Focussed, highly focussed

Photo of Trinn Suwannapha taken on the train returning to central Bangkok from Don Mueng

Just as I’ve decided to leave my detailed travel writing about Thailand until I return to Sydney, ’Pong hasn’t posted much on his website yet — preferring to shoot many, many gigabytes of imagery to edit upon his return. But having looked at some of the raw images, you’re in for a treat.

I shot the image above using my pimple-cam last week, when we caught the train back to central Bangkok after spending six hours (!) hanging about the Don Mueang district government office sorting out his voter registration for the forthcoming Thai general election. How focussed, eh?

Other notes:

  • Don’t let your identity card expire and then leave it for 5 years before trying to renew it.
  • Do the address change and the radical hairstyle change before renewing your card and asking the staff to believe you’re the same person.
  • Even though I was the only farang in the area, ’Pong’s bleached mohawk hairstyle attracted far more attention.

We’re really going to enjoy writing about our journey!

Nothing from Thailand yet

I haven’t been posting from Thailand because I want to absorb the place while I’m here rather than writing. It’s fantastic, though. I love the place — even though it presents a new way of putting my life at risk every day, usually just through using the transport systems provided. High-speed canal boats at night are… insane but somehow just right and Very Thai.

Thailand approaches rapidly

Next week’s trip to Bangkok is taking shape. ’Pong has booked a fine-looking hotel at a mere THB2000 a night (about AUD66). I’ve been chatting with some Thai lads online — and been amused at the assumption that I’m a farang looking for, um more carnal pleasures. [sigh] Such assumptions! They seem to stop when I mention my boyfriend. So, 6 nights in Bangkok and then off to Chiang Mai. Any suggestions for things to do? And no, you can skip Patpong.

Trapped in a bus

Photo: self-portrait of ’Pong through a bus window

12 days to the election, 17 days to Thailand. That’s going to be one amazing transition: election day, hangover day, travel day, then right into the Loy Krathong festival.

’Pong, scouting ahead, is trapped in a broken bus (pictured).

So far he’s only posted images of his arrival in Bangkok (including that aforementioned 3-litre chilled beer dispenser) and now these of a bus journey gone wrong. Not enough bandwidth to upload more, at least not at a decent price.

This impending trip is starting to take on reality for me.

How this ordinary aircraft will change my life

Photograph of Thai Airways International Boeing 747-400 at Sydney Airport

This Boeing 747-400, photographed at Sydney airport last Friday, belongs to Thai Airways International. If you happen to have decent eyesight, you can confirm this by the fact that it has “Thai” painted on the side. Ownership is not about paint, however.

If you paint “Thai” on my side, I do not then become the property of Thai Airways, not even if you’re employed by Thai Airways to do so. Paint is just paint, whereas ownership of property is an abstract concept. A concept which can be supported or asserted by paint or other physical signs, but still an abstract concept which can only be agreed upon by sentient beings.

But what about another concept: nationality?

Nationality is not about paint either. Paint “Thai” on my side if you like. If you use the right brush I might even enjoy it. But I won’t become even remotely Thai. However is nationality something which is just agreed upon? Or is there something essential — in the core meaning of the word, having to do with essence — which makes someone immutably Thai or Australian or Czech or Chinese?

And how does nationality relate to similar concepts, such as ethnicity or race or culture?

I usually don’t think about these categories. The variation within them outweighs the supposed differences. People of every nationality range from amiable to arsehole. However that aircraft — that specific aircraft — has brought it all into focus.

Continue reading “How this ordinary aircraft will change my life”