• CategoriesExpat Life

    Getting a Gun on a Plane

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    Firstly, let me explain to casual readers and people who just googled the title: this is a travel blog, not a guide to hijacking commercial airlines. This is actually the story of getting my new airsoft gun from Bangkok, where I bought it, to Phuket, where I live.

  • CategoriesExpat Life

    The Funny Thing About Oman…

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    I was talking with a friend this week about my recent blog posts, in which I told the story of my chaotic drive to a remote Omani beach, only to get buried in said beach and rescued by some passing strangers. The point he was especially puzzled by was the fact that the parting words from my saviours were: “Do you have any beer?” The reason they were asking, I explained, was that they would almost certainly find it impossible to obtain any because, being Omanis, they would not have an Alcohol License.

  • CategoriesExpat Life · Travel

    Lady Macbeth and the Long Drive Home

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    The exciting adventures of my 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo continue! In the last thrilling instalment, I succeeded in getting the off-road vehicle stuck in a beach within about 25 metres of leaving the road and was only saved from my own stupidity a passing group of kind strangers. However, it was now about 8:30pm, I was a good 300-km drive from home, I was covered in sweat and sand and I was absolutely terrified and exhausted. I wanted to feel safe and comfortable after my massive freakout on the beach. I wanted to drive home.

  • CategoriesExpat Life · Travel

    Lady Macbeth and the Beach of Doom

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    The story starts just a few weeks after I bought the Lady – my 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo – while I lived in Muscat, Oman. Within a week of buying it, it had already had to go to a mechanic to replace the radiator matrix, so I wasn’t exactly filled with confidence about its reliability. However, I had the weekend free and grand dreams of seeing the galaxy.

  • CategoriesExpat Life

    The Adventures of Lady Macbeth

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    At the time of writing, I have only ever owned one car. As you would expect of a first vehicle, it was a bit of a scrapper – ageing, prone to breakdowns and with enough miles on the clock for it to have driven half-way to the moon. What is a little more unusual for a first foray into being a motorist is that it was a Jeep Grand Cherokee.

  • CategoriesExpat Life · Travel

    The Battle of Thung Thale Beach

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    Keeping low and moving slow, rifle firmly gripped in both gloved hands, I crept through a patch of dense woodland. I was shielded from the harsh sunlight and the view of most of the enemy invasion force by a wall of leaves, but the web of thin trunks and branches I was creeping through presented challenges of its own, particularly when it came to moving quietly. My squadmate joined me, silently indicating that we should move further to the left. The enemy were reportedly moving up through this area and, if we were careful, we would be able to attack on their exposed flank.

  • CategoriesExpat Life

    The Expat Tan

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    During the one of the depressing periods since I left university that I was obliged to live back in the UK, I was approached by a chugger (a “charity mugger” – one of those well-intentioned but extremely annoying individuals you see in public precincts, trying to get you to donate to one of the larger, multi-national charities. Basically, the live-action version of telemarketers) on the High Street in Leicester. I mentioned, partially in order to discourage them from further attempts to extract money from me, that I was only back in the UK because I was currently unemployed, having recently left Oman. Their response was: “Oh, really? You don’t look very tanned.”

  • CategoriesExpat Life · Op-Ed

    The Death of HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej, and What it Means for You

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    Earlier today, I saw a headline from a Daily Mail article which, while I can’t recall the exact wording, said something along the lines of “British tourists are annoyed that the death of the Thai king has ruined their holiday”. Now, I don’t expect much thought for…well, for anyone not British, to be frank…out of the Daily Mail, but this is a new low.

  • CategoriesExpat Life · Photography

    The #Hellvan Chronicles

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    For those who don’t know, one of the cheapest forms of long-distance transport around Thailand is the minivan. You can get from Pattaya to Bangkok – a distance of 147km – in supreme discomfort for a mere 150 baht (about £3 or US$4.30) and, what’s more, you can do it surprisingly quickly if you catch the right bus. Why? Because the minivans were famous for being driven by absolute lunatics. That’s why I christened them “Hellvans”.

  • CategoriesExpat Life

    Lucy Hill, Blood Donation and Driving in Thailand

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    Lucy Hill is a 21-year-old Brit from Bury, travelling around the world for her gap year. As is often the case with such people, she ended up in Thailand; in Chiang Mai, specifically. As is also often the case, she was involved in a motorbike accident. She was badly injured when a car hit her hired motorbike, causing her to lose a significant amount of blood. Unfortunately, for her, the blood she lost was of type A-, which is rare enough generally, but particularly so in Asia.