My bags are packed, I'm ready to go...
Except we haven't received the payment yet to enable me to book my flights, a condition of me doing the trip. So I am left waiting, unable to plan anything, twiddling my thumbs. I have decided to spend some time updating our literature, a job that is easily interrupted, but I hate this feeling of not being able to plan, of everything being last minute. I like to be organised, especially for long haul trips.
I make to-do lists; it organises me and makes a mountain of work seem achievable. Even small tasks are there, as a reminder, but also for the achievement of putting a line through them when they are done. Book hotel, done, update some website page, done, check on train services to Philadelphia from JFK, sort of done but maybe a taxi is easier (especially after a 30 hour journey), test new DP3 card, not yet.
The trip is a waste of time to my mind anyway. The company bought this product 3 years ago and only now are testing it against a tight deadline. And as it is a custom design I haven't worked on it for 3 years either. But they are not the sort of company to accept no as an answer. I mean I could say no, but we wouldn't get paid for the additional changes they asked for and they will not go away. No, best to just go, get it done with and I won't need to speak to them again. And they are paying me an hourly rate for the trip so we won't be out of pocket.
We have been without water for 36 hours, the first time for a long time that it has disappeared for so long. We actually got close to emptying one of our large buckets and half emptied the other one. It dribbled back into life Saturday night, and I mean dribble, it took two hours to refill the empty bucket. This morning, after a day of near normal pressure, it appears to be disappearing again. It is only a mild inconvenience, we have the buckets for just that purpose, but how much effort would it be to send a van around announcing this, or put some flyers up, just so we could prepare a little. And if you complain when you next pay your bill, well you just get a shrug of the shoulders and some excuse about necessary maintenance work.
On Friday I went to get my re-entry permit for this trip. It is a straightforward thing to get, I have copies of the form here, one photo and 1000 baht for a single entry. Except today there was no-one in the office. I mean no-one. But the office wasn't shut. We went and sat down and surveyed the piles of passports and applications left on the desks. A cleaner came in and switched on the air conditioning for us. They are at lunch, she explained, a celebration lunch as some student officers were leaving today. One man returned at 1.30p.m., a man I had seen before and who I liked. Ploy immediately took my application and pushed it towards him. But too late. Another Thai man pushed his bunch of four passports in first. Others, seeing this then did the same. At no point did he ask anyone to wait or take their place in the queue. Queue? Oh, yes, they have the number system there and we had our number, number 1, which seemed suspicious because it was early afternoon already. Others hadn't bothered to take a number and in any case there were different colour numbers for different applications (and to be fair, this man wasn't at the desk for re-entry permits). Others returned, including what I presumed to be the students, but they all huddled at the back of the office chatting. The man was fast disappearing under the weight of applications and now he was also answering the telephone. Finally the Lop Buri dragon woman appeared. It was 2.15p.m. Once she sat down the others also took their places at their desks and some sort of normality returned. We left the office at 3.p.m. Including the trip there and a quick lunch on the way up, (a delicious Pad Thai at a restaurant that only offers various Pad Thai dishes), we had been gone 5 hours to get a stamp in my passport that took about 10 minutes to do once he found our application amongst all the others.
Unable to really settle on anything I decided to pack up work early yesterday and I made myself a pork stew. Ploy was in Bangkok again visiting her company headquarters for a meeting and the day was quite grim as a tropical depression Gaemi approached (if still being 28degC outside can be called grim), so comfort food seemed the order of the day.
I sauteed some sliced onions in a heavy bottomed pan and added some sliced garlic (about 5 cloves). When they were soft I then added bite sized pieces of pork fillet, stirring until they were browned on the outside. I then added a generous handful of oregano, black pepper, three bay leaves, a little salt and a splash of tabasco. I chopped one carrot and one potato into small cubes and stirred into the pot. I then added one tin of chopped tomatoes and the same tin filled with water and a dollop of tomato puree. I then simmered this for about 30 minutes. I should have served it with garlic toast but I didn't because I didn't think of it until it was too late and I was too lazy to make it.
But it was a nice dinner, accompanied by a DVD of Scary Movie 4 which made me smile a couple of times (what is it with all this rap music in the Scary Movies), then the Tokyo G3 concert, and Ploy came home earlier than usual too so we could chat a bit, play with Pinky, I finished my beer and we had an early night.
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