Saturday, April 20th, 2013 at 5:22 pm
I need to excise stuff.
Firstly I need to excise the the fact I’ve not posted here for 5 months.
A block? I guess so, mostly created and driven by the fact that my life since mid-2012 has been one of constant evaluation of other’s written words, pressure to deliver these words and an increasingly overwhelming panoply of extraordinary images, archival materiel and just stuff that Murray Cammick and I are trying to give some order to — with varying but increasingly pleasing degrees of success. All done under the canopy of an enforced and unhappy physical separation from Brigid (no we have not split — circumstance has put me in a different bed to the girl with whom I’m happily co-dependent, for much of the last six months and it’s bloody hard).
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Tuesday, December 18th, 2012 at 5:31 pm
Mostly this blog — The Opinionated Diner, not this post — is me thinking aloud. Sometimes it has obvious shape and form, other times I perhaps post before I should, and the substance is thin. I’m not sure which of the afore this post is. It may not matter so I’ll continue…
It was about 35 degrees celsius when the above photo was taken, in the capital of one of this world’s largest Buddhist nations — albeit one that celebrates Christmas far more imaginatively (this setting is not part of that descriptor) and spectacularly than any so called Christian nation I’ve been to during the season of goodwill.
This is a tale of a juxtaposition as uncomfortable that image: In a fairly grey and characterless Bangkok through street (it takes you from Charoen Krung to Rama IV), Thanon Surawong, which runs parallel to the major commercial throughfare of Thanon Silom, but has none of that wide boulevard’s hotels, banks, markets (at least not at this end) commerce or fascinating distractions (the 19th Century Chinese cemetery and the large Hindu Temple are but two) sits the Neilson Hays Library.
It’s less than a kilometre from the ugly fleshpots of Patpong, which many visitors somehow think define Krung Thep – they love to hear and repeat stories of the gangsters, knives and threat that supposedly lurks behind the gawdy doors — when in reality mostly it’s a just a tourist driven pit, a kind of Disney World with pole dancing for the the gullible.
Sunday, July 29th, 2012 at 4:38 pm
A truly odd few days.
On the Thursday before last I get an email asking if I can come to New Zealand to consult on a project. Sure - surprised - says I, when? How does Sunday sound. Um, ok — how long for? Five days? Okay…
Ticket arrives on the Friday and it’s Qantas via Sydney. I re-send the email that I sent to earlier: Singapore Airlines or Thai only. I won’t fly Qantas, Malaysian or Air New Zealand, all for reasons of food, comfort and lack of service on a very long flight (okay Air NZ are fine on the service but the food and seating suck badly).
The replacement ticket arrives a couple of hours later — Thai, but leaving within 48 hours.
That’s fine. I buy a few exotic Thai snacks for the parents and head to the airport. At Swampy I get into an argument with the Duty Free store: you can’t take liquids over 100ml on the plane to NZ.
Didn’t I resolve this a month ago? Yes I am — in a sealed bag.
No you can’t. I quickly work out that to staff in King Power Duty Free, New Zealand is a pair of words that simply means ‘a part of Australia - we don’t know exactly where’.
I tell them I’ll take the risk — and the girl sells it to me, then a few seconds later chases me through the airport in tears, pleading with me to go back as she’ll lose her job when Thai Airlines throw me off. I tell her I won’t mention her and if there is an issue I’ll somehow get it back to her.
I leave her sobbing, convinced that I’ll never make it to the city of New Zealand in Australia and that she’s unemployed — and without issue I board TG491.
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