• CategoriesExpat Life · Travel

    Remembering Why I Love Thai People – The Hard Way (Part 1)

    Posted on

    Last weekend, I quite comprehensively proved that even those who have been travelling practically professionally for the better part of a decade are still prone to making the most rookie of mistakes. One rather monumental error led to a sequence of progressively more stressful situations which were each made more bearable by the sheer charm of the Thai people I encountered along the way.

  • CategoriesExpat Life

    Some Grim Realities of Expat Life

    Posted on

    A regular frustration for a lot of expats, myself included, is the belief among friends and family back home that we’re basically on some kind of extended holiday. It’s an understandable assumption, of course. Their only experience of, for example, Thailand will be a couple of weeks lazing on a beach, drinking cheap beer. If that’s your only frame of reference, of course your assumption would be that life here is a lot like that. Spoiler warning: It isn’t.

  • CategoriesExpat Life · Op-Ed

    Op-Ed: Of Expats and Immigrants

    Posted on

    Some time ago, I read an article on the Guardian website which implied that the only reason the term ‘expatriate’ fits my circumstances is because I have white skin. It said that, if I were not white, I would be called an ‘immigrant’ regardless of any other factors. I disagree with this opinion because it does not match my own experiences and, since a very similar point was recently raised by a friend of mine, I thought I would discuss my opinion in more detail.

  • CategoriesExpat Life

    A Busy Chinese New Year: Part 2

    Posted on

    In Part 1 of my account of my unusually busy Chinese New Year holiday, I told of my previous experiences with working in food retail, and how they helped me to prepare for my role of general dogsbody and dish washer at my girlfriend’s Chinese restaurant. I also mentioned that I had a scrap of paper in my pocket with the Chinese phrase “Happy New Year” written in an anglicised form, ready for me to use to help the customers feel welcomed and happy. Well, this is where things start going a little awry…

  • CategoriesExpat Life

    A Busy Chinese New Year: Part 1

    Posted on

    This last week has been quite a busy one for me. Not only did it contain Valentine’s Day, but also Chinese New Year. As my girlfriend is Chinese, there was quite a lot for me to do. Said girlfriend owns and runs a Chinese restaurant in Patong called Anita’s Kitchen, so it struck me that the most romantic and meaningful gift I could give was time – that most valuable and irreplaceable of commodities. Specifically, my holiday time as Friday 16th February 2018 was a national holiday in Thailand.

  • CategoriesExpat Life

    45 Minutes in Muscat

    Posted on

    During my two years in Muscat, I found the CouchSurfing community to be a great way to meet some really fascinating characters. I made many good friends on the network, and it has generated some very fond memories. One of the weirder ones was when I found a message on the Muscat forum from a Scottish guy named John. He said that he had three hours to kill on a layover as he was flying elsewhere and, rather than spend them in Muscat International Airport, he wanted to see something of the city. Having nothing much better to do with my weekend, I decided to see how much I could show him in that time.

  • CategoriesExpat Life · Travel

    Happy Home Christmas!

    Posted on

    The very first post on this travel blog was entitled “Happy Expat Christmas!” and told of the trials and tribulations of celebrating the holiday season overseas, far from friends and immediate family. After last years’ celebrations in Pattaya, Thailand, I decided that it was well past time I arranged a trip home to the UK. I booked my flights very early in 2017 and now, at last, I’ve used them.

  • CategoriesExpat Life

    Good Times with Lady Macbeth

    Posted on

    It occurs to me that people reading this travel blog might be getting the wrong impression about me and my experiences, particularly those regarding Lady Macbeth. Indeed, a friend who was planning a trip to Myanmar recently looked at my posts about the place and came to the conclusion that I hated my time there, which I didn’t. Aside from the fact that even the bad times are good (in hindsight), it seems evident that I should be telling some more of the happier stories.

  • CategoriesExpat Life · Travel

    Getting Screwed by Taxis

    Posted on

    Regular readers, who have been following the ongoing Adventures of Lady Macbeth, will perhaps be wondering why I decided to buy a car in the first place. I alluded to one of the reasons in the first post on the subject, when I said that Oman has pretty much no public transport. The nearest equivalents were minibuses, which followed seemingly random routes, were often overloaded and were not especially safe or comfortable. Extremely cheap, they were known as ‘Baisa buses’, after the sub-unit of the Omani rial. I used them maybe twice, if that.

  • CategoriesExpat Life

    Lady Macbeth’s Breakdown

    Posted on

    In my introduction to the Adventures of Lady Macbeth, I said that the 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo lived up to her name in all of the wrong ways, including a propensity to break down. The biggest of those breakdowns took her off the road for at least three months and cost me a frankly staggering amount of money. Frustratingly, most of the trouble was caused by one of the smallest components in the huge 4.0-Litre engine.