The Traffic Cop

Soaking up the local culture in small village in north east Thailand is most probably best achieved during local community events. One of the more notable of these would have to be Songkran.

What historically started out as well wishing ritual and a passing on of good luck has transformed into a nationwide, three to five day water fight.

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What is not always obvious is how this event calls on local community members to help maintain a certain order. Now, the demands placed on theses certain individuals can’t be too onerous so as to not enjoy the festivities. The local constabulary will don colorful “Songkran” shirts and infiltrate the throng of revellers.

One such individual was a definite standout though and had to juggle the functions he was prevailed upon to perform. Hmmmm…… What to do, do I squirt the passers by with my water cannon or do I direct on coming traffic?

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All I can report is that there were no traffic accidents and definitely a huge number of soaked locals.

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Songkran Day 1

Yesterday’s trip to Thailand was predominantly uneventful. Thai Airways was sensational as always and as much as I don’t sleep on planes the time seemed to pass quite quickly.

We arrived in Bangkok 6 am and the first order of the day was to obtain a SIM card for my beloved’s iPhone. This process has been made relatively easy as True now have a SIM card shop in the arrivals terminal. This just requires the owner of said device to remember their Apple ID and password. And that’s when the fight started…….

With SIM card issues resolved all we had to do now was meet up with our enterprising niece so we could off-load the near 15KG of lanolin creams and other skin enhancing products. Do check out PotterShopDirectfromUSA on Facebook.

With the import export rites out of the way it was only now that my wife realised airport personnel had singled out her suitcase with a “Heavy” tag. She seemed to be put out by this at first. I did impress upon her though, how lucky she was that Thai Air managed to get it on the same flight as us. Containers spring to mind……. (I did see “All Is Lost” last night and in the opening scenes I did think, “Hey that’s my wife’s suitcase”) BTW good movie.

Three hours later we were on a plane bound for Khon Kaen. I guess I could say that I’m now somewhat used to, no, dare I say, some what insular to being picked up from Khon Kaen airport. The event never leaves one with a feeling of normalcy and this time I was again greeted with a somewhat memorable event.

The main mode of transport here in North East Thailand would have to be without a doubt the ubiquitous pick-up. Available in all shapes and sizes, this vehicle fills a void in every Isan household. Our’s happens to have one with troop carrier accessory.

I have to side bar the ever memorable organisational skills of my wife and sister in-law at this time as without them it would have had five people arrive in Khon Kaen all at the same time. What’s the fun in that. 😄.

So not only was there no one to meet us at the airport when my wife and I arrived, we now had to wait three hours for the rest of the family to make their appearance. The locals were more appraised of our travel times than yours truelly. Or so it would appear.

When the troop carrier arrived I had to smile as twelve people got out to welcome five more with open arms. OK, I made the last bit up. They don’t welcome you with open arms. A simple sawasdee krup/ka and a smile will do.

Welcome home Johno……..

Black Box

As it would currently seem, the powers at be can locate an individual’s mobile phone to within feet. So from one who’s seen the odd Aircrash Investigation episode, I have to wonder why we can’t find a plane’s CVR & FDR.

They say that the battery for the pinger is only good for a month. Sensational given that planes can obviously be missing for much longer that.

So here’s an idea. If the FDR is recording the flight data as the plane is plummeting into an ocean, it should eject itself seconds before the crash. Same for a ground crash. Prior to hitting the ground the FDR transmits a localized coordinate to a global satellite system that in turn makes the airline and Emergency Services aware of the crash. The FDR can then proceed to upload the data immediately. It’s sadly obvious that the pilots are much too engrossed in crashing the plane to carry out the latter.

Or, airlines should be made to own data centers so that FDR devices can communicate in real time. Every flight is logged and recorded in real-time.

All planes should be low-jacked so as to overcome the ident squawk disabling factor. If we can do it with cars why not planes? Treat them like Yellow Cabs and nothing more.