The day before my 2 year anniversary of leaving Canada I'm waiting for visiting hours at a Northern Thai prison. I sit in the grass discussing manifest psychology and drinking iced coffee. A woman stalks the crowd outside, hawking colourful balaclavas. The sun moves a little and steals the shade I was using. Jesse and I compensate.
The black vinyl seat of our rented scooter is getting too hot in the afternoon sun. I feel dehydrated and my right hand has an unidentifiable stench about it. Hand sanitiser is too pussy for a seasoned traveler, so I rub it into my hands when the crowds attention is called away for an announcement of the prisoners who have lined up behind the bulletproof glass. Our friend's name is called out in Thai. We hesitate. It's called again, this time with the prison guard flagging our attention.
Inside, Ikiu is remarkably happy, but the cigarettes we bought him cannot be passed through the speakerbox. He asks for 200 Baht as the timer goes off and he's drawn away from us. We oblige and he smiles. The two actions have no correlation.
Outside we transfer our money in. I recognise an old face from a distant time when I traveled here before. Peter is white, old, morally bankrupt and someone I could never trust. I like his stories. He tells us that Ikiu is in the can with his good mate, that his uncle is connected to the local mafia and that the motive of his crime was vague. The police exaggerated, but he did chase someone down with a Samurai sword on his scooter. I think of Kill Bill immediately. A new fondness for Ikiu sweeps over us.
Later we will join Peter for whiskey.