Death of a Shopkeeper


It was in March, 2016 on a flight from Bangkok to Amsterdam, that I heard about the suicide bombing of the Brussels airport – called ‘Zaventem’.  

News of the attack had appeared on the international media a day before, but at the time I was travelling on local buses in the east of Thailand.

For the last three weeks, I’d been travelling in what were then remote areas of Asia –  north east Cambodia and the west of Vietnam. For most of that time I had been staying in small family run hotels which had no wifi. I’d been disconnected from the real world – like a hermit – and hadn’t missed it.

On the flight to Amsterdam, as chance would have it, I found myself sitting next to a Belgian man, who along with thousands of other Belgian tourists elsewhere in the world, had had his flight to Zaventem cancelled and was forced to change his flight. He was lucky enough to have gotten a seat on the flight to Amsterdam; from there it was a train trip of a few hours to Brussels.  

We made small talk and that’s how I found out about the terrorist attack at Zaventem.

At least 30 people had died and a hundred injured, he told me.    

I knew then what was waiting for me on arriving back in Europe and it wasn’t exactly something to look forward to….. Read more