Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas back on the (other?) side of the world

So I have successfully survived my first Christmas at home in too many (well, according to my family) years. It started out looking like what I imagine many Christmases in the US and Canada - and possibly the U.K., but probably not Australia or N.Z. - looked like: We skirted the cars in the ditch and arrived safely and, despite the family's best efforts, we survived it. But one annual tradition I'd forgotten about was the magnetic noel. My grandmother has magnetic letters spelling "N - O - E - L" on her refrigerator. My sister, by tradition, changes it to spell "L E O N" as soon as she walks in the door at Christmas. Grandma, after some minutes, hours or days, notices this, grumbles and shifts letters back to her preferred order. My sister usually changes it again immediately, and so the battle rages. This year, for the first time, Grandma was left to wage battle as more than just Leon invaded her house: And once I saw the LONE Pine had made an appearance, I decided it was time to make my Christmas wish known: But somebody else wanted Who was quickly labeled for thinking he could get one in this economy. By then somebody had decided we were all just Yes, in these tough economic times, you'd better hope you can say, Merry Christmas, from our family to yours.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Suvarnabhumi Refugee Update

Refugee status, day 10: travel documents are prepared and am awaiting flight.

After nearly two weeks of intense uncertainty and political volleyball, the constitutional courts played their hand and gave the Thai protesters a minimal win while simultaneously slapping them on the wrist for the inconvenience they've caused the world. I've really been amused far more than annoyed by the whole course of events - it has been a fascinating look into the Thai culture. I do fairly believe that the Thai people are about the only ones that would greet you with a smile, apologize for having to shoot you, shoot you, then kowtow to you and apologize again for having to shoot you. Truly, the land of smiles.

The latest news is that the protesters have abandoned the airport, apparently leaving remarkably little damage behind them as they were able to bring the airport online almost immediately. They had been predicting a minimum of 7 days to do security checks and reboot the IT systems, so it must be a statement of some degree of how careful the protesters were not to leave a lasting inconvenience to the travelers and those that service them. They made their point, and got out.

I have a new ticket for this week Thursday - a full 15 days after I was first scheduled to leave. Wish me luck!