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Surreal Suvarnabhumi

On this blue Sunday, I find myself in limbo at Bangkok International Airport. While I usually adore arriving at Suvarnabhumi, this particular visit feels surreal. Yes, I am on Thai soil and my AIS SIM-card connects to the mobile network, yet I am not able to leave the airport. Yes, I was out in the open air for a full 3 minutes, yet I am not able to meet my lovely wife. Yes, I am able to buy a sandwich at the very same Subway stand I always buy a snack before I leave, yet I have just arrived. Yes, it is 07:57 local time, but it’s only 01:57 in Belgium, and 08:57 in Shanghai where my next flight will land around 16:00. All a bit confusing, but that’s not all.

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Tour of duty

Over the past weeks, a few people asked if I had been cured of the writing bug. While I do appreciate the concern, that is not at all what happened. Recently, I was given an international assignment, for which preparations also required some travel. Some of you might have seen a few pictures taken in Prague on my Instagram feed. In fact, that was all I have been able to post, up to now. Waiting at the gate for my next flight, I will start to tell you about my new adventure and take you along with me on tour of duty. Before the Thai Airways bird leads you to the assumption of another Thai adventure … it’s not that simple. More info on my next layover. Now, time for coffee.

 

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Phone Scam Fun – Episode 2

With my first attempt at keeping phone scammers on the telephone as long as possible only moderately successful, I decided to take a different approach. This time I went for stupid but inquisitive. Here is my conversation with Franky and Jordan from Manchester (but also India). Sadly, they weren’t interested in helping my friend, the Prince from Kenia. Any suggestions for the next conversation? 🙂

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The Prague Experiment

A professional visit to Prague presented the perfect opportunity to experiment with low-light photography in a different setting. With mixed results, to be honest. The pictures below are the only ones worth posting. With diversions off the table for now, it is back to the writing table. Another Thailand-related story is in the works.

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Phone scam fun – Episode 01

Lately, my home and office phone numbers seem to be mainly used by sales people and phone scammers. Instead of letting frustration getting the better of me, I’ve decided to run with it and have fun. My goal is to keep them on the line as long as possible and make them hang up. In this first recording I was too obvious, but it’s a start.

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British Dragon, the story of an underground steroid empire

Commercial empires aren’t exclusive to mainstream business. Successful multinationals exist in underground markets just as well. A textbook example is British Dragon, the Pattaya laboratory that supplied the world with steroids. Ironically, it was conceived as a direct result of the clamp-down on the illicit anabolics trade and found its demise when Thailand increasingly integrated with the international intelligence community. The rise and fall of a shadow empire.

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Study: Night Market in Phimai

Over the last 3 years I have been trying to capture the essence of how Thai rural night markets look. There is something about the combination of a sunset and many different light sources, casting all kinds of shadows, that I find very appealing. My attempts have largely unsuccessful, up until recently in Phimai. For the first time I have been able to reproduce something that comes close to what I see in my mind’s eye. A selection of images is available if you continue reading. Any feedback is most welcome.

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