Musings while waiting at the airport

These last few days have been very busy, so I did not find much time to be on-line.

It seems that the last days before I leave on vacation always brings a sudden awareness to my colleagues that in the next three weeks they will have to do without me. Not that I am that indispensable, they can do perfectly without me because I have trained my little monkeys very well. But anyhow, there was a steady parade of colleagues in front of my desk, all taking the opportunity to ask me for some guidance in one or other file. It almost seemed that they feared I would disappear of the face of the Earth and never return to the office.

But that is already behind me now. Presently I am at the airport waiting for the flight to Thailand. ETIHAD has granted me “silver” status which gives me access to their lounge so I can write this post in all comfort, with a cup of tea and some croissants and chocolate pastries. Yes, I like living it rough.

This time I managed to keep my luggage to a minimum: one big backpack of 17 kg. My total weight allowance is now 35 kg so I am not even halfway. I also have one small backpack as a carry-on with my tablet computer, e-reader, camera and GPS. I only have one book with me this time. I mean one “paper” book because I have a few hundred books in my KoBo e-reader and it still has room for a many hundred more. There is very little chance I will run our of things to read.

English: Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun), Bangkok, T...

English: Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun), Bangkok, Thailand (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Abu Dhabi will be my first but brief stop. Barely enough time to switch planes and fly on to Bangkok. In Bangkok I will stay for the weekend. No real plans to do something. Perhaps I go and visit a client or otherwise go to one of the parks and spend some time outside (in the shadow of course) or maybe go to Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn) on the other side of the Chayo Praya river.

Next Monday I will take the early morning bus to Ban Saeng and meet up with my lovely Thai girlfriend and her equally cute daughter. I do hope they will like the presents I have for them: real Belgian chocolates!

Good times ahead!

The last weekend before I leave on vacation. That means lots of chores and things to do:

  • Getting a haircut (so I somewhat resemble my passport photo again),
  • Doing some clean-up in the house,
  • Packing my bags (don’t forget to put in the chocolates and presents)
  • Loading my e-reader with some more books (it is a looooong flight to Thailand)
  • Print-out the boarding passes (if already available on the airline‘s website) and hotel reservations
  • Charging my stock of rechargeable batteries (for the camera, the GPS, the headphones)
  • Charging and updating the tablet computer
  • Activate my ATM cards for South East Asia
  • Stocking up on cat food so Hobbes will have nothing wanting during my absence
  • Applying for a e-visa to Cambodia so we can go and visit Angkor Wat
  • Thousand other things I cannot remember now, but which will wake me up in the middle of the night
English: All Seasons Place, Bangkok, Thailand ...

Bangkok, Thailand (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thursday morning will see me boarding the flight to Thailand. A few days in Bangkok to acclimatize and loose my Western attitudes and then on Monday I will take the bus to Bang Saen to meet my loved ones. The first few days we will spend some time with my darling’s parents and her brother, visiting some nearby sights, then we will go to Ko Si Chang for some nice and quiet island time!

From hot to cold

English: Royal Thai Embassy in Singapore taken...

Royal Thai Embassy in Singapore (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After spending two weeks in Thailand and Singapore and enjoying the hot climate there, I am now trying to keep warm during this cold spell here in Belgium. And no Thai girlfriend here to keep me warm at night. 

I can hardly believe that it will be spring in one weeks time. Please, can someone inform Nature it is time to set the thermostat to some more balmy temperatures?

 

Ready to go!

English: Provincial seal of Phuket province. ไ...

Provincial seal of Phuket province.(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The luggage is packed, the last administrative tasks are done, the cat has received an extra hug and we will go to sleep early tonight (well, not really as early as intended).

Tomorrow the plane is scheduled to leave Brussels Airport at 10:50 and with a short stop in Abu Dhabi will deliver me to the Land of Smile, Thailand.

This time it is a business trip, but I will see my beloved next week.

First stop however is Phuket where I will speak at a seminar. Then it is back to Bangkok where I will spend some happy time with my Thai girlfriend, visit my colleagues in the Bangkok office and also meet some clients.

Finally it is off to Singapore for more work, client visits and talks to give.

One week has passed

One week has passed since my lovely Thai Girlfriend has flown to Europe to meet me. Last Wednesday I picked her up at the Brussels Airport and drove her home to my place.

Since then we have been visiting Antwerp and the surrounding area. She has been making me wonderfully tasty Thai food and I have made some Belgian food for her. We really match together very well.

Today we visited the “Kalmthoutse Heide“, which is a heath area in the north of Antwerpen, close to the Dutch border. We had a lovely walk together and despite the rain, she liked it very much.

Heath of Kalmthout (Kalmthoutse Heide) from wa...

Heath of Kalmthout (Kalmthoutse Heide) from watchtower. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tomorrow I have to be back in the office for one day, but I will rush home to sample the lunch made by my darling.

 

Exciting times and happy coincidences

These last months have been far too busy. No rest for the wicked it seems!

Several business trips abroad, some major projects in the office, people on vacation, … Of all my plans to take it easy and do some fun projects, next to nothing got done. And my wish to blog regularly got totally sidetracked.

pc power supplies

The final resting place of all pc power supplies (Photo credit: k0a1a.net)

Then my desktop PC at home expired, like in “suddenly stopped working”: no sound, no lights, no nothing. I diagnosed it as a dead power supply. Actually, it was more of a lucky guess as I have limited hardware knowledge.

Anyhow, time to buy a new desktop PC and a new power supply, so I can recycle my old desktop PC into a new Ubuntu-server. Lucky I did, because a few weeks after installing my new desktop PC, my old server died as well. Yeah, another dead power supply. It seems these power supplies are made to last for about 5 years of continuous use.

Of course transferring the old files to my new desktop PC took a while and then reinstalling my Ubuntu server took even longer. But now my email works again, the automated backups run nightly and my music-server pipes mp3 files all through the house at my command.

And in between I managed to save the world in “Deus Ex – Human Revolution“. I had to test the capabilities of my new  desktop, didn’t I?

What more “exiting” things happened?

Well, my Thai girlfriend will apply tomorrow for her visa to come and visit me in Belgium. I hope the visa procedure runs smoothly, it sure takes much paperwork to try to convince the powers-that-be.

And speaking of powers and coincidences, my old friend from university has just been appointed to become Belgium’s next Ambassador in Thailand. So if the visa procedure does not run as smoothly as expected, perhaps I can apply to His Excellency?

It is all about respect.

During my recent travels in Thailand with my lovely Zai, we visited the temple complex of Wat Yannasang Wararam Woramahawihan.

There are different temples here and one nice stupa. The photo shows the entrance to this stupa. As is usual in Thailand (and many other countries) one takes of one’s shoes before entering.

Entrance to the stupa at Wat Yannasang Wararam Woramahawihan

Entrance to the stupa at Wat Yannasang Wararam Woramahawihan

Just before we arrived, a group of Chinese tourists entered and they all (none excepted!) managed to drop their shoes in front of the door, none using the storage space provided left and right of the door!

Inside the stupa, their guide provided some commentaries in a rather loud voice. I do not know if it is perhaps a property of the Chinese language but it seems that it always sounds rather loud. Or perhaps the guide just had to shout because the majority of his flock, paid no attention what he was saying and happily carried on their conversations (again in a rather loud voice).

Then, when we were making merit in front of the altar on the upper floor, the group of Chinese tourists entered this room as well (and none too discretely) and tried to walk in front of us, in other words, between us and the altar.

Now it may very well be that none of these Chinese were Buddhists, but even an atheist (as myself) knows that it is simply not done to cross between someone paying respect at an altar and the altar. I am sure that these Chinese know that very well, but they simply did not care.

My lovely Zai made an angry face at these tourists and told them to move behind us. I am not sure whether they understood any Thai, but the meaning of what she said surely came across and they walked behind her.

And this is not the only incident we had with groups of  Chinese tourists: generally they are loud and show no respect. I really wonder if they act the same in their own country or whether they only do so when abroad.

Back Home

I have returned home after a short vacation in Thailand.

10 days, it is not enough really, but still it did me loads of good. Spending some time with my loved one recharged my batteries.

A few days in Bangkok and then I took the night train to Khon Kaen and a taxi to Maha Sarakham where I met up with Zai.

Zai, my loved one, in her government uniform

She received her “Master of Education Research” diploma from the hands of the Royal Princess Siridhorn. A big honour indeed!

After all this protocol, we still had a few days left to spend time together and travel around with her daughter Korya. More pictures of this all can be found on my photo website.

I am really blessed to have met Zai. She is so sweet and kind and always full of good ideas!

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