Flight and Festivities
'Walk out to winter...swear you'll be there...cool winds leave you...high and dry...you wonder why...?' sang Roddy Frame in '80s cult classic band Aztec Camera and indeed we did, was and were...
Here we are back in dear old Blighty and things haven't changed much. Only the trees are now threadbare and it's around 4 degrees (or so the accentless Qatarian?? pilot told us anywhere much to the anxiety of several Thai brides on the last leg of our flight home).
It feels weird being back but not as weird as I imagined- we've grown accustomed to life in Thailand and following a horrific 24 hour plus journey door-to-door Chatuchak to Hayes the wrong way round and real jet-lag to contend with 5 months on the other side of the world I can't imagine we'll be up for too many trips home in future. (A winter wonderland experience Christmas 2010 could and should invlove- Shanghai, Beijing, the Great Wall and a final Trans-Siberian Express trip back to Eastern Europe or possibly Moscow for a real Christmas).
It wasn't helped by the 'ignorami' (thanks Pudding) refusing to put their seats in the upright position for even essential mid-flight activities like eating and the Jean-Claude Van Damme lookalike in front might have had his (very tasty, actually) saffron chicken lapdancing for him rather than the hookers he'd just left in BKK if D hadn't managed to move into a spare seat the other side of me just vacated by another nailed-on single Sex Toursist (funny how all the strict Muslim countries provide such an efficient service to the liberal far-east especially for males... The indigenous population, in traditional garb or otherwise as well as those (frankly demented) ex-pat workers that reside in a tax-free haven with virtually nothing to do who I also include in this slightly politically incorrect, and perhaps downright defamatory observation on the male population of Qatar and its surrounding locale...but I'm right, so who cares ;-)) .
Luckily the second leg from Qatar was virtually incident free, only an impossibly difficult middle-eastern staff in Doha refusing to get a move on for all the walking Zombies who were wanting to get some shut-eye desperately as they negotiated the long, long journey backwards in time.
I sound extremely miserable at what should be such a happy time of year, but as the new year comes into view and I'm here in Brum busy typing on someone else's laptop, one can't help reflecting on what the hell we're doing here. Maybe it's the lot of 'the wanderer' who can never really settle, maybe it's because we're not used to all this but we're both painfully aware of how much people are suffering in England at the moment and how unlikely it is that people are automatically going to want to hear about our good fortune on the other side of the world... It's something that ex-pats moan about a lot. But then again they moan about most things and D and I don't feel we fit in over there with the saddos and lonely money-grabbers either.
Perhaps we ought to perpetually circle the globe in our own version of Airforce One never really trying to fit in anywhere. Although the legroom would have to be slightly more roomy than I'm used to and I'd soon get bored of watching endless James Bond films on the enormous film collections in their in-flight schedule they have these days...
We were desperate to come home at the end. Expensive though it is, it seems very much worth it. Family and friends being very welcoming and no doubt will continue to be up in Sheffield (19th-23rd or possibly before) and down in Cornwall (27th-30th) before we embark the right way round this time from Birmingham via 'Emirates' and Dubai on New Year's Day. Although we've got a ton of post and several issues with the usual rigma of banking, finances and organisations to sort out and all I want to do is sleep all the time at the most inappropriate times.
The Thais try their best with Christmas but the rumour that someone spotted Santa on a cross possibly might not be too far fetched. Honestly...
The King's birthday/Father's Day doesn't quite do it for us Brits and although some colleagues were spending time together in Bangers and a few were venturing to Bali and Cambodia and Laos for a very alternative Christmas- most of us were flying home because despite it's commercialism and downright hollow meaning most of the time, there's nowhere quite like home at Christmastime- or so we hope.
Pics will no doubt follow from the triumvate of Brum, Sheff and Cornwall. We've got some essentials to get for ourselves and a few others still on the front line eg- Cider for Gay Gray, Worcester Sauce Crisps for Camp Gary, mags for mucky Hannah (not mucky ones mind you, just trash like Closer etc- which are £4 each in BKK) and Marmite for the Milky Bar Kid.
The Thais don't do Merry Christmas wishes, in fact we weren't allowed proper carols in this PC world we live in and their new year is in April as I've mentioned before- so Khun Joy, our Thai teacher says just say 'Sanuk, Sanuk', which loosely translated means 'have fun' or 'enjoy life'. Although I mentioned it to the gay Science technician and his 'fag hag' before we left and they looked at me like I was suggesting they would have fun together! Not possible when 70% of young males are allegedly gay and 40% of young women are within the different degrees of lesbianism in this strange world we inhabit for most of the year...
So I'll leave you with that thought and Happy Christmas and Happy New Year to you if we don't see you before. See you on the other side.