Day 1,241: The Arab Street Preachers

Fri 25.05.12:

I lost my debit card last week in Bangkok. Foolish I know, but it’s only the second time I’ve lost my card since Dominican Republic back in February 2009, so don’t be too harsh. In fact, I lost both cards to the same lousy trick. Some cash machines have this bastard habit of giving you your money and THEN your card, rather than the eminently more sensible other way around – card then money. Because of the increased likelihood of you taking your money then wandering off with your card still in the ATM, there are very few countries that have this system. Dominican Republic is one, and Thailand is another. There is a circle of hell reserved for ATM designers who do this. Anyway, fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice; Dude, Where’s My Card?

So today I had to trek all the way over to the airport to pick up my replacement card from the good folks at DHL. Irritatingly enough, my Barclays back-up card, which I hardly ever use, expired last month. Haven’t used the damn thing for about two years and when I need it, it’s expired! Bloody typical! So my mum (Gawd bless ’er) sent off my replacement HSBC and Barclaycards here to Singapore so I could get some money out of a hole in the wall without having to resort to using my cash-advance?-that’ll-be-a-fiver-you-little-cretin credit card.

The whole process of getting to and from the airport took about two hours, which would have been worth it had my new Barclaycard not been instantly swallowed by the first machine I tried to use it in. Grr…

Oh, the joys of travel.

Anyways… after last night’s shenanigans I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go out again, but it was Nate’s last night, so we headed over the road to the Arab Street quarter with Christoph and Kuni in tow. The Blu Jaz Café was our base for the night. We sat out on the pavement enjoying the live music and drinking overpriced beer. Around 11pm, Nate hit the road and soon after Kuni called it a night. Christoph lasted until maybe 2am and then flaked out. Once again I was the last man standing, or rather stumbling. I was chatting with a group of musicians from Spain, Mexico and Cuba – a conversation that spilled out onto the street, late night kebabs and then ended with me and a Spanish guy called Matheus having a rather animated discussion about the rather dubious merits of moral relativism. Who am I to say what’s right and wrong? I’m the good guy, that’s who.

It was 6am before I got to bed.

Graham Hughes

Graham Hughes is a British adventurer, presenter, filmmaker and author. He is the only person to have travelled to every country in the world without flying. From 2014 to 2017 he lived off-grid on a private island that he won in a game show, before returning to the UK to campaign for a better future for the generations to come.

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