Well, I spent almost 1 week in bed sick and the weekend was spent resting.Monday and I was back in school and gym and Thursday was my last day in school. Friday and I had some stuff to take care of before going to Manila. I was quite busy during the Friday, starting at the gym. My company pay the member ship at the gym and, well, it's good. Now I have to go to the gym. Embarrassing to send a bill for a gym membership that you never use.
I managed to get a lot of stuff done during Friday afternoon. I had to get some paperwork done at the bank to prepare for my VISA application. Unbelievable how many beautiful girls there are working at the bank. I was at the head office Wednesday afternoon and, well, I'm back again.
Bangkok Bank and they are really friendly, we were cracking jokes and the offered me snacks, cookies and sweets.
- No thanks! I'm on diet!
It was all laughs and I managed to get all the employees involved in my paper work. Millions of beautiful girls laughing at my stupid jokes. Well, I can't believe it. It's the same story every time.
- Hello handsome! Do you want to join me and my friends for a beer at 6 o'clock.
- WHY!!?? WHY IS IT NEVER THE BEAUTIFUL GIRLS ASKING THIS QUESTION??!!
- I would love to, but I'm busy!
Saturday was spent in bed, yeah, I suffered one of those force 9,9 hangovers. A fistful of B-12s when I woke up. I can't say if it did me any good, but maybe it would have been much worse without the vitamins.
Lo and behold! I managed to fall asleep around 10 o'clock and I slept until 9 o'clock Sunday morning when my alarm went off. Hangover and I managed to fall asleep, that's the spirit. Otherwise I'm tossing and turning in bed until 4 o'clock before falling asleep.
I felt like a million when I woke up. The taxi was coming to pick me up at 1130 so I had plenty time for tea and to pack my bag. The taxi was in time and we took off with smokin'and screamin' tyres.
- Manila! Here I come! ECDIS and a Bridge Recourse Management course and I will spend almost 2 weeks at Oxford Suites again.
FUNKY TOWN International
I had 3 diet drinks while surfing the internet, I had to wait for about 2 and a half hour for my flight. And this was also the first time using my new laptop bag I bought in Singapore.
We left FUNKY TOWN in time and it was a beautiful day. I took a few pictures while taxi to the runway. I had 2 seats all by myself and I was looking forward to the 3 hour flight.
Well, looking forward to is maybe not exactly true. But not many people onboard the plane and I had a few news papers to read. So it was not bad. I had upgraded my ticket to biz so as soon as we were airborne they started to serve salmon and goose liver.
After that I got lamb and I was pretty full when they came with the cheese. Dinner finished with tea and cake and I felt asleep. I woke up when we descended to Manila. It was dark outside, 1 hour time difference and we arrived just after 1900.
Manila is a darn big city and we flew over the city on the way to the airport. It took a few minutes to fly over and millions of cars and lights everywhere. A lot of energy and green house gases. Then imagine all the big cities in the world and it's a lot of shit coming out from all the cars. Flying over big cities in daylight and we can see how the smog is rising from the cities like from big funnels.
Manila airport, Ninoy Aquino International Airport, must have looked the same for the last 25 years. But today was the first time I arrived to an empty Immigration. 3 minutes and I was through to the baggage claim area.
No change in the luggage claim area. The same plastic palm that I have used for years to put my snus in. Always a long waiting time for your luggage in Manila and you need to change snus.
Manila airport, Ninoy Aquino International Airport
Today was no exception. Belt 1, after 20 minutes the first bag came up the conveyor belt. 5 - 10 minutes later the second bag arrived and after 25 minutes they had managed to get 6 bags delivered.
Suddenly our bags started to arrive on belt 2. Well, ATM and to the taxi stand and we were soon on the way to my hotel. We stopped on the way for a diet drink and the driver offered me a coffin pin. My first fag in a long time, but after a flight it's OK with a fag.
Christmas is soon here, well, it's still a long time to go. But it's the same all over the world, Christmas decorations and by the time its Christmas you're sick'n' tired of the whole thing.
Checking in on my hotel and I was off to check out the German restaurant. Last time I thought I saw Pumpernickel and my plan is to skip the breakfast on my hotel and eat Pumpernickel and drink tea on my room. But just in case, I took all my breakfast vouchers when I checked in. You never know. Well, turned out to be a good move taking the breakfast vouchers.
There was no pumpernickel at Mickey's delicatessen. DARN! What to do with my diet? Do I have to eat the omelette and sausages in the hotel restaurant?
Coming back to my hotel I checked out the gym and I was off to my room. I hanged all my shirts in the built-in wardrobe in my room. First time in my life I hang up my shirts in a hotel room. Otherwise I just throw my cloths in my bag. So I'm making history here, kind of.
Amazing, it's 5 months since I was here the last time. But they recognised me at the hotel.
- Mr Aladdin!
Thanks to my nap on the airplane I didn't felt asleep until just before my wakeup call at 8 o'clock. I had to be at the Thai Embassy to apply for a visa before 12 o'clock. No Pumpernickel and I went to the restaurant for an omelette and some sausages.
After breakfast I was off to get a taxi and I arrived to the Thai Embassy a little bit after they opened the VISA section and a few minutes later I lost my good mood.
Not possible to get my VISA and, well, I lost my temper. I left the Embassy and I left for Glorietta Shopping Mall. I have not given up finding Pumpernickel. I went in to a big supermarket and no black bread to be seen anywhere.
Unbelievable, only white sliced bread. Million of different brands, labels and breads.
• Weight watchers choice!
• No sugar!
• 0g trans fat!
• Natural grains!
There was no end to it, but it was the same old boring and unhealthy toast bread. No VISA and now this, I was not in a good mood when I returned to my hotel.
I had been in my room for 20 minutes when they called me on the phone. My parcel had arrived and UPS where waiting in the reception. I went down to the reception and I had my box with 21 rolls of snus.
I was in a better mood when I had my snus on my room. I, well, not very much to do on the room except study my language course. I decided to open the books a little later and I took a taxi to Mall of Asia.
Mall of Asia
It took us about 20 minutes to get to the Mall of Asia. I walked around for a few hours looking at some gallery to check out of I could find any paintings with Adrian Morales. Yeah, the very same artist I bought last time in Manila.
I found a gallery and they had 3 paintings on display. Now they wanted the same price for 1 painting as I paid for 2 paintings 5 months ago. That's even though it was smaller than the big picture I bought.
I also found some paintings by Joseph Bañez and they were quite interesting. Well, we see what's happening, I don't have much space left for paintings.
I walked down to the beach and I spoke with one of the Security Guards.
- OK, I asked her for a light.
I was surprised when she had a lighter and we had a chat while watching the beach and the ships on the roads.
Time to return to my hotel and I stopped at a Supermarket, last try to get Pumpernickel. Well, the
same toast bread and no sign off any black bread. Luckily enough they had an excellent fruit department and I bought some Mango and Papaya. Breakfast for tomorrow and I don't have to eat any omelette, toast and sausages.
I ordered a wakeup call for 7 o'clock tomorrow morning. So I will study a little in my language books tonight and I hope I can fall asleep early.
I got my wakeup call at 7 o'clock. I turned on the kettle first thing and I tried the Papaya I bought yesterday. Well. The papaya tasted like BIP and I had to throw it away. I took a little bit cheese instead and I was off to school just after 8 o'clock.
I arrived to class a few minutes late, it's the darn soda machine. 20 Peso for a diet drink and it's normal to spend 5 minutes to get the vending machine to accept the bills.
On my way to the classroom I ran in to people recognizing me. So it was a lot of hello and small chat on the way to the classroom and this also delayed me by a few minutes.
- Welcome back!
- Nice to see you again!
- Only 2 diet drinks??!!
At lunch I returned to my hotel. I made a pot of tea and I tested my Mango that I bought yesterday. It was delicious, only thing I don't understand is that the Mango was exactly like the Papaya I'm buying in Thailand. The Papaya I buy in Thailand is delicious and the Filipino Papaya is so bad so I had to throw it away.
I returned to school and we kept us self busy until 1540 and it was time to go back to my hotel. I was hungry and I tried my best to stay clear of any restaurants.
I have my favourite Japanese restaurant 2 minutes walk from the hotel. I left my school bag at my room and I went down to the girl working as the, well, I really don't know what they call it. But she's behind a desk at the entrance helping people with taxi and stuff.
Yeah, the very same girl I bought the chocolate for last time living here. I asked if there was a supermarket nearby.
- I need to buy some fresh Mango.
- You can go to Rockwell Shopping center, there is a supermarket.
I took a taxi to a Christmas decorated Rockwell Shopping Center. There were plenty fruit, Papaya, which I like in Thailand. But I didn't care to buy any here wise from my GOOD MORNING experience this very morning.
Well, I took a taxi to SM Hypermarket at Mall of Asia and I bought. Yeah, chocolate to the girl at the hotel. I also bought fat free milk for my tea and I asked for 10 Mango Rip.
SM Hypermarket at Mall of Asia. Impressive fruit and vegetable section
I must say that the Supermarket at Mall of Asia has the most impressive fruit and vegetables section I have ever seen. Fruit as long as you can see so SM Hypermarket is on the “MUST” list when in Manila. Well, when you're on diet anyway.
I asked for Mangoes and the girls showed me the Mangoes.
- Yesterday I bought peeled and sliced Mangoes. Don't you have any today?
- We can make for you, how many do you want?
I ordered 10 Mangoes and I went away to pick up some tuna. No bread and I forgot all my vitamins at home. The cans were marked with “Rich in OMEGA-3” and a whole lot of other healthy stuff so I bought 10 cans. So it will be Mango and Tuna from now on.
I returned to the fruit section and the girls were ready with my Mangoes. I spoke with two girls that bought Mango. When they saw my basket brimmed with Mangoes they asked what I was doing with all the Mango.
- Well, I'm on diet. I want to look good.
- You look good already! Nice shirt!
- YEAH! POVERTY AND STARVATION MAKES WONDER TO MY LOOKS!
And I don't mean my poverty and starvation. We shared a few laughs and I ordered 10 more Mangos. Can as well fill up my fridge when I'm at SM Hypermarket.
SM Hypermarket at Mall of Asia. Impressive fruit and vegetable section
When I came back to pick up my last 10 Mangos there was a guy looking down my basket.
- Is it you buying all the Mangos? He asked laughing.
I went to the check out with a quick stop to buy a can opener for my tuna. We managed to dodge the traffic on the way back to my hotel and I was in my room at 7 o'clock. I was thinking about the gym. Well, tomorrow, now it's too late and I made myself some tea and I had two of the Mangos that I bought at SM Hypermarket.
I hope I can fall asleep early tonight, 2 days with early wake up calls and I have not been able to fall asleep until 3 or 4 o'clock in the morning. So I need to get on with my language books and try to get some sleep. But tomorrow I will go to the gym.
I gave the Thai Embassy another try before going to school. One thing is for sure, if you want a VISA to Thailand you should stay “WELL” clear of the Thai Embassy in Manila. It's a waste of time and money. To apply for a tourist visa you need a VISA to the Philippines. If you don't have a VISA to Philippines don't even bother apply for a VISA to Thailand.
- We give priority to residences of Philippines! The clerk told me showing me a list of requirements to get a tourist visa.
• Certificates of employment
• Hotel booking voucher
• Air ticket, return ticket with confirmed dates
• Bank statements
• ACTA or whatever it was something. I have no clue what it is
• A passport with a VISA to the Philippines
+ the ordinary stuff, pictures and application forms, 3 copies. If you can't present all of the above documents don't bother going there.
Well, never mind the VISA. I took a taxi back to the hotel and my kettle. A can of tuna, mango and tea swung my mood from bad to good and I was in a pretty good mood when I was sitting in the taxi on the way to the school.
Time turned quick in school, we have to do 17 modules until Friday. After each module we have a discussion and today we spent more time discussing than on the module. It’s easy to get carried away and suddenly you discover that we're discussing the good old times and before you knew it, it was time to go home. Well, back to the hotel.
Manila mass transportation
I was back in my room just after 4 o'clock. I stopped at 7/11 for 2 diet drinks. When I moved in to my room there was one diet drink in the mini bar. But 'til now they have not replaced the diet drink. I grabbed my language course and I started to read. I use a new technique, I read out loud from the book. This is what they recommend in the book.
Find a peaceful place and read out loud from the book. At first it might feel a little strange, but you get used to it.
Well, it for sure feels a little strange.
- Hmm, more like a little embarrassing!
Reading out loud by yourself from a book.
- Hmm, strange! Embarrassing reading out loud. But no problem lying in the gutter sending SMS poetry. Making a fool out of yourself with the Police bursting in to the bar.
Well, I finished my first book and it was time to get dressed for the gym. Yes, I'm making history here. Up till now I have not understand why they have a gym at a hotel.
- Who the hell are using a gym at a hotel?
But we will mark Wednesday 26th of November 2008 as the date when I went to a hotel gym for the first time.
Yeah, what the BIP is going on? Staying at a hotel and I'm staying in my room studying, eating tuna and mango. Making my own tea on the room and using the gym. For sure something has happened. A few years ago I would have been out drunk eating at a restaurant.
I'm scared! What the hell happened? Is it me approaching 30?
- Hmm, no! I still have quite a few years until 30.
But I don't dare leaving my hotel room. Yesterday when I went to buy the mango at SM Hypermarket I ended up at a restaurant. I almost ended up at a restaurant after the Thai Embassy this morning, but self disciplines made me go back to my hotel and my Mango. every time passing a restaurant I'm feeling peckish, no, it's more like I'm sucked in to the restaurant and a piece of cake and a pot of tea.
FUNKY TOWN, a few years back I went to Marriot at least 3 days a week. Italian restaurant at least once a day. Many days I went to 2 different Italian restaurant. So I looked like a anti aircraft balloon.
- Hmm, pretty much still do!
Well, I have been home for almost 2 months and I have only been at Marriot 2 times and with friends. I have been at restaurant 10 times (give and take a few times) and all the times with friends. So it's a pretty good record. Otherwise I'm home eating fruit and pumpernickel and I feel good. The gym does wonders and I am on a good track here.
Well, I got e-mail from the company. Now they want me to join the ship in New York 7th of December.
- I will try, but I might need a day or two at home first.
We see what happens, but I have been home long enough by now.
I was sitting at my desk when the phone rang. It was the Captain from Bro Provider. He has signed off and he is now in Subic Bay, a 3 hours ride from Manila. He told me he wanted to visit Manila and we will see what happens to the weekend. After a week of school and frustration at the Thai embassy it will be nice with a few beers.
Wake up call at 7 o'clock. Make tea and open a new package with Mango. Off to school with taxi and I was back at my hotel just after 12. Tea, Mango and Tuna. The can opener I bought the other day broke when I opened the tuna can.
Half the can was open when the darn thing broke so I could eat my tuna. Mango, my 3rd day on Mango and I must say that most of the “BANG” has gone out of the Mango. Still good though, but I can imagine the Mango will taste like wood in a few days.
The tuna, already the first day it was like chewing wood. But it's healthy and I must try to eat the darn thing. And I must go to the SM Hypermarket today to buy a new can opener and 10 more Mangoes, tasting like wood or not.
Especially if they want me to sign on in New York in 2 weeks I need to do some serious weight loose in order to fit in the seat. But I'm on the right track.
Back to school and we finished at 4 o'clock. Tomorrow is the last day for the Bridge Recourse Management course and our Teacher told us that we would be ready around lunch.
- Tomorrow its Friday and beer drinking day!
- Yeah, and Saturday its sleeping day, I replied.
I was back on my room just before 5 o'clock and I started to read my Thai books and then I was off to the gym. Yesterday I was on the jogging machine and after 15 minutes the staff came running.
- There is a strange smell from the machine!
- I'll be darned, it smelled a little burnt from the machine.
OK, I had to stop using the machine and the staff told me that they would call a service guy. I could try tomorrow (today) again. Well, I could not use the machine even though it was working again.
- I'm sorry Sir, but there is a weight limit on the machine. Maybe you would like to try the cross... something?
- Blah! This machine is boring!
- It's very fun and its good exercise!
- Ah, I do some weight lifting instead.
When I was finished with the gym I returned to my room. Time for tea and Mango and I was off to SM Hypermarket to buy more Mangos and a can opener. I made a quick stop at the girl working at the entrance. I told her about my diet and my exercise.
- How long do you think before we get married? I'm losing weight like there is no tomorrow.
- You are so sexy already!
- YEAH! POVERTY AND STARVATION MAKES WONDER TO MY LOOKS!
And I don't mean my own poverty and starvation.
Finally, Friday and my last 7 o'clock wake up call for this week. I finish my first course today and I have only been to restaurant 2 times so far. I'm feeling good while breaking records.
- Hmm, wasn't there some room service as well?
- Yeah, I forgot. But only one burger Sunday night when I arrived!
But it's still a very good record. But I can't help being a little worried about the upcoming weekend. Chewing Mango is nothing I'm looking forward to if I have a hangover.
We began school with a debriefing of today’s exercise. We will test our new skills in the simulator. Taking pilot at Mongstad in a force 9 west gale. Before going to the simulator I took the opportunity to take a picture of my classmates.
My class mates and our Teacher on the right hand side
One of the students is missing. He had to join a ship in Singapore today and he had to cancel the course yesterday. Well, as J used to say “Nothing is for sure in shipping”
Bonus picture by our Teacher
My class mates and Yours Truly
After the pictures we moved to the Ship Simulator and we could start the exercise. We got a quick introduction to the bridge by the Teacher that was running the simulator.
As mentioned before we were going to take Pilot in Mongstad in a gale force 9. On the way in we will encounter different problem and we will see how we are dividing the workload between us.
Well, Pilot onboard and we receive a MAYDAY and shortly after we have a trailer lose on deck. Our main engine stops, Chief Engineer have an accident and a rescue helicopter that needs to unload people from the sinking vessel. Plenty to do!
Simulator at Norwegian Training Center
Well, force 9 gale and we can expect some heavy rolling. I didn't expect the school to start rolling. But the computer program mad it feel like we were rolling heavy when looking out the windows (Big screens) and I was almost sea sick.
One of the student works as an Electric Engineer so he was used as Helmsman and the rest of us took charge of the navigation and problem solving.
I also kept myself busy taking pictures during the exercise. The exercise lasted for one hour and we went back to the class room for a discussion and we were ready with the course around 12 o'clock. I got my certificate and I returned to my hotel. Well, I got of the taxi at Makati Avenue trying to find an ATM accepting American Express. Easier said than done, but after a little walking around I found the ATM. AMEX, good for nothing and I will cancel the card when I get home.
VISA is best, all machines accepted VISA and most of them accepted MASTERCARD. But my VISA card expired in October and I haven't got a new card. The first card they sent disappeared somewhere on the way to me in USA and the second card should be on the way. So until then I cannot get any cash from my account and thus I have to use the AMEX. If you want to use AMEX to shop with they want you to pay extra in most of the shops. If you can find a shop accepting AMEX.
For sure, most shops accept VISA but not AMEX. So why pay 2-300 US/ year for a card you have a hard time finding a place that accept AMEX.
Back at the hotel and I ate my mango and tuna before reading my Thai book. I was soon sleeping and I woke up 1530. Reading my second Thai book and tea and tuna. No Mango, I bought new Mango yesterday. Mango apple and they told me it should be the same as Mango rip. It wasn't, tasted like I don't know what and I had to throw away all my Mango.
When I was ready with my book and meal I went to the gym. I was ready with the gym and my language studies and it was Friday evening. Shower and a taxi to Mall of Asia.
Beach front at Mall of Asia
Coming to Mall of Asia and I asked the driver to let me off at the seaside. Pretty busy night on the sea front. Plenty restaurants, but actually no real bar in sight. I just arrived when there were fireworks going off.
I was walking down the sea front minding my own business when there were loud bangs and lightning.
- Are we under attack??!!
The used 2 barges in Manila bay and there were some fire crackers going off from behind the restaurant. I don't know why there was a firework display and no one of them I asked knew either.
Never mind, they must have set fire to many woody dollars and I think they would have come to better use putting some of the beggars begging at the traffic lights in metro Manila to school.
Sea front at Mall of Asia
Well, plenty restaurants along the sea front, but no real bars or pubs. I went in to a restaurant and I sat down on a bar stool ordering a beer. Plenty live bands all around so there were plenty music.
I finished my beer and I continued down the sea front, restaurant after restaurant and live band. I was just about to leave when I passed a place where they played Hip Hop. So I went inside for a beer. 4 beers later and Charisma Man was back in town.
I crossed the street and I was soon sitting in a taxi on the way to Melate. My original plan was to go to Cowboy Grill but after a few minutes I changed my mind and I asked the driver if he knew some good bars with good music. I gave me a few names.
- O Bar is a good one. Many tourist go there.
- NO PROSTITUTES! I told him.
- No, this is a bar were ordinary people goes. There are plenty bars, pubs and discos in the area.
O Bar, no music and I asked where they music was.
- Our DJ is delayed.
Never mind, there were hundreds of pubs and bars in the area. Melate was a very nice area but not yet so many people around. I asked when the night life started around here.
- Around midnight.
Well, it's like in Denmark. You’re alone until midnight and then all the discos are full until 8 o'clock when they start to serve breakfast.
Well, strange how quick the time passes by. 8 o'clock and then suddenly its 2 o'clock. I was sitting in a bar talking with 2 guys and a girl and it was all laughs and we had a very good time. I was surprised when I ordered my 22nd Vodka Redbull.
- Sorry, but you finished our bottle of vodka.
- OK, let's make it a Bacardi Redbull!
Well, it was 2 o'clock and I decided to continue the adventure at The Fort. I really don't understand why the BIP I went to The Fort. I'm soon 100 and way too old for any nocturnal extravaganza. Of course I should have gone back to my hotel after Melate.
But no! I continued to The Fort and, well, I remember one disco but after that I don't remember anything. Maybe someone dropped a Mickey in my drink. But why would someone drop a Mickey in my drink. To rape me? For sure not to take my money, I spent about 4000 woody dollars and believe me, I wasn't out to make it cheap. I brought 20000 woody dollars with me and I had 16000 when I woke up.
Try to do that in Sweden or FUNKY TOWN. In Manila it's about 40 to 80 Scooby dollars for a beer and that's next to nothing. And the San Miguel Light is a very good beer.
Saturday, and waking up was not a very nice experience. Charisma Man was gone and it was only Hangover Man left back.
I was tossing and turning in my bed drinking all the water in the fridge before going out of bed. I went down to Tempura, the Japanese restaurant down on Makati Avenue. But they were out of my fresh dish. Tenderloin beef wrapped around asparagus.
- Sorry Sir! We're out of this dish. It's our best seller!
- Well, if it's your best seller shouldn't you make sure you had the ingredients all the time?
I ordered rice and curry and on the way back to my room I stopped for a few diet drinks and a bottle of water, just in case they hadn’t cleaned my room and refilled my refrigerator. Needless to say, I spent the day in bed and Thai study and gym was cancelled. But that was expected.
When I was back in my room I checked my pockets and my valet. It turned out that it had been a cheap night yesterday and I felt a little better. 4000 woody dollars, I brought 20000 and a night like that in Europe or USA would have left me with a valet empty.
A night like that in FUNKY TOWN would have set me back by 15 to 20000 so that's the reason for me to bring 20000. So the beer and drinks at a third or fourth of the price comparing to FUNKY TOWN it turned out to be very cheap.
And while searching my pockets for money (I always waking up with money in all my pockets) I found a napkin. Dyna and a telephone number, so Manila is not only cheap, the girls must be pretty desperate if they hand me their number.
And the beauty of it, I never have to call. If I by accident run in the girl on town I can say that I lost the number. I pissed myself so the number was all smeared on the napkin.
At 8 o'clock I went to Mall of Asia to buy some Mango Ripe for tomorrow’s breakfast.
Sunday and I started the day with Mango ripe and tea. Unbelievable, this Mango ripe is like eating candy. It's so tasty and I was glad I did the tour to SM Hypermarket yesterday. I don't understand how they could say that Mango Apple was the same as Mango Ripe. But the Mango Apple ended up where Sverker would have put it, in the trash can.
Sunday and I'm still suffering from the Friday night adventure, but it's time to open my Thai books and visit the gym again. OK, I can't say that I missed my books and the gym yesterday, but it was nice to had it done. I spent the afternoon in my room trying to get some info from FUNKY TOWN. 100 000 tourists stranded in FUNKY TOWN trying to leave the country and I'm trying to get back home.
I had planned to be on a nice club in FUNKY TOWN Friday night, but right now it looks bad.
So what do I think about the whole thing? Well, it's their country and if they want to get rid of corrupt politicians I wish them good luck. In Sweden we have had Ådalen and it took causalities to fight the unfairness and corruption. They did it in Sweden 70 years ago.
It's like in Manila, our BRM Teacher were fighting Marcos. Dodging bullets while occupying a radio station. They fought for their life’s to get rid of the Dictator. But democracy turned in to a big disappointment. Rampant corruption, poverty and no hope for the future.
Politician with a 20 dollars in salary and they have billions on their bank account. I think it's a safe bet saying that the billions are not coming from saving one US per month.
Imagine the frustration loving your country and to see that there is no hope. Now I mean those people loving their country risking their life occupying e.g. a radio station to overthrow a dictator. All for the good of the people and it all turns out to shit. The richer just get richer f@cking over the poor people again and again.
Then we have the people claiming to love their country and the only thing they do is to rob their own people. You live in a country with a population of 50 millions. If you can steal a dollar from each one every day you will be filthy rich and of course you love the country.
Well, during my looking around for info on the internet I found a blog called Bangkok Guru, well worth a visit if you want info about the night life and stuff in Bangkok. It was not very good for finding any information about Thai Airways flight from Manila to FUNKY TOWN next Friday.
But I found some information to help us decided who to support, PAD or DAAD
Well, a little bit to think about when you making up your mind. Are you a PAD or a DAAD? Me??!! I'm off to bed, school tomorrow and luckily enough I'm in the afternoon class 1400 - 2100 so I will ask for an 8 o'clock call. That will give me time to study and to visit the gym before going to school. And for sure I hope to get some good news about my flight next Friday. I will give Thai Airways a call tomorrow morning.
Well, time for school again, but not until 1400 and I had time for tea and mango. I called Thai Airways and I did my Thai studies while waiting for them to reply. No reply!
Five reasons why you should not support the Democratic Alliance Against Dictatorship (DAAD):
And five reasons why you should support the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD):
I had to call the airport and they told me to call back on Wednesday. No information, not even a “we try to get our flights in to Pattaya or Chang Mai or whatever airport in Thailand”. It had been going on for almost a week and you might think they should be able to say something but “call back on Wednesday”. They should have all their top brass on the job to at least try to come up with something. Check out Thai's Manila web page it’s all about YOUR DREAM HOLIDAY and SUPER DEALS. Not a word about cancelled flights. Thai's main page is not better. Latest Thai flight information, yeah, after looking around you find the link. It should have been with bold letters. Actually, the whole page should be information about the crisis at the airport and the latest news. Very bad service!
Well, I will hit the “Page up” key a few times to see if I can make up my mind to support PAD or DAAD. Some beautiful girls hang around the airport. What a shame we can't get there. If I'm lucky I will get a flight to Hicksville and a 48 hours bus ride to FUNKY TOWN.
- Hmm, by the looks of the pictures of the DAAD supporters above Hicksville might be my last choice as port of entry to Thailand.
Well, while visitors to Thai's web page sets sail to their dream destination I'm setting sail for school and today’s adventure when we start the ECDIS course.
I arrived to school just before 1400 and I went to the accountant to pay my 20007,5 Scooby Dollars with today’s US dollar course. I wanted to pay my ECDIS course last week when I paid my BRM course.
- You cannot pay until you start the course so we know the latest exchange rate!
Well, we also got our new schedule, from tomorrow we will start at 0700 and we will finish at 1400. And this is the schedule for the rest of the week and I guess that means good bye to my mornings in bed. So when I came back to the hotel I asked for a 6 o'clock wake up call.
- Every morning! 0600 and 0615 (Always good with a back up call)
Coming back from school and I bought some LOW FAT milk and diet drinks. At 7/11 they only had FULL CREAM MILK and I had to go down 100 meters on Borgus to the next convenient store and they had LOW FAT milk. I passed a restaurant on the way down Borgus and I could hear the guests whispering.
- What a nice shirt!
Well, drinking tea eating Mangos watching the latest up dates from FUNKY TOWN International. Nothing is happening around there and I can as well prepare myself for staying the weekend in Manila. School is over on Friday and I can as well move down to Malate. No need to hang around Makati when I don't have to go to school in the morning.
For sure the night life had more to offer down there. Makati and Borgus, the depressing red light area in Manila is no place I want to spend more time than necessary. Well, internet is a good thing to have and I started to check out different hotels in Malate. So if I don't have any luck with Thai Airways on Friday I will leave Makati.
Well, getting time to go to bed, as mentioned before they will call me at 0600 and I will have time for tea and mango before taking the taxi to school.
MY back up call turned out to be a wise move. At 6 o'clock I was not in a mood to get out of bed. dead tired after just a few hours sleep. I felt asleep around 3 o'clock after tossing and turning for a few hours.
When I finally got out of bed I made tea and I had my GOOD MORNING tuna and mango.
- DARN! That is some really good Mango they have here!
I took a taxi and I arrived to school a few minutes after 7 and I was delayed at the diet drink machine. There was a service man working with the machine and he had to close up the darn thing before I could buy my diet drinks. I stepped in to the classroom 15 minutes after 7.
But I already told them yesterday when we got our new schedule that I would be late.
- They don't start serving breakfast until 7 o'clock at my hotel, I said.
Well, I stay in my room eating Mango and drink my tea. I have a full set of breakfast tickets that I have not been used. Maybe I can sell them to someone?
I have been in Manila for almost 2 weeks only
eating mango and tuna (almost) and I have never felt better. And the taxis, are they getting bigger by the day. No, I put my money on that it’s me getting smaller.
Well, today we had to make a route through Singapore Strait and then we should follow the route with the ECDIS. I was lucky and I got a container ship making 25 knots. I was at the Eastern Boarding way before all the others and I could go back to my hotel. Back at my room I had tea and more mango. I had planned to go to Thai Airways in the afternoon, but first I studied my Thai and I went to the gym.
I got the good news at Thai Airways office. I have been a wee bit worried about coming home due to the blockade of the airport and for sure it had put some gloom to my stay in Manila. But at Thai they told me that they would endorse my ticket on Friday if the flight to FUNKY TOWN were cancelled.
- We will put you on a Philippine Airline to Hong Kong and from there with a special Thai Airways flight to U-Tapao, arriving 2230.
- So now I know I will be out of here, even if I don't mind being in Manila. But I know that I can get home.
Post on www.thaivisa.com about U-Tapao during the occupation of FUNKY TOWN International November 2008. So I'm not looking forward to arrive to U-Tapao Friday night.
Arriving to U-Tapao is nothing I'm looking forward to. But I have upgraded my ticket to BIZ and hopefully I don't need to check any luggage and thus I hope to avoid the pandemonium at the U-Tapao luggage claim.
We get to U-Tapao about 4:45, and it is packed! 4 jumbos were diverted from Suvarnabhumi, arriving at about the same time, and they have 2 customs officers on duty! Still, I forgive them as U-Tapao is not used to this, and those of us from Phuket were guided through unhindered(as it was a domestic flight).
More was to come however. U-Tapao has just one luggage carousel. If you've ever been to a British Pub on a Saturday night, when people are queuing up five-deep at the bar - that's what it felt like. I couldn't even see the belt, let alone get to my luggage.
However, Bangkok Air arranged for our luggage to be brought out through a side door, so we got it sooner than those on the jumbos!
Once outside the airport, there was more chaos. Masses of tour busses, taxis, private cars and people everywhere. I managed to find the Bangkok Air bus to Pattaya (cost 250 baht), and finally arrived home at 6:30. Only 5 hours late!
After Thai Airways I went to buy some mango at SM Supermarket at Glorietta. A few cans of tuna and 6 packages of mango. Toblerone for the girl at the entrance and I took a taxi back to the travel agency next to my hotel.
I told them that I got my flight to FUNKY TOWN with Thai Airways so they could stop looking for a ticket for me. I had stopped at the travel agency before going to Thai Airways. I just wanted to check if it was possible to get a ticket to Thailand. The best way was via Singapore to Phuket. But know I don't need to go via Singapore.
I returned to my room and my kettle. I switched on the news and the FUNKY TOWN airport is not under siege anymore. They expect the airport to open 15th of December. A little later they said that they will open the airport for passenger traffic 4th of December. Maybe I can fly to FUNKY TOWN staying clear of U-Tapao International. But we see, Manila - Bangkok leaves at 2000 and the Philippines Airline leaves 1440 to Hong Kong
1440 and it might be tight with my school and then I have to stay here until Saturday and I will be back home Saturday night. But we see what happens and I don't mind Friday night in Manila. So I recommend all the stranded passenger pissin' and moaning about Thailand to go to Philippines next time. Cheaper and very nice people and as beautiful beaches as they have in Thailand.
Well, we see what happens in Thailand. PAD will leave the airport due to the latest news and that's about time. And if the election doesn’t go their way next time they know where to find the airport. Never mind who wins, it's always the poor that got f@cked over. PAD protesting against the government, but is there anyone thinking that the others are better?
Wake up call at 6 o'clock. It's the same story every day, I'm in bed reading and suddenly it's 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning and when it's time to get out of bed I'm half dead.
But today I knew that I had a flight home so at least I didn't had to worry about that. Of course, this information should have been on Thai Airways web page, but no information what so ever. Bangkok Post had an excellent page for information and I can't help wondering why Thai Airways couldn't come up with something like that.
I arrived to school just after 7 (15 minutes past, well, almost 20 past. I had to engage the whole school to get diet drinks out from the soda machine at arrival to school) and we got straight to the ECDIS. We went through the last buttons and menus on the ECDIS and we were off to a passage planning and then in to the ECDIS simulator.
I'm is school with, well, mostly guys that will sign on for the first time as Deck Officers and of course it takes longer for them to do all the stuff. I have been around for a few years and I should do it way quicker than them. If I should have taken the same time as them something would have been wrong.
Japan-Canada and I had been in Singapore, Bangkok and Sweden and some of them were still in Japan. So I had plenty time to talk with our Teacher about the good old time and I spent a good hour with the girls supplying the lunch at school. Without eating, I wait until I'm back on my room, my fridge is full of Mango.
2 week in Manila and no restaurants. I feel VERY good, but man! Is this boring or what? Last time in Manila I always stopped at restaurants when on town. Tony Roma's, The Old Spaghetti House, Tempura and many many more. Every day it was 2 or 3 restaurants. I stay at the hotel and I do something that I never did before, not only that I'm at the gym every day. I'm making tea and I eat mango and tuna in my room. Morning, lunch and dinner. What the BIP is going on??!!
I spent a good ours with the three girls in charge of the food. I think its one Aunt and three nieces working there and they are very friendly and I enjoy their company.
I left school around 12 and I was back in my room some 20 minutes later. I was making tea and after my tea and mango I studied Thai and I was off to the gym.
I had been at the gym for about 10 minutes when the guy in charge came in. He asked how much weight I have lost.
- I can see the difference from the first day you came.
- Of course, after 2 weeks with only mango and gym!
Well, My self esteem got a boost of his comment and I felt a wee bit more handsome when I left the gym. But a set back was lurking behind the corner. But when I left the gym I was luckily unaware of this set back.
I was leaving my hotel after my shower. I wanted to go look for software and I stopped a taxi. I was soon dropping me off. He didn't want to go to Malate.
- It's heavy traffic!
I got out of the taxi and I found myself in front of Tempura and I stepped in to the restaurant for some of the tenderloin wrapped asparagus.
On the way back to my hotel I decided to give Malate another try so I stopped a taxi. I was soon running in to my second set back. At arrival to Robinson in Malate I bought an ice cream and that was enough to make me feel guilty. But what the BIP! It's only a small ice cream, never mind!
When they called me at 6 o'clock I was tired. Luckily enough my back up call got me out of bed. Damn! I only slept for about 3 hours and I was tired. I was so tired after only 3 hours sleep yesterday and I almost fell asleep in the taxi back home from Malate. But as soon as I went to bed I became wide awake.
Well, tomorrow it's the last day and I'm off to FUNKY TOWN again. Saturday and no wake up call, hangover or not. I was in school and first thing was my GOOD MORNING ritual with the soda machine before I could go to class with 2 cold diet drinks.
I spent most of the class surfing the internet. Today we should go from Norway to St. Petersburg via Great Belt in Denmark. I have passed here millions of times and I was ready in 5 minutes. I killed a few minutes with the computerized ECDIS training, it was all the questions for the test tomorrow.
I spent time on internet and the girls working with the lunch got a visit. I spent quite some time with them and I checked out Internet for information about Friday night in FUNKY TOWN. The King of Thailand has his 81st birthday on Friday. So I needed to check out if there was any clubs open or if it would be closed. Honestly, might be best if they would be closed. I know myself and I know how it will end.
I left school just before 12 and our Teacher told me to be back at 8 o’clock tomorrow. At 8 we will have the exam and between 7 and 8 we will go through some off the stuff again.
- But you don't need this, so it's enough if you're here at 8.
It was raining cats and dogs when I left the school and I was lucky to have the elevated highway above the street outside the school when I was waiting for a taxi to pass by. The road outside the school is coming from the new airport terminal and sometimes it's a long wait until there is a free taxi passing. Not that many taxis returning from the airport without passengers.
But every day the security guards are there to help me. As soon as they see me they are coming to help. Very friendly, but sometimes it's a little annoying. But they are only trying to be nice so what to do? You can't tell them to leave.
- I can do this myself!
Finally there was a taxi and we took off towards Makati. I was hungry so I decided to get off the taxi at Tempura for lunch. Well, my diet, I don't think there will be much problem. Its pure meat and not many carbs. Only a little in the rice, but I don't feel so bad about it.
My lunch, tenderloin wrapped asparagus at Tempura
I ordered 2 (TWO) asparagus and one fried beef. I'm more worried about the sauce, but it's a Japanese restaurant so my guess is that it's healthy food. They live until they are 120 years old in Japan.
I finished my lunch and I walked up Borgus street to my hotel. I passed 7/11 and I thought “NO MORE DIET DRINKS” and I walked by. Back in my room I opened my Thai book and I called room service.
- Can I please have 2 diet drinks?
I was soon asleep and I woke up with a beep from my computer. New e-mail and it was from Broström. I'm on waiting list from FUNKY TOWN and I have a reservation from Kuala Lumpur on Monday evening to JFK via Amsterdam. So now we try to get me from FUNKY TOWN to KL.
I went down to the gym, but it was crowded and I suspect it was the people working there or friends to the guy working there. There was even a guy lifting weight in shirt and tie. My mood turned sour and I left for my room.
I need to go to Thai Airways office at Ninoy Aquino International Airport to get my endorsement to Philippine Airlines. First they wanted to put me on Cathay Pacific, but the flight 5 o'clock in the afternoon was full and 1230 was too early for me. I'm still in school and the only option was the 1450 Philippine Airline to Hong Kong.
Departure hall at Ninoy Aquino International Airport
Ninoy Aquino International Airport is very old, at least it looks very old and it made me think of an airport in a poor African country or an airport in some Banana Republic. I went to Thai Airways office on the 4th floor and there were debris and the whole place was worn and shabby. There have not been any painters around here for many many years.
At Thai Airways office I saw a sign that made me burst in to laughter, I could not help myself. Who the BIPPING BIP do they try to f@ck?
Developments of the Philippines??!! Everyday going back from school I have to sit with my valet open. All the children, disabled and incapacitated begging for money at the traffic lights. OK, its dirt cheap here so I take it as an extra VAT. As I told our Teacher the other day, the government should take all this children and put them in school and they will pay tax in a few years. But as it is now they will grow up to become nothing but prostitutes and gangsters and to end up in jail one day. A f@cking shame!
It will be used for the development of the Philippines! That was a good one! Hmm, I wonder in who's pocket these money end up in, for sure, the tax remittance from your purchase won’t be to any help to the guy jumping around Borgus street with one leg and one arm.
When I came back from the airport I asked the driver to stop outside 7/11 and I got 2 diet drinks and I was off to pack my stuff. I paid my bill so I can leave for school tomorrow without any delays and straight from school to airport.
Wise from my last visit to Manila I had brought an extra bag. Good, my wheeled unit was full of snus. 20 rolls of fresh snus and I'm good for a while. At least good for the expected 10 weeks on Bro Promotion and there will be a few rolls left to get me going until next course in Manila.
School starts at 8 and today I could sleep until 0630 and was I lucky that I prepared most of my luggage and paid my bill yesterday. I made a terrible mistake when I ordered my wake up call, I wanted to get off of bed at 0630 but I ordered the call for 0730.
Luckily enough I said no when they asked if I needed the second wakeup call when they called the first time. I got out of bed and I turned on my computer to get the latest news on the internet radio. I sat at the desk minding my own business sure that I had plenty time. I checked my watch, 0635.
- WHAT!! 0735!
I was still drowsy with sleep and it was hard to see the hands on my wrist watch and I had to check the clock radio above my TV.
- MOTHERF@CKER! IT IS 0735!!
I threw myself in to the shower and I grabbed my bags and I left my room behind. Coming down to the reception I got a second chance to congratulate myself for the wise move to settle all my bills yesterday.
I was lucky with the taxi and we took off for school with screamin' and smokin' tyres.
Me and my class mates on the ECDIS course 1 to 5 of December 2008 at Norwegian Training Center
We did our exam and we also did one practical test and I was pretty much off to the airport. Well well, what do you know? I had to check in my luggage and that means I have to pass through the immigration in Hong Kong and then I have to check in again in Hong Kong. I just hope they destroyed all police records when they handed over Hong Kong to China or I can be in a wee bit of trouble. Nothing I want to elaborate, but it's not one of my proud moments.
I try my best to forget all about it, but I guess that I will have to bear in mind for the rest of my life. OK, 2 security checks and I were finally in the Mabuhay Lounge waiting for my flight.
I had two very small sandwiches at the lounge for
breakfast, not more. After 2 weeks of fruit and tuna I look a wee bit smaller and I will not destroy it first day by eating a lot of sandwiches and cookies.
Boarding time 1405 and I could see the Stewardesses getting onboard at 1410. So as you understand, it was the normal chaos at the gate when the boarding started.
Well, I stayed clear of the gate while watching the passengers climbing on each other trying to come onboard the flight. Millions of people flying to Hong Kong and onwards. But even though they started boarding later than 1405 (Surprise) we left in time.
I was in seat 2C so I waited until last to board. I found BIZ to be almost empty and I was really happy about it, good service was expected.
Well, sitting in my seat, aisle, I booked a aisle back when I was at Thai Airways office a few days ago. But it was almost empty and I moved my arse over to the window seat and I got a great view over Makati when we taxied to the runway.
And I really must say that I'm looking forward to come back to Norwegian Training Center. You know what they say at every airport in the world:
WELCOME TO OUR COUNTRY! THE FRIENDLIEST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD!
Where do they come up with all this bullshit? But Philippines and Turkey, believe it or not, have a very friendly population. Everyone wants to help you and you feel a little awkward before you get used to it. First you think they are licking your behind to get a little money, but them really wants to help you.
Manila International Airport
When we had taxied to the runway we had to wait for a while for two incoming airplanes. OK; I don't like to fly and it don't make it much better sitting and watching this two airplanes landing just next to us. When they are approaching the airport it looks just like they will hit us.
Manila International Airport
Take off and not long after I had my first glass of wine. Our Stewardesses did not even frown when I asked for some ice.
Lunch was Salmon, scrimps as a started and the it was chicken and more wine. Well, wine, just bring it on and keep my glass full.
But it's strange, I felt so small this very morning while waiting for my certificates. And I felt like a million after 2 weeks of my healthy life style. Ample room in my shirt and trousers and life was looking good. But as soon as I boarded the aircraft I felt like an anti aircraft balloon again. I don't know why, but I know that after a few glass of wine I felt like a very handsome man again.
Well, I only flew with Philippine Airlines one time before and that's almost exactly 20 years ago. Manila - Hong Kong back then as well. I arrived to Manila and I can't say that I liked Manila back then.
I arrived sick from FUNKY TOWN and when I finally was back on my feet I discovered Mabini street, back then a real shady place, the notorious Manila Red Light district. It was like a big garbage dump. So I was in a hurry to leave and I went to Philippine Airlines at Roxas Avenue to get out of Manila ASAP and I ended up in Hong Kong.
Well, that was a quick trip down the memory lane. OK, I managed to get a wee bit tipsy on our way to Hong Kong.
Approaching Hong Kong and looking out of the window my first thought was that the Pilots got it all wrong. Looked like we were about to land on the old airport.
- Hmm, maybe I should go to the cockpit to help them out?
The old airport was also sticking out in the water and you took off in the middle off the city. This is the first time for me on Hong Kong's new airport. At least I think so, well, I'm pretty sure any way. Immigration and there were millions of people, but it went pretty quick and it was my turn.
I was a little nervous, especially when the Immigration Officer scanned my passport and a buzzer vent off. I could see myself being dragged away by the Immigration Police while screaming:
- I WAS YOUNG AND STUPID!
Luggage claim, proceed to Terminal 2, down stairs, upstairs, Check In, down stairs again, through Immigration, shuttle train and up stairs. Hong Kong's new airport and Brussels’ airports are for sure the worst airports I have visited (In the civilised world).
I bought a pair of new head phones before proceeding to Thai's lounge where I had a few glasses of wine while listening to music in my new head phones.
I had time to update my web page and my flight is leaving in 30 minutes so I'm better off leaving now. But I don't have to fly to U-Tapao, they will fly to Bangkok and a bustling night life, I hope.
I also got e-mail from Broström, they got me on a flight to New York late Monday night so no need to Scooby Doo around with Phuket and Kuala Lumpur. Very good!
Well, our flight left in time and a few bottles of wine later we arrived to FUNKY TOWN international and things were working just fine even though the airport had been occupied by hooligans for 8 days.
I will put a audio clip from the Swedish radio about the “Airport Incident” and it's hilarious and I was wetting my self when I heard it. It's in Swedish and Skånska only. And the file is 1,5MB so if you don't have broadband it might take some time.
Well, it's soon time to sign on M/T Bro Promotion in New York.
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