I would say that one of the principal highlights of travelling the world are the people you encounter along the way. They come in such a vast variety of personalities and characters that one can never possibly be bored. I have decided to name this particular assortment of travelers The Wackies, The Weirdoes and The Wonderfuls
Today I am writing about ..The Wackies!
I just love the Wackies, they are so untrue to form of any typical prototype. These specimens will never fail to amaze or surprise you, no matter what age group they fall into whether it be nineteen or ninety their appearance will always be totally unconventional. The Wackies have a way of viewing the world and life in general that will leave you in stunned resentment because they never conform to society’s standard mold. At the same time, deep down inside you could even possibly feel slightly envious of these free - living spirits, because they dare to tread where others wouldn't have the courage to even dream.
I have come across umpteen Wackies, and it goes without saying that it would be impossible to write about all of them! However there is one particular person who wins the top award for first class WACKY! Her name is Celestine
I first met Celestine at my favourite hostel in Bangkok, I was sitting in the communal area minding my own business when this pleasant young girl joined me at the table. She introduced herself and within minutes of meeting her, she had informed me that she was German, nineteen, was on her first trip abroad and that she suffered from ADHD! Sorry to confess that I am such an ignoramus I didn’t have a clue what that meant... Really! All these new fandango illnesses with only initials to identify them beats me! In my day if you had a sore throat it was called a sore throat! It wasn't called ST? (Oops! that actually stood for something else) and if you had a very bad sore throat. It wasn't called VBST? Did you know that GIB stands for Gastrointestinal bleeding? uuuf I could have sworn it stood for that lump of rock at the foot of Spain! And CAD means generalized anxiety disorder which I actually thought stood for a graphic design program? God in heaven, I am visulizing the countless situations of "Lost in translation". Celestine continued to tell me that she had been on medication since she was six years old, but no longer took her tablets since they were giving her very severe depression (which I assumed would be VSD) as you can well understand I was beginning to feel very bad for this poor little soul.
So to continue with my story! It actually worked out that Celestine had been allocated to our dorm! I didn’t see our little friend anymore till the next day as we were both pretty occupied with other things. Since dorms can sometimes be rather noisy with people arriving or leaving, I tend to use those wonderful silicone earplugs as it ensures I have an undisturbed nights’ sleep! Well! I woke up the next morning to the biggest shock ever! I looked around me and thought “Jeepers Creepers Bangkok has been struck by a massive earthquake of at least 9.5 on the Richter scale” I wasn’t sure if I was dreaming or if I was even still alive” Honestly in all my backpacking years, I have never seen such total chaos. There was stuff thrown everywhere. The floor was littered with C & C (e.g. Clothes and Crap) plus several humongous backpacks spilling over with even more junk. Every unoccupied bed was covered with litter that included paper, make-up, underwear, empty plastic water bottles and trash. I cautiously made my way through the debris to suss what damage had be done to the rest of the building. My astonishment was paramount when I discovered that once outside the dorm, order and calm prevailed. I found all this stranger than strange. Believing that I was the sole survivor, imagine how nonplussed I felt, when I came across one of the other roommates whose name was Janet! Also a little bit crazy but truly hilarious! On asking her what had happened she quickly informed me that dear Celestine was the culprit! Saying “Oh yea, it’s that crazy new girl, she kept me awake all night coming in and out of the dorm and throwing her stuff everywhere, she’s nuts and she is either on drugs and if she isn’t, SHE DAM WELL OUGHT TO BE!” Golly Gosh! Was I relieved to discover that Mother Nature hadn't taken vengeance on my beloved City.
Now if there is one thing I absolutely abhor it is disorganization, No no no... I do NOT do mess! I positively cannot stand it. So I wasn't feeling very happy by the invasion of sweetie pie Slob. After showering and escaping the bombsite which actually was once my beautiful dorm, I made my way downstairs to be greeted by none other than the offending topsy-turvy Celestine (alais Slob), she promptly plonked herself down on the chair next to mine and asked me what my plans were for the next couple of days. I have come to realize that there are times in my life when my brain goes into dead mode! And this was such a moment. Before I could even think what I was doing I stupidly told her that I was going down the coast to visit the Khao Luang Cave Temple in Phetburi, Thailand. Then came that awful split second of realization when I knew I had put my little tiny foot in it big time as Celestine smiled and calmly stated "That's fantastic! We can go together"
Because Celestine is very beautiful and equally friendly, men gravitated towards her like bees to a honey pot. I also got the feeling that Celestine did more than her share of gravitating too. In the morning I would see her waltzing out of the hostel with some young drooling who knows where from lad. Lunchtime we would be witnesses to her parading around with an anxious Asian, and when evening time came she could be see hugging a particularly attractive Burmese boy from our reception shamelessly intent on dragging him off to party. When I asked her what she was doing with the Burmese boy, she informed me that I shouldn't worry since she only loved him like a "Cheeseburger" I am still trying to fathom out what that really meant. Many evening she wouldn't appear all night, and more often than not I would find her wrapped round some guy fast asleep on the roof terrace where only the washing machines could give testimony what had gone on. I lost count of the stream of male suitors hanging out with our little friend, although it would seem that none of the suitors were suitable since they disappeared as quickly as they had appeared. Our dorm continued to look like a pig sty and as much as we endeavoured to educate our roommate on the significance of spick and span we all knew we were on a looser.
Celestine's dress code was far more than off the peg... it was utterly off the wall! Crazy little models that no self-respecting female would ever consider being seen dead in! Unbelievably they all looked absolutely fabulous on her. One day she arrived back from shopping with the most incredible flared foam skirt in cream with a vivid red floral print. With typical human curiosity everyone gathered round to watch her exhibit the latest addition to her wardrobe, grudgingly we had to admit that is was gorgeous.. Well.... that was until she tried to sit down! OMG she looked like a massive mushroom out of 'Alice in Wonderland" The gigantic billowing mas of foam clearly would not lie down! Since I have spent my life being a problem solver, here was a challenge I was determined to take on. I suggested that she drape the back part of the skirt over the chair, the only hitch was that she ended up showing her panties to all and sundry and had transformed into a large lollipop! The crux of the matter came when she announced that she fully intended to wear the offending skirt on her future flight to Australia! I could only say God help the passenger sitting next to her.
I was sorely regretting my instance of brain dead, when I had pathetically agreed to Celestine's suggestion of joining me on my forthcoming trip. I spent hours conjuring up excuses to offer for not taking her with me. Woe was me as with a mixture of cowardly guilt and feeling pity for said persona, I found myself on the day of departure straddled with Miss Wacky!
We arrived at the Hua Lamphong station to catch the train to Phetchaburi, in theory the journey normally takes around four hours, but can occasionally (meaning more often than not) take longer. There was me with my minuscule backpack which carried only my very small smalls and a couple of changes of outer clothes whilst alongside was Celestine lugging her colossal bag which undoubtedly contained everything bar the kitchen sink. Considering we were only going for three days, I did ask myself what her luggage would be like if the trip would be for six months.
With much ado we finally boarded the train! Whew I have never in my whole life had so much flipping hassle to catch a train... With such mammoth amounts of baggage (I state! NOT mine) we really could have done with those wonderful dutiful porters from the olden days who in their smart uniforms whisked away the suitcases and the only thing one had to worry about was climbing on the train.. Once seated in our carriage, my now fully fledged travel companion started to chat to all and sundry... Given there were no drop dead gorgeous males journeying with us, she eventually showered her charms on a delightful Thai family whose little daughter had clearly captured her heart. They say that within all of us is a small child waiting to emerge, if I needed any confirmation that this could possibly be true I certainly received it that day on the train as I beheld the metamorphosis of Celestine as she transformed into a delightful little girl playing with another delightful little girl. I became conscious that beneath the façade of this crazy nutty young woman was an adorable person full of love and kindness.
The problem with loopy but loveable people is that one moment you fall victim of their charming disposition and in the next instance you either want them to disappear forever or happily murder them there and then! I did inform Celestine that she was very lucky to still be in the land of the living. With her usual sunny self she would burst into laughing and take absolutely no notice of this Backpacker Granny!
We arrived to our destination and in no uncertain terms I stated that no way was I sharing a room with Celestine... God forbid! Luckily I got my own room and ooooh what joy not to be in a communal dorm with the mental lunatic causing total disaster in every corner of the room...
The next day, another one of our friends called David joined us and off we all went to visit the Khao Luang Cave Temple. At this stage I would like to add that if the opportunity arises you really should take the time to visit this breathtaking cave. The only hazard are the monkeys’ personally I am not a fan of monkeys, A lot of them can be very aggressive coupled with the possibility that they are carrying rabies makes me very wary and as far as I’m concerned the further away the better. We arrived at the entrance and of course there were the nasty little blighters all lined up along the wall obviously in wait for the next group on unsuspecting victims. I tentatively edged my way forward praying that I wouldn’t be attacked by the horrid little rascals but to my surprise they took absolutely no notice of me! At that moment I turned round and just couldn’t believe my little eyeballs! "Holy guacamole" There was Celestine giving each and every one of the beastly monkeys a drink from her bottle of water!
After waiting an eternity for Miss Wacky to finish amusing the monkeys we eventually finished with the cave and headed back to town. True to form Celestine found another gentleman to keep her amused and David and I went to join the big festival that the locals were holding in the city.
The trip was great and in all honesty we had a loads of laughs and I got to learn a lot in the lesson of tolerance and understanding, Celestine and I did another trip to Penang in Malaysia (sucker for punishment me) where we took our separate paths only to meet up again at our regular hostel in Bangkok. The last I saw of her was when she left for Australia and wearing her splendid skirt. Crazy Nutty Loopy Wackiest of all the Wackies. The one and only Celestine. But as I said at the beginning of this blog I just love the Wackies.