Monday, September 26, 2005

From one City of Angels to another

Today was the longest day of my life. Waking at 5:00am to the very first hints of light in Bangkok I hurried to finish packing my cases whilst struggling to wake up. After calling in at our office tower and taking in the view for perhaps the last ever time I flew down the expressway in a typically noisy and decrepit taxi to Don Muang airport. The next thing that sticks in my mind is boarding the packed 747 to Osaka and regarding my economy class seat that was to be my berth for the next 17 hours with absolute disdain- a hamster would have complained about the leg room! In fact this was the second time I had traveled to Osaka in the same week as I left on a red-eye night flight on the previous Tuesday and returned on the Thursday evening, now two days later the flight passed quicker and surprisingly more comfortably.

At 15:00 Kansai airport was beautiful shrouded in a sea mist and I took the 30 minutes break from my assigned seat of pain as an opportunity to check if my legs were still capable of walking, stretching and bending out of the prone position. Looking across the water over to the edge of Osaka I remembered eating and chatting on Wednesday night with my old friend Andy and wondering what he would be doing on such a sleepy looking Sunday. Then just as my knees felt like joints again we were herded back into the same seats for the leg to LA. Being my first trip to the US and having a fairly daunting work schedule ahead it was with some trouble that I fell asleep. Today is the 25th of September and it marks exactly my first year living in Thailand first- In my mind I tried to recall almost everything I had done, accomplished, eaten and enjoyed and soon I fell into a contented slumber.

Arriving at 11:00 am into Los Angeles and I could not understand that it is still Sunday, In fact I am still not sure what time it really is?!.. Surviving immigration, customs, and the drive to my hotel in a strange car on the wrong side of the road took a great effort and I can not tell you a great deal about what I have seen as I simply concentrated on driving and following the instructions given by the on board navigator: “Turn right, immediately!” - I write this now at 20:30 and I know that the longest day of my life is finally about to end in a lovely deep sleep..

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Where I would rather be right now..

A Manchesteresque rain that looks like it could have blown straight in off the Yorkshire moors has been beating into my window all day. These guilty clouds of a particularly grey quality remind me of looking straight up out of bed and thinking how on earth I was to make it to work through the cold and drizzle surrounding Macclesfield.. Thankfully that sinking feeling seems like a distant life away, but on days like this I still think of sunny beaches, lazy mornings into afternoons and chasing fishes through warm salt water, perhaps it is the remnants of Seasonal Affected Disorder that lingers in me somewhere!

This photo (Thanks Mum!) was taken coming back from Ko Wai, a small island very close to Ko Chang in Trat province. Ko Chang is a large island some 30km in length with a series of nice beaches down the West coast and very quiet fishing villages scattered along the East coast. The jump off points for Ko Chang are ferry boat piers that take bus passengers from Bangkok's Ekamai station direct to the island, alternatively it is possible to take a boat that stops in Ko Chang but carries onto the many smaller and usually unvisited islands south of Ko Chang. If you are looking to escape the eternal British winter, or even just the end of the rainy season here in Thailand, you could do a lot worse than playing at Robinson Crusoe down in this area. Don’t be surprised to see me snoozing in a hammock or playing keep-me-ups down there.. I'l be the one supping a fresh young coconut or two with a big grin on my face..

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Musings on the side effects of being an oil-aholic..

Currently much newspaper print has been devoted to the apparent linkage of hurricane Katrina that has just drowned New Orleans and the Iraqi debacle.. the quoted common cause is the world's total energy reliance on oil with the subsequent knock on effects of global warming and the need to secure foreign oil reserves. Now the US and her allies has always backed up its Iraqi action on the basis of the war on terror, human rights and the need to dispose a dangerous dictator whilst strongly rejecting any accusations of oil grabbing.

Additionally I am sure that you would be hard pressed to find many US officials linking global warming and the effects of Hurricane Katrina. Another analogy that is increasingly drawn over the other (US) side of the Pacific is the comparison of today's Iraq with the conflict in Vietnam. This is, for everyday Americans a very compelling argument to pull out of Iraq and one that I feel the Bush government will play on to extract itself from Baghdad as soon as a US friendly government is in place… regardless of the reality of the 'democracy' they will have installed:
(Cartoon: Thanks to Steve Bell and The Guardian, again!)