In the weeks before Christmas, I flew to Shanghai with every intention to blog about my experiences, working from the Chinese metropolis. The People’s Republic of China, however, had different intentions. Here is the report of my time behind the Great Firewall. China turned out be different from what I expected and was told.
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.
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.
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.
At least twice a year I fly from Brussels to Bangkok and back. My wife usually makes the same round-trip in the opposite direction every 12 months. With intercontinental flights not exactly cheap, we try to maximize our budget. Let me teach you the tricks we have picked up over time. Some are obvious, others a lot less so. Most European frequent flyers will probably benefit from reading this post. As an example, my latest air fare was just EUR 314.
When Adidas launched the Zero Negative Energy (ZNE) line, focusing on pre- and post-game athlete comfort, I wasn’t particularly listening. With the fashionable and sharp traveller edition they caught my attention. My ZNE hoodie struck me as smart and fashionable, has an elongated hood that helps drown out cabin rumour during flights, has many hidden compartments and uses premium lining to make you feel at home during long hauls. Sounds like a lot of mumbo jumbo, but it’s genuinely lovely. Classic.
Our increasing use of smartphones, tablets and laptops while traveling implies a constant quest for a power outlet to charge them. Hotels, on the other hand, try to minimize their electricity bill by using a key card holder, so the electricity switches off when you’re not there. As a result, hotel guests are not able to charge batteries while out-and-about. There is a clever way around it, however. Refrigerators do not switch off, as it would make them useless. Just use that outlet for charging, while you’re not there. It may require some fidgeting or even a splitter, but I guarantee it works.