Airports

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A “true” resort

Day 1: Long and so tedious. But we endured, because at the end of the road is apparently clear aquamarine sea, white sand and paradise unnamed. The flight was uneventful. But the boarding procedure was filled with well-dressed (if not overly so) Koreans, Japanese and Chinese with tons of branded shopping bags and fur coats – someone was even eating a whole cheesecake like a hamburger – , soon to be sweltering under the humid heat of the Maldives. A guy from the Czech republic stood waiting for TC and me, ushered us to the domestic terminal a couple of steps away and said goodbye, presumably to do the same for...

Bruised, battered, victorious

The travel companion (TC) finally tells me – on the way to the airport – that Bali has been, on hindsight, quite an enjoyable experience. It helps that we’ve both passed the different dive courses we’ve signed up for, even though we’ve been bruised, battered and badly cut in the process. For that I’m thankful, even if we’ve spent most of our time shopping at Guardian pharmacy (TC simply bought more and more bottles of shower gel and muscle ache packs for god knows what reason) and eating at the same Italian place more times than I can count. We’ve finally trudged along Sanur’s beachfront walk, done the obligatory shopping and rub-downs...

Workmen x Snow x Airport

I ended up getting sent to the Tromsø airport by a workman. My short journey to the bus stop was timed so all I had to do was to wait for bus no. 42 to come. A slew of heavy vehicles salting the road and clearing the snow however, meant that a diversion was put up just at the junction I was waiting just about a minute later. To my horror, the bus I was supposed to be taking went merrily on its way in another direction as the workmen waved the vehicles to the left instead of straight. Panicking, I considered walking back to the hotel – any hotel!...

Through the fog and mist

Many, many hours after I checked out of the hotel, I find myself in my own bedroom trying to recall the last hours I spent in Lake Akan and Kushiro. I draw a blank, mostly because tiredness and jet lag addle my memory, but also because I think I didn’t do very much at all even with the aimless driving around. Exploring the Kushiro Marshland was a total washout, quite literally so, when the most I could see was a few metres ahead. Kushiro city itself looked drab and grey in the early afternoon light. In desperation to pass the time, I decided that looking at cranes was in order...

(Not) missing you at all

On our last day in Hong Kong, we hailed a taxi yesterday morning to get to the airport at 7.30 am. The driver was in the middle of making his own instant noodles (hot water, packets of seasoning all in the basket) when he stopped his vehicle. He drove to the airport while eating his noodles, stopping before he entered the expressway to Lantau island to finish his breakfast, then flung everything – the bowl, chopsticks and remaining noodles – out of the window. Free of his breakfast burden, he expansively swerved the tiny taxi into various lanes while pushing 120 km/hr, wobbling to pick his nose hard then rubbing...

Pans and injuries

In the time that I’ve been away, I’ve managed to: scrap the knees and shin on the same leg twice, cracked half a toenail, somehow contract an infection of a nail cuticle (probably caused by hang nail) that made the finger swell, got a gash across my hand from the toilet door (!), grew numerous blisters and ankle bruises from walking too much, suffered a mild heatstroke and a sunburn on the face in the Australian sun. Also got my hiking shoes ripped good, tore some other parts of my clothes. The maladies of travel, as small as they are, remind me that I’m still partly enjoying myself and still...

An eternity in …

An eternity in hell, I swear, is akin to sitting for an interminably long time in a plane to goodness-knows-where. Forget the fire, brimstone and the false preachers folks, the aeroplane, the A380, the 777…cattle class, coach, economy, is the new hell. An eternity in the plane later with no sleep and a rushed stopover in Sydney, the sprawling city of Auckland came into view as a series of inlets and bays that have cut deep into the land, housing what appears to be a sizeable Asian and Polynesian population. Tired and jet-lagged (accompanied with the typical symptoms of gritty eyes, a generally bad disposition and stinky armpits), there was very little...

Shifts and re-thinks

The first days after returning are always hard (I got back a few days ago after spending an abysmal time in the plane); perhaps it’s what many people jokingly mean when they talk about having a holiday to recover from their holiday. It’s more than physical tiredness; it’s a narrative of my own life that I’ve always needed to revise each time. I’ve noticed some sort of cognitive shift that always happens each time I return after some time away; there’s always a sense of overwhelming tiredness and jet-lag (that could be combated using Melatonin). More than time difference, there’s also a cultural re-think and reshaping that the mind’s got to...

From the Blue Lagoon to the Alsatian flats

A 12-hour journey that began at 4am in the morning in Grindavik, Iceland’s Blue Lagoon clinic ended on a whimper (literally) in Strasbourg, a city sitting at the edge of the German border, tiring enough to erase a near-perfect day yesterday spent in the Blue Lagoon and soaking up the silica mud. We joined busloads of tourists for the 45-minute shuttle from Reykjavik, driving to snow-covered lava moss with the distinct advantage of staying over at the clinic for a night – which simply meant we got free entrance into the Lagoon and more time to dally. Situated 5-10 minutes walk down a winding path from the actual building through flammable...