I disembarked the plane at Bangkok’s Don Mueang airport and was waved aboard a shuttle bus which pulled up just ahead. I picked up my bags, got a seat, and waited.
A traveller with a deep tan climbs on with a huge backpack strapped behind him.
A blond tuft of hair in the crowd on my right.
Two guys – German, I think – sharing a laugh right in front of me. He turns and smiles. I smile back.
Now, the cover of someone’s passport catches my eye. It’s covered in a lot of different stamps.
I try to get a better look.
There’s one with the Eiffel and one with a continent shaped like a boot. I gather he likes Europe as much as I do, and I wonder what are his memories of those places. Would they be happy memories? Or sad ones? Not just him, but that traveller with the backpack too. Where did he come from? I entertain a thought of him perhaps having gone to climb Mt Everest followed by an epic trek down into Asia.
I look down at my lap, at my huge khaki-colored Longchamp travel bag – currently half empty, waiting to be filled with treasure from the troves of Bangkok. It’s my first time here, and I wonder what I might take home with me in three days time. They have stories too, these Longchamp bags. I’d gotten them on my last day in Paris in September last year. That Monday, I was rushing to catch my flight scheduled for slightly after noon at Charles de Gaulle (CDG) and I’d sprinted down Rue de Cambon to the branch on Rue Saint-Honoré right when they opened at 10am. I’d made a promise to buy one for my mom and wanted to live up to that promise. And since I was there I figured I might as well, and quickly pointed out two other bags. Yes, the one on my lap right now.
I’d run back to the hotel after that, two green Longchamp shopping bags trailing in my wake, and was greeted with a grunt from the cab driver. My travel companion stood on the pavement on the opposite side of the street, hands in his pockets. He wasn’t too pleased about waiting, he said, and grinned. He let me get on first, then climbed in behind me.
So many stories, so little time.
I couldn’t help but wonder about the number of stories waiting to be told – all packed into just that one, little bus on the airport tarmac.