By John Harris
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Additional info for The backpacker
The dog was so fierce-looking that I didn’t even have the guts to shoo it away. I went into numerous guest houses, some of which I’d already tried, and every time I came out the dog was still there, waiting and growling. All of the accommodation was full, so eventually, to get away from the dog, I jumped into a tuk-tuk to the other end of the street; a 500-yard journey that the driver ripped me off fiercely for, but it was worth it just to be out of biting range. I was so tired by this time that I couldn’t be bothered to get my watch out of my bag to check the time, and had to ask a passer-by.
Coming out of the shop doorway I looked up at the sky, the clouds just about discernible in the early morning light. As I turned to pick up my bag and jumper I noticed the posters in the window: brightly coloured pictures of tropical beaches; blue skies, blue seas, white sand and lush jungle backdrops of the deepest green. Koh Samui , read one, Phi Phi Island , another. Two bikini-clad models were lying on a gleaming white yacht in one poster, and underneath the operator of the travel agency had written, KOH PHA-NGAN DAILY BUS / TRAIN.
I expected to return to the front and find the bowl of fruit gone but it was still there, shining, mouthwatering, like a mirage. At first I was reluctant to eat it. I wasn’t sure whether I was being suckered into some scam whereby I ate the fruit, watched by beady eyes, and got pounced upon and presented with an outrageous bill. So, hesitating for about two seconds, I picked up the bowl, arranged myself in the hammock, hesitated for another second or two while scanning the beach, and started scooping up the fruit whilst swinging to and fro.