The flight takes just over three hours – my first Air Asia experience, and a bit like the old Freddie Laker flights, if anyone can remember that far back: mine, in 1980, when I flew to Los Angeles to attend UCLA’s film school… Since then EasyJet and Ryan Air are the European equivalents. But at least I’m not charged an arm and a leg just to book the flight or use the loo.

No taxi from the hostel to meet me at the airport, but hey, most people speak English. What a relief from the trials of travelling in China!

The dorm room has 10 bunk beds, and the lights are out by the time I get there. I manage to find a bottom bunk – climbing up and down during the night isn’t my strong point….

And am I glad that I’ve booked a room with AC. It is hot and humid, day and night. But the noise can’t come close to drowning out the persistent and sometimes violet noise of motorbikes, trucks without silencers, clapped out cars and the screech of tyres of warriors and other survivors of the road that roar past the thin concrete fabric of the building.

I’m used to hearing loud Chinese voices early in the morning before going off to the fields, or arguing late at night – not traffic. It’s a disturbing exchange which violates. I don’t want to be here, in a city like this.

In the bed next to me is Becky from Wantage. We go out for the day and, watching the sun set over the harbour, we hatch a plan to escape.

Interesting, inedible fruit...

Durian - truck loads of 'em

Harbour side

just hanging out

Fish market

Looking out to sea