hostel and checked out. I stored my bags in the hostel's storage area and walked away from the hostel. I walked to different places in Bangkok. I sometimes came back to the hostel and drank free coffee, used the internet and smoked cigarettes. I read at a table outside. I felt bad. Sometimes I glanced at people and felt annoyed about a pressure I detected to be sociable. I felt I had no choice but to sit at the hostel because it seemed there was nowhere to sit in the city, except on curbs, or something, and everywhere felt too busy.

At around 5PM I walked from the hostel to the train station. I was wearing a normal-sized backpack and carrying a plastic grocery bag with some food and books in it. I sat among 50 to 80 rows of red plastic chairs in the main hall of the station. There was a giant big screen TV hanging from the ceiling that played an incessant stream of advertisements. I found some of the advertisements' 'jingles' charming and entertaining. There was one advertisement that had a montage of all the different social classes in Thailand, farmers in rice fields and orchards, teenagers on scooters, school kids, etc., all singing different parts of a rap-like jingle, and I liked the jingle and I liked the commercial. I saw the commercial maybe over 10 times.

The upper level of the station overlooked the lower level and was lined with cafes and restaurants. I decided that a beer would help pass the time so I went to the upper level. I approached a restaurant with a Thai greeter standing there. The person greeted me in Thai. I looked at her and slowly greeted her in Thai. I felt I was being very strange. She laughed. Two other Thai people laughed, who I hadn't previously noticed and seemed to appear from behind a small tree and I think a glass window. I used English to ask the greeter how much a beer was and she told me. I ordered one. As I drank my beer I looked at things in the lower level.

I finished the beer at around 7:10PM. I paid and went downstairs. I was charged money to get into a bathroom. Outside of the bathroom I bought another beer from a vendor there. She gave it to me in a bag with a straw. I went through a large set of doors to the platforms. It was very smoggy and diesel engines could be heard running. It smelled strongly of exhaust and I felt a little sick. I walked to my train and sat down in a seat. I noticed it was the wrong seat and went to the right seat. I opened my beer with a lighter and drank from it with the straw. The carbonation made it overflow a lot so I had to drink over half of it within 10 minutes. A Thai person with an electric guitar sat in the seat next to me. We looked at each other and he asked where I was from. I told him where I was from and he communicated that he wanted to switch seats. He indicated that I was maybe in the wrong seat. From what I could see I seemed to be in the right seat. I had the window. I gave him the window because I didn't want to try to communicate that I was actually in the right seat. He put his head out the window and communicated with someone out there. He seemed like a gangster. He held a bill outside the window and I think was offering it to someone outside. The train moved out of the station. I moved to a row of seats that was completely empty. I made eye contact with a Thai person that was across from me. It became apparent that he wanted to communicate. We communicated. People came and said I was sitting in their seat. The Thai person who I had been communicating with beckoned me. I sat by him. We spoke of where we were from, where we were going, and what we did for work. He told me that his great grandmother had died and that he was going to his family. I asked if he was sad and he said that he wasn't. He said that she was old. He invited me to come with him and stay with his family and I said no. I gave reasons in English, kind of long ones that I felt he couldn't understand. We stopped talking after that. I thought he might be a homosexual.

The train had been running for an hour. I knew it was a 7-hour trip to my destination. I felt physically shitty and cold. Two German girls were in the seat in front of me. There was a smoking area close and I went there and accidentally almost pushed one of the German girls off the train. She told me not to push her off the train. I said that it would have been very bad if I had pushed her off the train. I went back to my seat and watched the other German girl coerce a train employee to take a picture with her. She put her arm around his shoulder and held the camera in front of them and took a picture. The Thai employee was grinning. The person sitting next to me had wrapped a towel around his chest and face, covering his eyes but not his nose and mouth. I realized by looking at a train schedule that the train was somehow 2 hours late, which meant I could miss all my transfers. The train often stopped for long periods of time, and outside it seemed very bleak and empty and without a feeling of 'life,' even though I saw buildings, and it all looked worrisome, slightly terrible. The fan above me was on high and I was extremely cold. I had my windbreaker on and my hood up, pulled tight with the strings so I could barely see, and my arms were crossed. Everyone on the train seemed to have fallen asleep except the German girls, who were talking loudly and laughing. They seemed to have no awareness that everyone around them was attempting to sleep. It seemed that they were having 'My German Thailand Vacations.' I was afraid to fall asleep because I could miss my stop. I set the alarm on my watch for twenty minutes before I predicted the train would get to my stop.

I had strange, disconnected sleep for a while. I had a dream that my alarm went off, and that I had a very hard time turning it off, and then I saw that there was an exposed gear that could be manipulated to control very interesting looking games that I had just realized were on my watch. I tried to play the games and they felt very complicated. I woke after the time that I had set for my alarm.

My train arrived at around 5AM. I was confused because the arrival time didn't match with my calculations. On the platform outside the train I had the sensation of my head expanding and filling with air. I was disoriented a little. I sat next to a woman and her child and smoked. The woman, who seemed French, asked for a cigarette and I gave her one. It became apparent that her child was complaining about the cigarette smoke and we both moved away from her. I walked to the bathroom and paid the attendant and walked into the stall. The toilet seemed very clean but was irregularly shaped and low to the ground. It did not have a seat. I remembered that Asia had toilets where you had to squat to shit instead of sitting down. A feeling of foreboding briefly overcame me. I pulled down my pants and squatted over the toilet. I was afraid of shit somehow going into my pants. I shit a little and looked into the toilet to see if I had aimed correctly. I saw no shit. I moved my hand around in my pants and didn't feel any shit. I shit more, this time watching my ass to see the shit come out. It came out and landed in the bowl correctly and then quickly slipped into the hole out of view. I shit more and did a very loud, sustained fart. I laughed. I looked at the toilet paper holder and saw that there was no toilet paper. There was a hose next to the toilet that had a spray nozzle attached to the end of it. I felt very bad. I tested the hose by pressing its lever. I stood a little and put the sprayer behind my ass and sprayed my asshole with it. It seemed to work, my asshole felt clean. I stood and got my notebook out of my bag and ripped a quarter of a page out and wiped my ass with it. It had traces of shit.

Outside it had started raining very hard. A Thai person on a seat just away from the platforms asked me where I was going. I told him. He said that the 7AM ferry had been canceled because of the weather and that the next one would leave at 1 PM. I asked him where the bus was. He said it was coming.

The bus got to the station at around 5:45AM. It was still raining very hard. I got on the bus and stared at the clock at the front of the bus while I waited for it to leave. I very much wanted it to leave. The AC was on. An English man in a leather jacket with a lit cigarette in his mouth got on the bus and walked quickly to the back. He seemed drunk. The clock hands seemed to be moving faster than they should have. The English man left the bus and got back on and yelled something with the words "coincidentally" "train" and "canceled." No one said anything. It was still raining hard. I was cold. I tried to sleep and it didn't work. I watched the clock hands. It was 6:45AM and I knew that there was no chance of catching the 7AM ferry if it wasn't canceled. The English man walked on the bus again and yelled "Hollywood, grab my bags mate." An English voice from the back of the bus said "We're going?" and the English man said "Yeah. Tuk tuk." A large man with arm tattoos carrying bags came forward.

The bus left around 7AM. I felt relieved. It drove no more than 10 blocks and stopped outside of the company that owned the buses. The company had a waiting area for passengers and seemed to sell coffee. The driver stood from his seat and communicated to us that the morning ferry had been canceled because of the weather, and that the bus would park here, and that we could go inside and have breakfast and coffee. He said that we should meet back at the bus at 9AM. I didn't want to leave the bus because I didn't want them to think I was patronizing what I then felt was a 'scam.' I was very cold and had a terrible feeling. For awhile I tried to sleep but it never worked. I got out of the bus and walked away from the bus company into town. I stopped at a cafe and ordered a coffee. Other people from the bus were there and I sometimes concentrated on avoiding eye contact with them.

At 9AM I went back to the bus. I tried to sleep more and it didn't work. I felt uncomfortable in every position that I tried. I watched the clock in the front of the bus. I looked outside and saw the French woman with her child. She was talking and laughing with people that seemed to be Indian. I wondered if I wasn't good enough. At 9:20AM I saw the bus driver standing outside, smoking and talking on his cell phone. I wanted to go. At 9:30AM the bus driver came back to the bus and communicated that there was nothing to do at the pier, so we wouldn't leave until 10:30AM. He said to meet at the bus at 10:30AM.

I got off the bus and walked toward the town again. I bought 4 fried pastry things at a street vendor, then walked to another place and bought fried duck eggs over rice. I hadn't known what I ordered when I ordered it, because I had only pointed to a sign with Thai characters on it, and was excited when I got it because I knew exactly what it was, but when I started eating I could barely get through because the eggs were extremely salty. It made me feel very nauseous. They gave me a cup of water but I was afraid to drink the water. I walked for awhile after I couldn't eat anymore. I was thirsty. I came to a shop that sold only towels and bought the biggest one they had for 7 dollars. I would use it as a blanket. At 10:20AM I returned to the bus. At 10:40AM we left. I felt glad that we were going again. At 11AM we arrived at the pier. Getting off the bus I felt tired and horrible. It felt as if my eyeballs were being pushed outward by an expanding mass of air inside my head. I felt shaky and my stomach was upset. There were many different places to sit at the pier and I switched between them a lot. The French woman had a problem with her ticket and her voice rose to a yelling tone. She said, "Please, I have a child." There were chickens walking around the pier. One Western person sat there staring vacantly, maybe drunk, dropping pieces of cracker on the ground for the chickens. He seemed to enjoy them as a retarded person would; a small, stupid-looking grin on his face, his eyes 'in a daze,' his behavior repetitive. There were two males, aged 25 to 30, maybe from Eastern Europe, that were drinking beer and talking loudly. They were drunk. I could tell they were slurring their words even though it was a different language. One beckoned a staff worker in a commanding tone and verbally forced her to sit down with them and explain to them in English how to get to an island different than the island the ferry was going to. She led them in a direction away from the pier.

The ferry arrived at the pier at around 12:45 PM. It was raining very hard and was very windy. People crowded around the gate to get on the ferry first. I also pushed toward the gate because I wanted a good seat. I made small glances at people as I passively vied for position. They opened the gates and we began to walk down a dock toward the ferry. The dock was very long and narrow. As I walked I looked to my left and right. I felt at peace, tired, and sick. The platform to get on the ferry seemed dangerous and two staff waited at the top. As I got to the top, two staff took both my arms and helped me up. Inside the ferry was rocking hard. It consisted of an airplane-like cabin, with rows of seats on the left and right, then a big row in the middle. I chose a window seat. It was hot because there was no AC. I immediately began to feel a little sea sick but I felt it was okay. The ferry seemed to fit about 150 people and by the time it left it was really full.

The ferry began to go. After about 5 minutes we were on extremely rough water. Waves that were 15 to 20 feet high were rocking the ferry very hard and people were screaming sometimes. The screaming seemed mostly 'for fun.' A staff person came by, handing out plastic bags, saying, "Sea sick." I didn't take one. The waves outside were huge and the ferry was going up and down and rocking really hard. I started to feel sick and regretted not taking a bag. I decided that I would vomit into my new towel if I had to. To get my towel I had to go through my bag, which was at my feet, and as I did this I began to feel very sick because not looking outside disoriented me. I put my towel on my lap and felt worried. My thoughts began to only consist of sentences like "You have to keep it together," "You have to be strong" or "Just look outside, it's fine." I looked over at a blond girl who was sitting close to me. She was staring at me. Her eyes were very wide and afraid. I heard people vomiting. I felt very sick and hot. I was sweating. I got my water, of which I only had about a 10th left, and accidentally spilled some on my chest. It felt extremely good, and seemed to completely relieve the sick feeling. The sick feeling quickly came back. I was watching the waves outside and they were very big. I tried to breathe in coordination with the waves. I was sweating very hard. More people were vomiting. I could smell it now. I could also detect the minty smell produced by the chemical typically used for cleaning vomit. Staff people walked the aisles, handing out bags. I looked over to the blond girl and she was covered in sweat, her face the same expression as before. I thought the ferry would capsize. It seemed very dangerous. I poured water on my towel and put the towel to my face. A massive feeling of relief overcame me. I focused on the water outside. A man started vomiting very hard, making 'demon-like' noises. I listened to the noises and felt distracted and the sick feeling became less. I focused on the noises and on breathing deeply and regularly. I looked at my watch and saw we had been going for 45 minutes. It sounded as if 50 percent of the people on the boat were vomiting. I poured a tiny amount of water on my hand and splashed it on my face. I was shaking. I looked over to the blond girl. She was unconscious with her mouth open and two staff were over her. One of them was tapping her arm rhythmically and the other was fanning her face. I felt very nauseous. I looked over at a group of Thai people and they were all sleeping. I laughed. I looked out the window and did rhythmic breathing exercises, coordinating my breathing with the rise and fall of the boat. Sometimes it felt as if I exhaled too much or too little and this would make me feel nauseous. Finally I got a vomit bag. I splashed water on my face. I had to conserve the water because there was so little left. The man that was making 'demon-like' noises was doing it regularly. An Asian close to me that appeared as if he would not vomit vomited quietly into his bag. My eyes started to flutter in a strange way and I wanted to close them. I could not discern if I was about to fall asleep or lose consciousness, or what the difference was. It felt as if I was on 'E.' I closed my eyes for maybe 5 seconds and felt incredibly good, then I felt sick again. I opened my eyes. Maybe 80 percent of the people on the boat were vomiting. I did a combination of breathing rhythmically, looking at waves outside, breathing in coordination with the boat's movements, taking small sips of water, splashing water on my face and chest and thinking things like "This is a finite situation." We had been on the water for an hour and a half. The staff people were now carrying large black garbage bags and paper towels down the aisles. Outside I discerned a very faint shadow of the island and felt very good. The sickness came back but not as strong as before. I kept my eyes on the island. The man that was making 'demon-like' noises was still making them. At a certain point the water became much less rough. We were very close to the dock. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to stand or carry my bags out of the ferry. I was very shaky and felt that if I had to speak I would not be able to. I stood and got off the ferry. I saw the French woman and her skin tone was gray-yellow-green. A lot of women were crying. Some had their hands over their mouths. A lot of people were covered in either sweat or water, their hair and clothing soaked. I said "Fucking shit," to someone. He looked at me and seemed confused. I walked off the dock. I sat on the steps of a 7-11 and opened a new bottle of water and drank a lot of it.