What I meant to say was ‘Here we go again’ and talk about Hong Kong. Mind you, now that I think about it, there are not nearly as many earwigs about as there were when I was a chiseler. They seemed to be everywhere then. Lift up a box or a bag and a few earwigs would scuttle away. When you got too near to them, they lifted up their pincers in a threatening fashion. I didn’t like them at all. Once I found one in the marmalade and it put me off marmalade for ages. My brother, Cormac, once found one in a forkful of boiled cabbage he was about to eat. It was dead of course, the earwig, that is. Nothing, not even the invertebrates living a few kilometres deep under the sea around an underwater volcano could withstand the boiling to deathness of Irish cabbage. I don’t thing Cormac ate boiled cabbage again for years. There was something vaguely disgusting about earwigs with their scuttling around, their semi-translucent bodies and of course the fear that they would crawl into your ear and burrow out through the other one. Really put me off them.
What the hell am I going on about bloody earwigs for? See what you’re making me do!! Back to Hong Kong or more truthfully, on the way to Hong Kong.
I’m actually halfway there at the moment. I’m writing this sitting in a really cool, both aesthetically and temperature-wise, 5 Star hotel in the middle of Bangkok waiting for my hotel room to be ready. I caught a redeye flight from Abu Dhabi (always wanted to say that) and it arrived in this morning at 7am. We left Dublin yesterday, the 16th, at 9:15am and arrived in Abu Dhabi early evening local time. The flight was just over 7hrs long and just bearable; any longer and I’d have screamed. The departure from Dublin left a bit late but made up for it by going faster. Neat trick! There was a short stopover in Abu Dhabi and then onto another flying chicken coop and another 6 hours to Bangkok. This flight left about an hour late but made up for half of this by doing the flying faster thing again. We arrived in Suvarnabhumi airport at around 7:30am local time. Did the whole immigration and baggage collection thing without any hassle and queues were fairly short. No sweat to an old Asia hand like meself. The sweat comes later!
When you see adverts on the eejitbox (TV) or magazines for flying they always seem so sophisticated and über cool. The reality is very different. Packing the maximum number of people into the minimum of space has consequences on comfort and general levels of irritability and stress. Not to mention the fact that you’re hurtling through the air several kilometres high above safe old Mother Earth at a fearsome rate of knots with the outside temperature so freezing that’s it’s almost as cold as a politician’s heart. And all this in a tiny tube of tinfoil farting out blasts of burnt air. Brrr.
I suppose that like most things in life, the experience depends on the interpretation the mind makes of the situation. I was determined that nothing would get me down so the journey from Dublin to Bangkok was interpreted by my mind as experience and therefor educational and enjoyable and with meaning. And so it was.
It’s now the next day, Saturday morning. I’m sitting in a coffeeshop having iced green tea. Very Bangkok, this. I spent yesterday rambling around and revisiting old haunts and finding a few new ones. The weather was very hot, as you might expect. According to the weather report last night, super typhoon Nangha is having an effect on the whole Western Pacific region so not as hot as usual and a bit overcast. Perfect for a beigey-pink with brown-bits-on European like meself. My factor 50 and super tropical hat are just waiting to go….
I didn’t sleep much on the flight from Abu Dhabi to Bangkok, just fitful naps here and there as they kept feeding us and making announcements. I had a brief nap in the afternoon in the hotel for about 90mins. I slept from 11pm last night until 9:30am this morning and woke up feeling refreshed and with the hope that jet lag will be fairly minimal, as it usually is for me.
Catching up with a friend I used to work with in Ko Chang 2 years ago. He’s now works in Bangkok doing the same job I’ll be doing in Hong Kong. Later on, I’ll be meeting some friends of Bill W.
Great being back in Asia again. When I left here 2 years ago, I never thought I’d set foot in the place again. This wasn’t because I had anything against Asia, far from it. It was because I thought that the confluence of events in my life led back to Ireland and possibly a holiday in Europe or the USA to attend an AA roundup. I had no plans to go to Asia. Well, want to hear the gods laugh? Tell them your plans. The gods, in a bountiful moment, added another stream to my life confluence. When the gods speak, who am I to argue?
I remember how I was the first time I was in Bangkok and how strange it all seemed. Now, I have an outline map of life in Thailand as well as a sense of the place of things; how things are in relation to themselves and not so much my interpretation of how they are and certainly not based on an idea of how they should be. This is constantly changing as I learn more about the culture, my response to that culture and my own interleaved and developing schemas and cognitive distortions. It’s an interesting mix.
I suppose I’m lucky that my reaction to change is embracing and not repulsing. I love the feeling of butterflies in my stomach when I do something new. I know that others facing the same situation might experience this as anxiety and I know some who would experience extreme panic at the prospect of such radical change. This leaves me to believe that I might find death easy and will let go without too much stickiness. However, I’m quite content to have this as a long-term research project.
It’s now 5pm on Saturday afternoon and I’m sitting in another cafe having another iced tea and contemplating going back to the hotel for a nap before I venture out again for a meal and an AA meeting at 8:30. I spent the time since the last entry rambling around and letting myself get lost. I bought a little camera before I left. It’s a Lumix with a Leica lens and x60 zoom. It even has WiFi and GPS and is so small that it fits in the palm of my hand. It just takes 1 second or so to fire up from the touch of the On button. I’ve been walking around and taking photos of street scenes. It’s amazing how much you see when you’re looking! Having a camera viewfinder in my mind’s eye lets me see much clearer and with greater focus. I still haven’t figured out how to take photos unobserved and in a sensitive as well as an ethical, respectful and responsible manner. Maybe there’s an app for that.
Off to Chiang Mai tomorrow morning so back to Suvarnabhumi airport at 10am for a 12:30 flight. The will be a car waiting at the airport in Chiang Mai to take me to my hotel and a scooter waiting for me at my hotel to get me around. Not bad, eh?
I read somewhere that there are centipedes in Hong Kong who would scare the bejesus out of any earwig. They are venomous and have a nasty bite. They are aggressive and attack when threatened. As they like to cuddle up close and personal to people in bed, I guess that a big human rolling over on them would be perceived as a threat. Their venom is more like that of a snake than an ant or a bee and causes extreme pain and damage to tissue. Apparently. Thinking about it again, earwigs aren’t that bad, really.
Like the tender and delicate flower I am, I’m beginning to wilt now.