Tuesday, 9 January 2018

The day I «outed» myself from the non-gay closet.


To learn English for a person with another mother tongue, can be very tricky. Because there are so many words which means different things and so many words which sound almost the same. I learn that all the time, and on several memorable occasions with some valuable lessons learned as well.

One of these occasions happened some years ago while I was working on a cruise ship as the ship’s Staff Captain, which is a senior Officer position. It is the Captain’s number two position.
Anyway, we were standing on the Bridge. The Captain, myself, one Senior and one Junior Navigations Officer.  And two deckhands, which of one was the duty quartermaster.
The Captain suggested some kind of social activity he thought we all could participate in. Some sort of Team building, which we did not too often.

One could see that this was an interesting suggestion, and everybody started to think about it. Brainstorming.
Before anyone could reply to the suggestion with their ideas, I raised my arm and proudly stated very loud to everyone present…..I am gay!

Back in those days I was known as a man who always looked for female company.  A Butterfly (to be nice), or a male-slut if you like. So one can only imagine the absolutely stunned silence on the Bridge, and everyone staring at me, wondering why I chose this particular moment to come out of the closet.

I could not understand why they all stared at me like this, until the Captain said…….ehhmmm maybe the Staff Captain means he is “game”?...... And everybody started to laugh.
And me? I had no idea what it all was about. I always thought it was..... I am gay, since the word gay can also mean happy or carefree.

Lessons learned indeed.

Hey! Why is everyone staring at me like that?

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Thailand the first time, part II.

Visit a temple or two is a must the first times.

All right then, we are here, after a long and sometimes a bit stressful trip. With most likely change of flights for most, time differences, all the walking and then waiting at the airports, and the taxi line. Not to forget the memorable first taxi ride through the traffic to the hotel, with a let me guess, a driver who "accidently" took the wrong turn on the highway.
Sounds familiar?  I bet it does.

Some street food late at night.

Finally checked inn to the hotel or have reached final destination, maybe a nap due to the fatigue and the time difference? Or maybe one is just to excited about the fact we are finally here, for the first time, and we want to plan what to do, or just have a walk.
For me it was out early in the evening to have a sightseeing, together with some friends of my colleagues, who were kind enough to show me around. Not only the regular tourist spots, but also the "darker" ones. Which I guess is also kind of tourist spots, come to think about it.
The evening was finished with a meal at one of the street food vendors. You know the ones you used to see basically in every street downtown all cities and towns in Thailand.
And of course, I got constipated.

Careful what you put in your mouth Khun Kai.

I had already been told by friends and colleagues that most people might feel a little reaction to the street food in Thailand. This due to the new bacteria the body needs to deal with in the beginning. I guess we react in different ways. But you get used to it, and you start enjoying all the new types of food and all the new smells and tastes.
Until you have too spicy (hot) food for the first time. That is an experience one hardly forget as well. Oh my God, how spicy some of the food can be in Thailand. And I have had my "out of the body" experiences, as I like to call it. The heart is pounding, you are sweating like crazy, the tongue is almost paralyzed.
Sounds familiar?

 Some new and exotic tastes.

Ok then, off we go on a sightseeing. After all, one must see some of the sights when you first have travelled across the globe, right? And if one have real luck, there is someone you know, or a local guide who speaks very good English, because the locals normally do not understand English, and you do not know a single local word. Right?
Then there are all these new strange customs one must be aware of, since this is a very different culture. It is so easy to step on other peoples culture when one do not know anything about it. But it normally ends well, as soon as one realize a smile goes a long way in Thailand.

A well known sight.

I bet the previous pictures are a well known sight for most people. Who hasn't been to one of the Floating markets around? Unfortunately, if we want to visit one these days, they are basically just a show for tourists.
Same with the Crocodile farms, King Cobra farms, etc.
Of course we can not forget the grand Palace either, another beautify which has been turned into a tourist trap. More pics from that place later.
Don't forget to take off shoes before entering the temples. That can be a hard ordeal for older tourists.

Always a welcome sight the first time.

It is quite incredible how much one wants to cover the first times in Thailand. Several friends of mine were almost exhausted after a trip to Thailand. So many new things to see and new things to do.
Not to forget the islands.
Oh yess, the many islands in Thailand can be almost like heaven on earth. Although these days, less and less are secluded, as mass tourism has arrived to the islands as well.

What is next?

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Thailand, exotic Thailand, for the first time.

Thailand, oh yes, still an exotic destination for many, including myself.

Anyone remember the first time you went to Thailand? I have been 45-50 times inn and out of Thailand, due to my work, but still remember clearly the first time.

With the obligatory T-shirt.

The first you notice after the loooooong flight, is when you leave the air conditioned air-plane, to walk into the jetway, which leads into the terminal. It is for a brief moment absolutely hot as Hell. And then we feel the air con in the terminal again.
Then we start to walk, everyone, like an exodus, walking for a long time. before you line up in front of the passport controls. With sometimes endless long lines.
And as always, there will be some who didn't fill out the arrival card correctly, with the result of a longer wait for the ones behind. Always. Easy to be a bit irritated after such long trip. But it normally goes well in the end.

Looks familiar?

The irritations will soon give way for the more exciting feeling one has, now when we realize we are almost there. One has this feeling of having travelled from far far away, and finally reached the destination. So there we are, a bit impatient, with our passport and arrival card in the hand.
After the stamp, we move towards the conveyor belts to pick up the luggage. And this is always a crowded area with lots of Pax extremely keen to get their luggage as soon as possible. Not knowing whether their luggage comes first or last.

Okie Dokie, we have our luggage, and we move towards the Customs check, through the arrival hall, and towards the taxi area.
And an ocean with people awaits you as soon as you enter the arrival hall. Kind of chaotic.
It feels like some sort of a "gauntlet" with people waiting for friends and relatives, and plenty of people offering you all kinds of nice transportation for not a cheap price. They all offer Limo service, which turns out to not be what most of us are used to when it comes to a Limo. 

Anyone needs a Taxi? I would not use this from the Airport.

Then it is time to get a taxi. Not a Tuk-Tuk, but a regular taxi. Something which used to be an absolute nightmare some years ago. But luckily the authorities learned from years of complaining, and finally implemented a system which works.
Hopefully the driver don't start with the "no meter" talk, which means he wants a fixed rate. A never ending problem with the taxis in Thailand.

Ok, in the taxi and off we go, towards the hotel, or wherever we will stay the first day. And if the taxi is old, one need to tell the driver again and again to please turn up the air condition in the taxi. The waiting in the heat for taxi make you sweat like you never have experienced before. So we sit there pushing our faces towards the fans in the taxi to cool down.
It doesn't take long before it is full stop, and we end up in a traffic jam. Something we learn pretty quickly, is normal in Thailand. Seems like certain areas have heavy traffic 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

A familiar sight in Thailand.

Have a strong feeling everything I have written so far, is a very familiar experience for you who has been to Thailand already.

I bet the next post will be as familiar. 

Heart Attack!

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