How to explain Maxim?
A tall blonde Russian with piercing blue eyes and a starting explosion of facial hair
He’s been on the road for four years I think he’s seen a little too much of the world.
I met him as I caught a bus from Kota Behru heading for the Thai border crossing and a sleeper train to Bangkok.
Naturally the bus stopped for no reason that i I could see and we had to decamp into a replacement. Maxim took this with his usual enigmatic smile.
We walked across the Thai/Malay border together and went through what I must say was an efficient immigration progress.
Fir the first time since “leaving” the BBC I had to write down my occupation. That gave me jolt.
Anyway his tiny knapsack was in sharp contrast to my ludicrously heavy 75 litre rucksack.
He looked at me and shook his head.
“Too big, man,” you’re going to suffer in Thailand with that.
I asked him where he was going. he shrugged his shoulders and gave me a another serene smile
“Who knows, I just walk and will get there.”
Turns out he believes in Karma.
Should have guessed when I saw him sitting cross legged on the bus
That didn’t extend to him giving the beggars any money though.
God will take of them, apparently
Or giving the money changer a hard time for trying to rip him off.
He told me off for putting my water bottle through the X Ray machine.
“That uses radiation and now it’s in your water,” he said sadly
Which cheered me up no end. For all his smile and hippy philosophy he did have the voice of doom about him.
If the heat didnt get me then the irradiated water would.
Though he’s from Russia he’s not Russian
“Russia is just a place, I am from everywhere,”
Asking him his age was just as pointless
“Age does not matter, I am healthy and fit to do what I want ”
And he doesn’t drink apart from one incident that put him in hospital
Which makes him pretty unique for a Russian
I wondered how he earned money to travel
“I am a player.” He said.
By that I think he means computer games, chess etc. but how he earns money from that is anyone’s guess
He stood by me in the queue as I struggled to buy my ticket to Bangkok
“Hey 18 pounds for a train to Bangkok with a bed I said, feeling pleased with myself
“Yes,” says Maxim
“Twenty hours of hell…”