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  1. #1
    Thailand Expat
    Mendip's Avatar
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    Another lockdown… another commute

    Well, I couldn’t call it another ‘post lockdown’ work commute because a year later we’re now in a strict lockdown in Korat with curfew, the lot... nothing 'post' about it. Who’d have thought things would get so much worse. Makes you wonder what things will be like a year from now.

    I wasn’t planning on doing another ‘work commute’ tread but have changed my mind. There may be some useful tips from my experiences of international travel during this awful pandemic, but I doubt it. The main reason I’m doing it again is that last time the thread seemed to generate some interest but mainly because it helped to keep me sane as quite simply, I enjoyed doing it. Life as a contractor away from home presents a lot of time to fill and what better way to keep yourself occupied than by writing a load of crap when you’re off shift.

    Around this time last year I left home once the Thai borders were opened, after spending the entire year in Korat, for a six week offshore trip in northern Norway. I eventually returned home in January this year after working for 6 months straight offshore Norway followed by onshore in Gothenburg, Sweden.

    How I would love to go back to 4 or 6 week rotations… it keeps the money trickling in and time away is short enough to keep in touch with the family and keep the daughter on the right track but not too long home to allow the missus to drive me mad. But that is just not feasible with quarantine restrictions and the difficulty of travel under Covid. These long trips are not fair on my daughter and to be honest they’re not fair on me… but Covid has turned this work upside down.

    So, this year’s commute is starting the same way as last year’s… I fly out from Bangkok on Monday night with the eventual destination of Kristiansund, on the west coast of northern Norway and not to be confused with the much milder Kristiansand on the south coast. My work itinerary starts with a 4 week trip offshore, followed by around 10 days off when I hope to pop back to the UK, visit my mum and also get my first Pfizer jab. After that there is around 8 weeks work in the Black Sea which will probably mean a mobilisation in Turkey, or maybe Malta, or maybe Gibraltar. We shall see… and all subject to change of course.

    The current plan is to be back home in December and I’ve promised my daughter I’ll be back for Christmas… but that was maybe a bit rash and not a clever thing to do.

    I did have 3 to 4 months office work lined up in Haugesund, Norway which was a cushy number... interesting, easy office work and well paid… but Brexit and the impossibility of getting a work permit in time for onshore work in Norway put paid to that… after 30 years of hassle free Norwegian work. Thanks Boris you lying fucking wanker… how was Brexit for you?

    But I don’t want to be labelled a ‘remoaner’ so I’ll leave that topic be… but it pisses me off immensely to have to look for new sources of work in my 50s. I hope that all those retiree Brexit voters weren’t hypocritical enough to make full use of open borders and unrestricted access to European work during their working years.

    Anyway, where was I… yes, so I hope to get back home to my daughter, the dogs and chickens… oh, and my darling wife by-mid December. I believe that the Thai PM promised Covid would be over in the next week or so and that the need for quarantine will end in October… so what can possibly go wrong.

    The last few days have been unsettling as it’s not a nice feeling to leave the family for months on end, with no definite end date to look forward to. I guess this is the flip side of the indescribable feeling of returning home after six months away I had back in January. But I need to go and not only for the finances… my alcohol intake has risen sharply the last few weeks and this will break the cycle. I need to get stimulated. Many years ago if I had six months off work I would maybe spend it on a tropical island or travel around some new exciting places… but what will I say when people ask me what I’ve done since January? I’ll say that I built a silly jetty and cleaned out my bladdy garden pond… that’s what I’ll say.

    Oh, and I also lost 12 – 8 in the Monopoly series against my daughter… but I did manage to lose a fair bit of weight… and then put it all back on again. Apart from my left big toe of course… that remains a bit lighter.

    So last night was my last night and I spent it with the gang.



    Dan always gets special attention because at nearly 15 I never know if I'll be seeing her again when I go away on a long trip.



    Earlier I'd said my goodbyes to Anna and Vigo... Vigo has lost a lot of weight and I worry I'll never see him again. He's onbiously sick... I've got him on anti-biotics but have run out of time to sort anything out.



    It was a nice evening and I didn't even mind that Maya and Coco were still determined to ruin my 'reed bed'. These things don't matter once you're leaving and have no control.



    But as nice as it was... I was in a reflective mood and my mind was elsewhere. Once you're leaving you just need to get going. The transition period is awful.



    But I couldn't help noticing that wherever I was, Dan followed me about and wouldn't leave my right big toe nail alone.



    Eventually we went in so I could finish up my final dinner of spare ribs with potato salad and sweetcorn... but Dan was right there with me... licking that toe.



    We sat down to eat our final meal together for quite a few weeks...



    ... I looked down and there was Maya... licking my right big toe. Something is going on here and I'm getting worried. I thought it was getting better... I don't need this on the eve of travel for many weeks offshore.


  2. #2
    I am not a cat
    nidhogg's Avatar
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    I can only speak for myself Mendip, but love your travel threads, and looking forward to the next one.

    Understand going away is a big wrench for you.

    Happy, safe and lucrative travels mate.

    Bon voyage.

  3. #3
    ความรู้ลึกลับ HuangLao's Avatar
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    Bound to happen.

    Looking forward to another stimulating commuting/working thread, Mendy.
    It'll be a struggle especially these days.
    Finish quickly and get home.

    Best to ya!

  4. #4
    In Uranus
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    Quote Originally Posted by nidhogg View Post
    I can only speak for myself Mendip, but love your travel threads, and looking forward to the next one.
    Count me in! I love Mendys travel threads.

  5. #5
    Thailand Expat
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    ^ Thanks guys!



    We've been here before!

    But last time it was only 5 dogs... I wonder how many it'll be next year?



    I booked a taxi yesterday for 2000 Baht to Bangkok… a great price, particularly when I’m in the habit of putting in a receipt for 4000 Baht, a more usual price. Last year I remember taking a bus down to Bangkok at the start of my work commute but no buses are currently running due to lockdown. Korat is dark red, same as Bangkok and interprovincial travel is restricted. Police road blocks were expected and I had a printout of my flights to hopefully allow transit in case of any problems.

    The taxi driver called this morning to say she’d soon be arriving… yes… a she. This worried me slightly, but after the daughter opened the gate...



    ... the driver had no problem reversing in and my concerns were somewhat allayed.



    No more putting it off... it was time to leave.



    I soon found out why it was 2000 Baht. As a Covid measure a Perspex screen had been permanently installed behind the front seats and secured with silicone sealant. This meant that my passenger front seat wouldn’t go back… and it also meant that the back of the cab had no aircon as this Perspex screen made an airtight seal. I went with the cooler front seat option to start with, and at 10:30am on Saturday 21st August my commute started.




    I was so tightly wedged in the front seat that my back had already started to seize up by the time we hit Korat city centre, about 15 minutes later. This was my pond injury coming back to haunt me and wasn’t a great start to my journey.

    I struggled on for another half hour before getting ‘Mott Daeng’ (the driver) to pull over so that I could transfer to the back. It was hot, but with the windows down it was bearable.



    But at 'Mott Deang's' several toilet stops I took the opportunity to get out for a stretch... there was just no leg room. I guess this was preparing me for my first long haul flight for many months on Monday evening.



    All said and done I was delivered safely to my Bangkok hotel, albeit a bit sweaty and stiff.

    There wasn't a single police road block on Mittraparp Road (Highway 2) between Korat and Bangkok and traffic was busy. I wonder how well interprovincial travel is being restricted in reality.

    I have a Saturday evening to shake off home life and mentally prepare for the big wide world and then Sunday, a day of rest.

    It all starts on Monday with a 7:30am PCR test (Norway demands a negative test taken within 24 hours of departure) which will kick off one awful day… but at least I’ll be getting paid for it… my first income since January.
    Last edited by Mendip; 21-08-2021 at 06:55 PM.

  6. #6
    In Uranus
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post
    All said and done I was delivered safely to my Bangkok hotel, albeit a bit sweaty and stiff.
    Good god I am 190 cm tall I could not have even fit in that car.

  7. #7
    CCBW JPPR2's Avatar
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    Cheers Mendy. Your daily reports are funny and entertaining. As you know we are about to return back home to Thailand. First stop... the 14 day quarantine sentence, then the 9hr van ride to the house then register at our local govt office that I am back and then 14 day self quarantine because I traveled from a deep red zone to a red zone. But I will be home and can relax at my pool bar with my dogs begging for snacks, enjoy my sports games and watch the tortoises fight.

    I will say after this trip there will be no more international travel for me until there is some stability with Covid controls. The uncertainty of airline travel is really stressful. It's just not worth it and besides, everywhere you go the rules are always changing. As you said, here we are a year later and it's worse when most believed it would be gone so what lies ahead is really unknown. The good thing from all the grief of traveling here to the states is my wife and I got fully vaccinated with Moderna so we do not have to do the Chinese crap.

    Good luck and be safe.

  8. #8
    Thailand Expat Saint Willy's Avatar
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    Safe travels mendy

  9. #9
    Thailand Expat
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    ^^ Thanks JP!

    To be honest I found my 15 days ASQ a doddle and would go as far to say it was almost enjoyable... but I served my time alone and couldn't imagine doing it with the wife.

    In fact, after so many months of fairly clean living at work followed by 2 dry weeks in quarantine I arrived home fairly fit and healthy.

    After 7 months at home 'on leave' I'm returning to work a complete wreck.

  10. #10
    Thailand Expat Saint Willy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post
    After 7 months at home 'on leave' I'm returning to work a complete wreck.
    you know you could just…. ah never mind.

  11. #11
    CCBW JPPR2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post
    To be honest I found my 15 days ASQ a doddle and would go as far to say it was almost enjoyable.
    Well I do not fair well be told what to do and how to do it and am way to hyper active to be stuck in a room. I need to be outside doing something so 14 days in a room eating box prepped food, having swabs jammed up my nose every few days and chaperoned walks will be extremely tough for me

    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post
    but I served my time alone and couldn't imagine doing it with the wife.
    I actually very much enjoy my wife's company and it will make the lock down way easier and we will have plenty of uninterrupted private time.

    That said I really owe my wife a lot. She is the one who has handled all the return travel docs the constant airfare updates and changes and the ASQ booking. I have no patience for that stuff.

  12. #12
    Thailand Expat
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    Quote Originally Posted by bsnub View Post
    Good god I am 190 cm tall I could not have even fit in that car.
    Just curious... I always thought you Americans were Imperial for this stuff? I'm 185cm but always prefer to say 6', unless at work and surrounded by continentals, or pretty much anywhere else I've been outside of the UK.

  13. #13
    Thailand Expat
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post
    We sat down to eat our final meal together for quite a few weeks...
    Her with her IPad and me with my laptop

  14. #14
    Thailand Expat
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    ^ And in front of the telly...

    Can't say I'm proud about that.

    But we had just spent an hour together by the pond!

    (on our phones.. )

  15. #15
    Thailand Expat Saint Willy's Avatar
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    You should set up a Roblox account and you could chat everyday while playing

  16. #16
    A Cockless Wonder
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    Safe travels Mendip.

    Good to be on voyaje instead of waiting in limbo.

    The dogs are gonna miss you.

  17. #17
    Thailand Expat
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    Safe travels Mendip.

    RE Interprovincial travel, my mate got out of quarantine in Pattaya the other day, got a taxi to Bangkok, bought a motorbike and rode it all the way to songkhla without being stopped once. Only 1 roadblock at NST and he cruised straight through it.

    3 weeks ago we only got stopped twice from Songkhla all the way to Udon Thani.

    We even stopped in Korat for a night. Looked like it would have been a good place to stop in normal times.
    Lang may yer lum reek...

  18. #18
    On a walkabout Loy Toy's Avatar
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    God speed mate and I hope your itinerary works out as planned and you return home by clistmutt.

  19. #19
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    good luck mendip stay safe.your dogs,daughter and wife will miss you,remember this mate,WHITE LIGHTNING 8% [frosty jack] murder in a can, tell the wife to go to korat chef and get some before he has to throw it down the drain.
    taff.

  20. #20
    Im bored AF Backspin's Avatar
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    Have a good hitch.

    Just curious what kind of flights you take on these tours. Direct from BKK to Kristiansund ? Do you get some recovery time for the jet lag ?

  21. #21
    Thailand Expat helge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bsnub View Post
    Good god I am 190 cm tall
    We call that 190 cm ..low, in Scandinavia.

    Welcome back to civilisation, Mendus

  22. #22
    Thailand Expat lom's Avatar
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    Wish you a good ride Mendip!

  23. #23
    Thailand Expat lom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by helge View Post
    We call that 190 cm ..low, in Scandinavia.
    I was once known by the nickname "minus three"

  24. #24
    Thailand Expat helge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lom View Post
    I was once known by the nickname "minus three"
    Let's keep dick size out of this



  25. #25
    Thailand Expat
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    Good luck and stay safe, I will miss you pond thread.
    I know you will miss your family, dogs and home, but a few months away always helped recharge my batteries, and made me appreciate them more when I got back to them. I am now retired for almost two years and I am starting to miss work.
    I look forward to hearing about your new challenges and your triumphant return home after a few months of work.
    The sooner you fall behind, the more time you have to catch up.

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