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Archive for November, 2005

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Wednesday, November 30th, 2005

I retired to a bar ( ‘The Office’, owned by an Englishman) to compose an e-mail to Nitokorn Piwong from the Irrawaddy Dolphin Conservation Society in Phattalung, but did not send it. It might sound stupid, but I don’t want to stick my nose into other people’s projects. The Song Khla dolphin population is in decline, so there are very few sightings. I looked out of the door onto the rain pattering onto the street. Did I really want to go on another mission? It would be comparable to a jolly around Greenock. What made up my mind was the bar owner saying that there are plenty of ‘pink dolphins’ in an area just past the Malaysian border. There would be other opportunities on this trip. So I’m heading out to Satun, probably go on to the Ko Tao National Marine Park if it is sunny, cross the border otherwise, look around a bit and then head to Kuala Tahan for the Taman Negara primary forest reserve. Plans? Who needs plans?


Wednesday, November 30th, 2005

Taking the bus to Hat Yai was marginally less interesting that taking the nightbus to Glasgow—and nearly as expensive. I could have had a better deal from Khao San Road, but in typical style, I left the rest of the Farang behind in about 5 minutes.
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A winning day

Monday, November 28th, 2005

Some days just go right, even if I didn’t fall out of bed until past noon and the sky is as grey as ever.

I’ve got my 60 day visa to Indonesia and will leave tomorrow for Hat Yin, so don’t be sad if I don’t blog tomrrow (it’s a 14 hour bus ride).

And then there’s this:

10,000 words in 2 days. Phew….


Sunday, November 27th, 2005

Hey I know: I only just got here, but cut me some slag. John already knows that I’ve caught an infection or something that has made my left foot swell to about twice the size of the right and hurts oddly, as if the muscles down one side are cramping. This means that instead of whizzing around town I can only hobble along at effectively the walking speed of the locals. This actually does me some good. It meant, however, that I stayed in Rambuttri all today, had my laundry done and wrote over 5500 words of my (abysmal!) NaNovel which I want to finish before hopping on the bus to Hat Yai hopefully on Tuesday. Then I can concentrate totally on blogging. But check out my piccies of the Grand Palace on Flickr in the meantime 😉

As you can see, the weather still hasn’t improved. I need to catch some sun!

Belated Birthday Prezzi

Saturday, November 26th, 2005

OK, so it’s not about travel, but still.

Look what landed in my mailbox on Nov. 24th:

24 November 2005
Anti-nuclear campaigners cheer local councillors
Anti-nuclear campaigners cheered local West Berkshire councillors last night, as the West Berkshire Eastern Area Planning Committee voted to defer a decision on whether to support the Atomic Weapons Establishment’s full planning notice(1) for the controversial Orion laser facility (2).

see full press release and pic at

Bangkok Birthday Bliss

Friday, November 25th, 2005

The evening improved the moment I sat down to eat in a very atmospheric restaurant in a quiet side-street, illuminated by candles and Christmas lights which were strung onto bushes of bamboo. I sat down and looked dreamily at a flame dancing in a pool of oil in front of me, occasionally streaking the soft breeze with a feint skein of smoke. A glitterball hanging over the entrance surrounded me with slowly spining freckles of light and the waiter set a large, ice-cold Chang beer on the cool stone table at which I was sitting. Dido warbled in the background, I’m 41 years old and life was good.

It got better when I relocated to my ‘local’ down the road, dropping by the guesthouse on the way. Just as I started to climb the stairs, I resolved to try some of the delicacies a woman was pushing along in an illuminated trolley. Rather than go all the way up to my room, I stopped on the first floor, quickly visited the bathroom and practically turned on my heels, rushing back outside with just one thought on my mind: Catch up with bug-lady!
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Bangkok Birthday Blues

Thursday, November 24th, 2005

Not really, but the day got off to a bad start after I could not sleep until 3:30 am (again). So the first thing I did, before even jumping on a bus to the Indonesian embassy, was to relocate to a quiet guesthouse on the Soi Ram Buttri—on the fourth floor. Well, it’s about time I got fit!

Just had a green curry in my favourite local ‘restaurant’, here’s the view:

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The Agent

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2005

If I thought Khao San Road looks nothing like the movies then this is because I was not on Khao San Road, I was around the corner. This is Khao San Road:
KhaoSan.jpg KaoSan1.jpg

Travel comes from travail. You will hear it said often on this blog. And today, the labour in travel began with me trying to secure a visum for Indonesia.
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I’m off!

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2005

Here’s a tip: when the plane hits turbulence, do not whip the eyemask off your face, open the shutter and stare straight at the sun. I’m lucky to have retained my vision.

The flight was fine—after all the horror stories I had heard about Royal Jordainian, I was pleasantly surprised. I struck double lucky with the check-in staff as well, a window seat on both legs of the journey. See where a winning smile gets you 😉

Best of all, there were no children on board or if there were, they were amazingly quiet. Perhaps they’ve been gagged. The only downside was that the cabin crew was not very forthcoming with the drinking water. Another tip: don’t lace your water bottle with gin, though that’s a moot point when you have a kid banging against your head rest all the way to Bangkok. I emptied my bottle into the sink, arriving thirsty but refreshed.

Reading my current book (‘The Backpacker’ for a cheesy start to the trip) wasn’t exactly encouraging as the character didn’t find a place to stay in Bangkok. Surely not! He ended up sleeeping in a doorway. I’m not tired of living/looking out to be raped or arrested/willing to have all my belongings stolen, so I just resolved to go upmarket, should the same thing happen to me. For the first night certainly, then look again. There’s always some place to stay.

I have to learn how to be a backpacker again. Three months in SE Asia’s greenhouse await.

Oh, and I’m writing this on the Palm.
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PayPal protects sellers (2)

Thursday, November 17th, 2005

Sent off the laptop and provided PayPal with the tracking number, as requested. Or rather, John sent it off, because I could not find the time (neither can he, but he’s the one with the car). Phew, that’s it.

Er…no. That wasn’t all. How could I have thought otherwise? If I was a sadist, I would rip somebody off on Ebay just to see them suffer going through these steps. How that seller bloke must laugh!

‘In addition to a tracking number, please fax a copy of the receipt that you received when you paid for postage. The receipt should indicate the package’s destination.

Click “Continue” for a fax cover sheet that you can use to submit your receipt. Using this cover sheet helps us process your information more quickly and resolve your claim more efficiently. Please provide this information within 3 days so that we can continue our investigation.’

The cover sheet can only be PRINTED from the site. Without a PRINTER, I have to go into John’s office and log into my PP account from there and hope that it will come up again. It may not come up again.

–Why don’t John and I have a nice, last weekend together (at least the 3 day deadline doesn’t matter, seeing that I’m leaving then)?

My response:
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