So, back in April, I went to Thailand. Over the course of the trip I wrote notes, and then entirely failed to post them. This is an attempt to correct this.
28th April, Flight out
(Notes from the plane)
So it turns out that everything ever said about airline food is accurate.
Forty years of computer game development means I can now play multi-player Pong at 40k feet against my brother. And lose.
Interestingly, the in-flight screens are all running some linux variant. I know this because svgamode segfaulted. Things that change, things that stay the same…
29th April, Grand Residence
For some definition of this morning, this morning I woke up in Paddock Wood, Kent. I repacked, and then eventually we got in a taxi towards Heathrow.
At Heathrow, we checked in, laughing merrily at the screaming children in front of us, and joking at the possibility of sharing a flight with them (note, foreshadowing)
We passed inspection and security, and spent a few hours wandering around Heathrow looking for Stuff. having found Stuff, we also found Lunch and from there our boarding gate and plane.
Thirteen hours on a plane is a while. Thirteen hours on a plane to Thailand is ages. Ninteen hours, specifically. Leaving at nine, local time, we arrived at four, local time, during which I watched the first half of two movies and slept a lot.
Stepping out of the airport into Bangkok is like when you step out of a shop with air conditioning, and they have this down-draft of hot air to insulate it from the outside world. It’s like that, but the downdraft never stops coming. The humidity is like rain, the heat oppressive like a thousand governments, and the taxis to the hotel are late. Or ours were. Eventually we got here, wandered around like lost tourists for a while before drinking Thai beer and Thai food, followed by duty free vodka and mixers, until tiredness took us and we went to bed.
30th April, Ramayana
Early this morning my phone, which I still haven’t taught important information about holidays, woke me up at 6:30. I fought with the increasing likelihood of reality for a while until I gave up and subjected myself to the doubtful pleasures of the insipid shower facilities my room offered. Apparently I could have water pressure and broiling, or a nice shower in a mild drizzle.
International toilet facilities are always a fascinating subject, and here a new concept entered my sheltered world: The self-access bidet. The loo came with stern instructions on the inadvisability of putting toilet paper down it and a small, white, directed mid-pressure hose with a trigger. Now, I can see the advantages, and even the ways in which visitors to our remote little British isles would consider it a far more sanitary alternative than paper. However, from a purely cultural imperialist point of view, it’s different and therefore bad.
Breakfast was supplied as ham and egg and toast and jam with a side salad. There were no options on that, though you had the options of coffee or (dreadful) tea. Vegatarians didn’t get much of a choice, though I suppose they get the toast and side salad.
I’m going to stop talking about the heat now, although you can probably take it as a given. Anywhere we are outside is going to be oppressively hot, anywhere inside relievingly air conditioned unless otherwise mentioned. I’m not melting as badly as I feared, but most of these few days have been short trips in oppressive humidity between air-conditioned hotels and even more air-conditioned transport arrangements. After a brief and minor panic over where our taxi driver was, we wandered down to Koh Chang, picking up my brother and his fiancee on the way.
Both taxis we’ve taken so far have had an interesting arrangement, which I’ll briefly digress into. Normally, I’m used to taxis as they work at home, central dispatch, driver with Opinions, arrange cost in advance or pay on arrival. Here, the taxi driver appears to exist in a parallel universe which we can see into but not interact with, whilst all communication between them and this “reality” is handled by their agent (both female, although data is short) who sits beside them. I haven’t detected any romantic relationship between any of them so far, but I do wonder how common it is. Also, our taxi appeared to have the fuel economy of a small child with a petrol-filled water-gun, and limped from gas station to gas station apparently as the driver saw them.
Around four hours later, after a pretty ferry trip, we arrived on Koh Chang.
We’re staying at Ramayana on the island of Koh Chang for a few days for the Idilic Holiday part of our trip. I have a cottage. It has hard-wood floors, dark stained hardwood furniture, and generally has an air of tropical chic far beyond my usual standard. It also has aircon, under which I’m hiding. I’m writing this on a sun-dappled balcony surrounded by healthy forest (there was a “Don’t feed the monkeys” sign on the way in, which is promising)