10.09.2011 30 °C
Well my holidays are over. All good things apparently have to come to an end though I am relatively uncertain as to why this is. Surely if something is good then we should be doing all that is within our power to maintain it. And do all bad things have to come to an end, or is it just that they seem to go on forever. Like a Meg Ryan movie.
So before the crushing burden of responsibility once again rests heavily on my shoulders I took my lovely wife on a surprise trip to Thailand. We were both suffering a bit of Kathmandu fatigue by then anyway and a trip away would do us both good. We did it in style too, flying business class with Thai airways (a highly recommended airline) and staying at the Four Seasons Hotel in Bangkok for the best part of a week. The Four Seasons has become something of an icon for us and it all started with wanting to stay at the place whose swimming pool we could see from the Cahill Express Way in Sydney. It turned out to be our favourite hotel, mainly for the bed. For the beds in the Four Seasons are the most comfortable we had ever slept on, rather like slumbering on a cloud. And nothing makes you appreciate the cloud like qualities of a mattress quite like sleeping on the solid granite slabs the Nepalese call beds for 2 months.
The stay was like you would expect from any 5 star resort - stylishly furnished, extremely comfortable, extraordinarily accommodating, and a mini bar that, if wholly consumed, would put most western economies into immediate recession. In fact I am fairly certain that the primary reason the USA had to raise its debt ceiling by another trillion dollars was so they could afford the mini bar from their last stay here. Why is it that everyone knows that paying $10 for a packet of M&M’s is a massive rip-off, yet the prices have never rescinded?? Is it because they know that we will inevitably get the munchies at some ungodly hour and reason with ourselves that we will be able to get to the shop and replace them before the cleaners come through to restock and then just never get around to it?? Or is it because that all big hotels are run by the same people who manage movie theatres and feel that charging $25 for popcorn and watered down soft drink is quite reasonable??
So we frolicked, lounged swam and did whatever we felt like (except raid the fridge) for the time we were there. It was wonderful, the kind of break where we had no plans and could just relax. In fact I haven’t had a more restful break in a long time, at least right up to the point where I lost my big toenail.
Now lost is a rather inappropriate word for this kind of thing. One may lose their car keys or wallet occasionally for example. Generally pieces of your body are rather firmly attached and therefore less likely to be found in your dirty laundry. So let’s say then right up to the point where I accidentally removed the toenail from my big toe. It was one of those things where if you were attempting to achieve it, the feat would be near on impossible, like scoring a hole in one or creating a workable family budget. My wife was rather firmly attached to my back in the pool and I thought I might be able to shake her off a little better if I went up the ladder. The idea worked flawlessly in my head and was going according to plan right up to the point where I hit the ladder, as I somehow managed to miss the first rung and pushed my toe underneath while my toenail continued happily on its way over the top. It was, as you could imagine, a rather sharp pain so I asked my wife to politely alight as the ride was now over, and hopped out of the pool to inspect the damage. My toenail was hanging on for dear life in the bottom left corner whilst the rest was all rather loose, and painful, and bloody.
If you are ever going to injure yourself you could do it in worse place than the Four Seasons Hotel in Bangkok. They not only got me some first aid rather smartly, but called ahead to the hospital so they could remove the rest of the nail, and took me there in a Mercedes. I have never been treated so well by anybody with regards to an injury. All in all it was mightily impressive and I actually became a minor celebrity in the hotel after that with everyone inquiring about my welfare, from the managerial staff all the way down to the poor girls who have to open and close the massive front doors for people who rarely even acknowledge them. My favourite was Hans who was the fitness centre manager and seemed generally concerned that I had injured myself in his jurisdiction. Hans is a lovely bloke and if you are ever in the hotel pop down to the fitness centre and say hello. He has free tea and coffee and loves a chat. I also think he may get a bit lonely down there some times.
So after our little break I kissed the wife goodbye, boarded a plane and headed off on the next leg of the little adventure called my life. I am now working for a new company in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This should be quite an entertaining assignment as I have always thought of the Congo as the traditional deepest darkest Africa we have heard so much about. Dr Livingston used to hang out here for example. Unfortunately I am a few decades late to go inquiring as to his whereabouts, but I may just try it out anyway. The only real hitch I may encounter is that the local population speaks French, and my French is quite poor and limited to food products (Camembert, baguette) hello, goodbye and saying that nasal orh orh after every word. Racial stereotyping has a lot to answer for.
So it’s off to a new country, time to learn a new language and see if I can’t locate a certain doctor. Now where did I put my pith helmet??