Saturday, November 5, 2011

From Chiang Mai to Australia

From Chiang Mai to Australia  (23rd – 28th October)

THAILAND FLOODS

It’s been three WHOLE days since we landed on Australian soil...we left with very mixed emotions, and that’s not taking into account dodging the flooding in Bangkok. For those living in, or keeping a close eye on, Thailand, the feelings have been mixed, if not angry at times. There have been many discussions across the blogging world about the ‘what ifs’ and ‘if onlys’. The fact is that this was and is a flood of phenomenal proportions. I don’t think anyone was or could have been prepared for its enormity.

The way we might handle such a national disaster in our birth land, could be much different to the way Thailand chooses to approach this catastrophe. I joked with a friend in Chiang Mai, when the river Ping was flooding (she was high and dry), who couldn’t swim.

“Just get a couple of empty 2 litre milk bottles and use them as floaties.” and re-enacted how LJ used to swim (flap) around the pool as a toddler...it seems I wasn’t that far off. Kidding aside, looking at the sand bagging efforts in central Bangkok, the inner city residents did not seem as concerned as I was.

I did have the pleasure of meeting up with an email pen-pal of mine while there. A very educated man (engineer) and assistant managing director for a large construction company. We got chatting about the floods and ‘who was to blame’, if anyone. I mentioned the sandbags, or lack of, in my hotel area and he (not verbatim, but extremely accurately) said “Thai’s don’t prepare...when they see the water coming up the street, they might move...or, not...or if the flood is coming into there house...They live in the present.”

Whether it's possible to make such a broad sweeping statement or not, remember I’m only the messenger!

LEAVING THAILAND

Most people write a list of what they’ll miss and what they won’t miss, but I’ll try not to go down that track. But, but, but.... Before we left Chiang Mai, Stray and I did ask each other what we would miss about Thailand, and I replied I wasn’t sure. He did point out that the $2 a week laundry fee would be hard to beat. And, I will certainly miss my fruit being pre-cut for me, the smiley 7-11 boys offering to open my large bottle of beer in-store (accompanied by a straw), the many friends I’ve made during my stay there...some still there and some who have moved on. Stray will surely miss his teaching and students...and massages. But, for every *thing* I’ll miss, there’s something to look forward to back home... especially working, to save the money for the next adventure.

The long part of the trip back home, from Kuala Lumpur to Gold Coast, was pleasant. Avoided (after a light dinner, inflating of a blow up neck pillow, snuggling under a sarong, come blanket) with the aid of a sleeping tablet. My first try and I highly recommend it. Never battered an eyelid until I heard the breakfast cart coming down the aisle.

ARRIVING HOME

We didn’t (quite) have to machete our way back into our yard, so that was a plus. CJ, less 20 odd kilos, looking just wonderful, and grandpumpkin met us at the airport, then chauffeured us to our house where frozen home cooked meals awaited us. Shortly after, my trusty steed (small car) was delivered back to me by its foster parents (thanks Dad and Mum) looking better than I’d left him. Not to mention an esky or two of food, cheese! ham! and drinks...wine...WINE...RED and WHITE WINE...made in AUSTRALIA!

Getting in my own wheels and taking off, wherever, whenever, would have to be on the list of ‘biggest things I’ve missed in Oz', along with being able to drink water straight from a tap. However, I did feel out of sorts staring at the fruit today in our local store. Grapes $17.00 per kilo and nectarines, not much less. Nup!

And then, there was using my bank card at the shop. I had acquired a new one before leaving Australia and wasn’t sure if I’d remembered the PIN number correctly...and evidently, had not. A long (on hold) call to the bank is in order tomorrow.

Back in May, we received word that our house had been invaded by ‘termites’. A word synonymous to ‘cancer’, if it were in the human context. The deluge earlier in the year had no doubt driven the little critters indoors, away from the hundreds of more appetising trees on our property. It’s now October, and they’ve just apparently been halted, killed, exterminated. If it hadn’t been for CJ and her partner listening, touching, poking and crumbling off bits off our house, it would have been in much worse shape than it is. Still, they’ve eaten a path from the rear, through a staircase, in between floors, inner wall and door/window frames, to the front.

So, for now, it’s clean up, settle down, repair and back to work time.

Snap's other blog Chiang Mai Thai

10 comments:

Martyn said... Best Blogger Tips

Snap - I'm glad to read you got home safe and sound...I must try a sleeping pill next flight as I'm a terrible sleeper on aeroplanes.

Saving up for the next trip...that's got a familiar ring to me.

Snap said... Best Blogger Tips

@Martyn I'm not (usually) an advocate of sleeping pills, but I dislike long sleepless flights even more.

If only spending money took as long as it did to save it!

Martyn said... Best Blogger Tips

@Snap

This is slightly off topic but anyhow...I've just read your Trip Advisor review about Doi Inthanon, my tour was exactly the same as yours. I even have some identical photos. We paid 1,000 baht each as well. A thoroughly enjoyable tour.

Snap said... Best Blogger Tips

@Martyn We really enjoyed Doi Inthanon and recommend it to everyone...apart from the beautiful surrounds, it's a nice change from the heat.

Kellie/Nick said... Best Blogger Tips

Welcome home. I am one week away from landing back in Brisbane. I to will have mixed feelings about leaving the Middle East and coming home. As for the price of fruit OMG thats insane - Bananas here are 5SAR/kg which is $1.25 AUD/kg. We are on the look out for our next adventure...

dikvipreal said... Best Blogger Tips

Thank you for sharing.

Snap said... Best Blogger Tips

@Kellie/Nick you have a long haul home to Brisbane...consider the sleeping tablets ;) The cost of food is something you have to adjust to again, quite different than Thailand where food is cheap for everyone.

I'm looking forward to seeing what you get up to in your next adventure!

Snap said... Best Blogger Tips

@dikvipreal You're welcome.

Ben Shingleton said... Best Blogger Tips

Good luck with the move back Snap! Me and Nan dream of visiting Oz sometime in the future! Enjoy - Ben

Snap said... Best Blogger Tips

@Ben Shingleton Thanks and remember, Thailand is not that far from Oz. Even closer if one flies pov class on Air Asia ;)