On April 12th, Sven and I flew from Langkawi Island back to Singapore. We said our goodbyes and I think I was still stammering my thanks as we parted. Hey you, I love you, you wonderful creature. After saying bye, I headed back into the city to meet up with Clay. One more night in Singapore before my next destination: Phuket.
April 13 2019
I wake up feeling incredibly hungover. We ended up going out last night and I drank ALL of the things. I head to the laundromat to wash my clothes – they need it. I say goodbye to Clay again, who I will see in Bali in a little over a week, and I head to the airport.
This part of the trip is another unexpected bonus. At some point in March, I received a message from a dear friend from university, telling me that she was going to be in Phuket in April to attend a fitness retreat and: would I like to join? Now, how often does it happen that your friends end up crossing to the other side of the world at coincidentally the same time as you so that you can hang out in the sunshine instead of in cold, rainy Europe? That’s right, not often. I booked a ticket.
I arrive in Phuket in the evening and my senses are immediately assaulted by the hundreds of taxi service people waving name cards outside the airport doors. After some time I am able to find the pickup service the fitness center, Phuket Fit, has sent for me. Phuket Fit is all the way at the south end of the island, so a taxi is a must. The ride takes a little over an hour and as we drive, I see water-soaked people heading home. Today is April 13; it is Songkran. Songkran is a water festival which celebrates the Thai New Year. The holiday is typically celebrated with water fights, and people spend the day splashing one another with water. I wasn’t able to get an early enough flight so I could partake, but seeing truck beds packed with soaking, smiling people feels like a pretty close second.
An hour later I arrive at Phuket Fit and there she is, my sweet, dear friend Annelie. It has probably been a year and a half since we saw one another last, but as we begin to excitedly catch up, it feels like it was yesterday. With good friends, it always does. We marvel at how quickly these plans came together, and we laugh at the fact that over the course of the next few days we will be chatting over green juices instead of glasses of wine as we usually do. To be honest, after the amount of cheap beer I have consumed over these past 5 months of travel, that might just be a good thing.
I initially sign up to participate in three days of the fitness program, but after the first day I am hooked and I know I will sign up for more. On my second day, my throat infection comes back. I visit yet another doctor and get another round of antibiotics. This is not an ideal time to be pushing my body to the limit with physical exercise, but it feels too damn good not to, so I take my medication and push myself anyway.
I enjoy our daily routine. In the evenings we look at the class schedule and debate which classes we want to take. In the mornings we wake up early and get into our workout gear while it’s still dark out. I fall in love with Muay Thai and yoga. Between classes, we drink fresh coconuts and get Thai massages. We take long walks to the beach and the market. We sit in the sauna and lounge by the pool. Throughout this all, we talk. And talk, and talk, and talk. It feels good to have yet another friend from back home here with me.
Much like my trip with Sven, my days with Annelie fly by entirely too quickly. Before I know it, we are going to bed on my last evening there and I am up before dawn to catch a taxi back to the airport. I leave feeling strong and reenergized. It feels sad to say goodbye again, but more than anything I am grateful to have had these days at all.
I board my flight in a sleepy daze, only half of me realizing that I am heading to my last stop on this trip through Southeast Asia: Bali.