Misadventures in Naypyidaw: Year Three

Year three was perhaps the most surreal and my last. I spent most of it living in relative luxury at the Naypyidaw Hilton. The year was shaped by the Junta’s renewed ethnic cleansing against the Muslims in Rakhine State. My Canadian friend Lauren, initially a Peace Corps volunteer, talked me into moving in there. IContinue reading “Misadventures in Naypyidaw: Year Three”

Misadventures in Naypyidaw: Year Two

At the start of year two, the project needed fresh blood. The new staff intake were a mixed bunch. Two couples were recruited to help prevent the fractional personal issues that doomed the Residence experiment. Bill and Sharon were the classical ‘nice couple’ and more damnigly, dedicated professionals that took it all seriously.  Organisation veterans,Continue reading “Misadventures in Naypyidaw: Year Two”

Misadventures in Naypyidaw: Year 1, Part 2

Colleagues had fallen like flies. The project was ten weeks old and had already become a ‘what not to do’ example of remote working in developing countries. 1: Don’t put several adults in shared accommodation they are incapable of leaving when the frustrations build. 2: Be sure to recruit sane and emotionally stable people. 3:Continue reading “Misadventures in Naypyidaw: Year 1, Part 2”

Lessons from a Decade of Travelling

I was awaiting the departure of my plane. My phone rang; my mum’s departing words were ‘Don’t bring back a girl that does the ping-pong ball trick’. One of us had no illusions of what awaited; it wasn’t me, clearly. That call now approaches it’s ten-year anniversary, COVID sees me staying a kilometre from whereContinue reading “Lessons from a Decade of Travelling”

A Journey Through Naypyidaw

The ferry-bus was taking us across the tarmac at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport. The destination was the plane into Myanmar. It appeared a relatively new jet, which was reassuring as air travel safety is always a concern – you hear stories. As the idea of living to see tomorrow settled in the mind, the bus pulledContinue reading “A Journey Through Naypyidaw”

On the Chachoengsao – Bangkok Train

Fighting to get a seat means you might not lose face but you might lose a limb. The reader should disavow themselves of the widespread delusion that train travel in Asia was ever a romantic experience. Those holding fantastical thoughts of exotic winds, picturesque villages and exotic locals are likely to be disappointed. The windContinue reading “On the Chachoengsao – Bangkok Train”

On Attending a Stranger’s Funeral in Thailand

Thai monks always remind me of Discworld wizards, vaguely comical, and either morbidly obese or so body-horror sinewy you wonder whether their organs are still on the inside. “My dear, you have black dress?” My heart sank. Nina’s English can be a little cryptic at times. She couldn’t mean did I have a black dress;Continue reading “On Attending a Stranger’s Funeral in Thailand”