Friday, January 04, 2008


Before returning up to the mighty Toon, I had myself a jolly little weekend in our fair nations capital called London (pronounced Loon-doon). My midlands-based counterpart "Sugar" Jon Waters joined me for some heavily clichéd sightseeing. Our prime objective was to find a Greggs to satisfy a 18 month craving for a chicken bake and then see the Queen.

The London Eye.

Saint Stephen's Tower and Jon-zilla in the beautifully overcast LDN weather. Quite the change in climate from the 30ºC sands of Thailand.

We went to see our Lizzy and there was nothing but patriotism from that in front man, someone give him an OBE. It can be for Furniture Services to Nuneaton, or summit. We never did find those chicken bakes mind.

On the saturday I was nicely surprised by my 2 brothers who had been thoroughly scheming and turned up with a bunch of tickets to go and see Newcastle play Fulham - a terrible match which we won 1-0, but was brilliant nonetheless.

Catching up with people in London was great and I managed to see some people that I hadn't seen in years, so a jolly good show all round. Well done sirs, well done.

Flying home for Christmas

Another flight with airaisa's finest took me back to Bangkok, where I had about 6 hours of shopping time to purchase a new wardrobe for a total of about 34 pence stirling. A lot of stuff got sadly chucked, but having clothes that have been worn too much and washed badly for 18 months made them look a tad on the shabby side believe it or not.

For some reason fate seems to dictate that entering and leaving the UK must be made difficult for me. Having psyched myself up for the flight home and prepared in anticipation for the wonderful wintery weather of England, I was told at the airport that my flight with Gulf Air had been moved and blah blah blah, 24 hour delay. Broken record anyone?

So, after another 4 star hotel experience, another session in front on BBC News 24 and an unthinkable amount of smoked salmon from the all-you-can-eat hotel buffet (every cloud right?) I was back at the airport:

Them - I'm sorry sir, but there's been another change with your flight.

Me - What?! Don't start this nonsense again! I demand more smoked salmon!

Them - You're now leaving even earlier and on a direct flight with a better airline. And there are many smoked salmon sandwiches on the flight, on demand, specifically labeled for you.

Me - I suppose that'll have to do.

So instead of a 10 hour sit-in at Bahrain airport I was flying straight to Heathrow and with fancy-dan airline Thai Air no less, result! I always was a bit scepticle with Gulf Air, always wonder if I'd have to flap my arms as well, or sit on a chicken coop at the bare minimum, so winner's dinners all round!

On arrival at Heathrow I was picturing my arrival similar to that of the end of that film "Love Actually", where even the Prime Minister was present specifically to greet me. There'd be a marching band, a bikini parade and cannons would be fired. Sadly, not.

And I've STILL got sand in my shoes...

The last 2 weeks or so of my whole jaunt was spent mainly in one place, Koh Phi Phi. It's pretty much the nicest place on earth to be honest, the perfect place to relax, party it up and get a tan before heading homeward.

Phi Phi is where the beach where they filmed that film The Beach is, so I'm sure if you've seen that you can get jealous.

Whilst here I did my PADI open water course, which is basically a scuba diving qualification which allows you to dive about a lot, so did plenty of dives while here. Saw loads of fish and that, sharks, turtles and reefs and whatnot. All a lot of fun. It's like flying, but underwater, imagine that!

Sadly, Phi Phi was one of the most badly affected places by the 2004 tsunami and is still being slowly rebuilt - a process not helped by the island not having any roads. However, they do have a tsunami evacuation route cleared marked on the island which basically summed up is "leg it up the hill".

There was a lot of this type of nonsense going on, so there was much rejoicing.

Many good times were had on Phi Phi and I was very sad to leave. It's not really difficult to have fun in an island tropical paradise but it was well and truly knocked out of the park, right bru's?