Thursday 1 December 2016

SE Asian Interlude

No wargaming related posts this week because I am away for few days at a conference in Bangkok.  

Activity on the river in front of the hotel, above, and below the other side of the hotel with some of the newer buildings of the city, including the one in the centre that looks as though King Kong has had a go at it.

In the last sixteen years with my current employer I have done maybe thirty similar trips; conferences, training courses, seminars, meetings or briefings at such locations as Seattle, Atlanta, Bangkok, Tokyo, Singapore, Hongkong, Sydney, Melbourne, Lisbon, London, Stockholm and Toulouse. From the outside this probably sounds rather glamourous, especially since most of those locations are a long way from home in New Zealand, but nothing could be further from be truth.

I must admit that when I first hear that I am going on one of these trips, there is a bit of excitement, like "oh wow I'm going to Bangkok..." and it takes a couple of days to remember what it was like last time: it usually takes between ten and thirty hours to get to most of these places; most of the time you are away is spent either inside an airport, an aircraft, a taxi, a meeting room or a hotel room; the whole time you are seriously fatigued because your internal clock is so out of sync. Then when you get home there is often a need to be back at work the next day, or at best with only one rest day

The most extreme example is one trip to Lisbon in 2009 when I flew Auckland-Hong Kong-London-Lisbon without a stopover, to attend a two day meeting, then to London for a half day meeting, then London-LA-Auckland...literally a round the world trip in seven day (and one of those days was lost crossing the date line). I remember being so exhausted in Lisbon at the end of the second day of the meeting that I was struggling to stay awake and there was a dinner to attend that evening. I remember getting back to the hotel and grabbing about a half hour of sleep before going out to dinner and it gave me just enough energy to get through the evening.

This time the trip has been a bit smoother. Apart from a bit of confusion in Hong Kong as to whether there was going to be a seat for us (we were on industry tickets and therefore on standby), everything was on time and we got into Bangkok late Monday morning. After a bit of a rest we had a pleasant dinner at the hotel in a humid 30 C degree heat sitting on the river bank.

The conference, which had shown considerable promise on paper,  has been a bit of a disappointment with only two or three useful papers, the rest being somewhat indifferent and one tedious, wrist-slitting very early on in the piece.

That said, the food and the atmosphere of Bangkok is great. On on evening we went up the State Tower to the Skybar - the one that featured in "The Hangover II". A stunning open air bar on the 65th floor, that had a sort if 1920's feel, with a grand stairway down from golden topped dome, a jazz band playing, and an almost 360 degree view, with just the gentlest of breezes blowing.

Another night we went up the river about 5 km, above the Royal Palace, on a local recommendation to a great little restaurant - the whole evening for four people (food, drinks, two ferries and a taxi) cost just over $NZ 105.

Back home tomorrow, via Honk Kong again, where a parcel from the Perrys is expected...the rest of the French Foreign legion and a few more Retreat from Moscow packs. Then early next week I will order the last of the Carlist War figures.


  1. Stunning pictures Mark, and this second one is incredible!

    1. Thanks Phil. Bangkok is developing at a great rate. I thought Bejing and Shanghai had an ecelctic mix of buildings, but Bangkok is rivalling these places and that building in the centre of the second image is an example of that.