We sat in a taxi in the crowded metropolis of Bangkok. The taxi was barely moving due to the traffic jam. All around us, tall buildings stood proudly and silently mocking us.

“All the bloody road signs say Rama XI,” I groused. I hate traffic jams. I have also been suffering from Asia fatigue over the last few years.

He flashed me a grin. “I know what your next sentence is. You’re going to say, wish I am at home instead of here.”

“Damn right,” I retorted, but despite myself, I grinned back happily.

“Just to manage your expectations, Jac, we still have ten more miles of this to go.”

I mock-punched him and we tussled in the back of the taxi like two teenagers. We have this rule when we play-fight: because he is so much stronger than I, he wins only if he manages to pin both my arms back with one hand. I scratched his face and he exclaimed, “Owww”. The taxi driver kept looking at us in concern in the mirror, and we kept on saying to him each time we caught his eye, “We are OK, Uncle. All good. Happy.”

And I thought to myself,

“It’s not important where you are in life or where you go to. What makes the difference is the person you are travelling with.”

We travel off the beaten track because he is like that. We travelled for miles to a French restaurant called Cafe des Amis run by a man called Blu where we had Japanese scallops and black pudding from England for starters. Crazy combo, but he and I are like that. He waited for me to order Merlot then only did he tell me about a guy-movie called Sideways where the crazy character Miles Raymond said, “No, if anyone orders Merlot, I’m leaving. I am NOT drinking any fucking Merlot!”  (reason here if you are interested).

Dumb but memorable. I mean the conversations we had, not the film.

Photo: our chariot in Bangkok.