On the Way to the Boat

After Bangkok in August, Part II

August 22-23, 2000

Tuesday, August 22, 2000

Good grief! Can this have anything to do with the popularity of Asian carriers? Or is it just their superior service that attracts all the customers?

Tonight I flew the successor to B.O.A.C.: British Airways. The non-stop flight from Bangkok to London was thirty minutes late in leaving Bangkok. Further delays in the air slowed us an additional thirty minutes. While on the tarmac at Heathrow, a faulty tractor delayed us a further fifteen minutes. Of course, all of these delays were "out of our hands."

The good new, however, was that my connecting BA flight to Edinburgh was also delayed. But, not delayed enough. I made it but my luggage did not.

My hotel room at The Balmoral is quaint; equipped with phone and power sockets shunned elsewhere in the world, it allowed the concierge desk to proudly show that it was well equipped with adaptors.

Incidentally, last night Watcharee and I had dinner in a Thai restaurant that is just a few blocks away from The Oriental. On our way home we took a sign-posted shortcut. Neither of us is sure as to whether this is an official pointer or one that is locally maintained. Anyway it demands attention.

Wednesday, August 23, 2000

Is NEWNES, by omission, saying something about this man, or…as in the case of many lists that go on and on and on…is the compiler just thinking about lunch and not being all that careful with the details…and, does this omission mean absolutely nothing? We'll never know.

NEWNES, in just four words, points to an event that did more to change the world than any other:


Last night Annie and I arrived at The Balmoral, our hotel for two nights. As you know, I flew in from Bangkok, via London. Annie came up from Florence, via Brussels. It is here in Edinburgh where we'll start our journey aboard the boat.

Little has happened to us since we arrived. We had dinner at MacDonalds. And, we did look out of our hotel window. We hope that things will get better as the day moves on.

Last September, at the very start of another B&R trip I said:

"All Butterfield & Robinson walks are built around written instructions. Even though these instructions might be misleading, ambiguous, wrong or even illegal they must be followed. For to do otherwise would do harm to the spirit of the trip. The goal of a B&R day is not to get from the starting point to the finishing point. It is something different. As this journal unfolds so will the &whys& of this type of trip. If you are reluctant to stick with me on this one, go back to the trips that I took with Linda to see "unfolding" at a different level. Have trust."

It's been almost a year since I wrote those words. A lot happened on that trip ... most tragic was the death of Norma Jean. But with the help of a link from Paul you can now go back to that Italian trip and read about what exactly happened to Norma Jean Milquetoast. Why it happened is still a mystery.

Things are, unfortunately, going to unfold differently this time. No longer will I have the luxury of bringing things to you in real time ... no longer will you be able to 'tune in' for the next installment and see what just happened.

"What do you mean, Alf?"

Let me tell you. I thought this would be the case: tomorrow Annie and I are heading out to sea ... well, to the seas around the Hebrides, or the Western Isles of Scotland ... and, our boat has no phone from which I can log on to anything. So, from now and until I am back in Bangkok on the 1st of September I won't be posting a thing. Edinburgh Military TattooAll the wonderful treats and terrors that B&R has laid out on our menu will go unnoticed ... for now, anyway. Perhaps I'll keep a journal as we drift along ... if so ...

But, wait. Tonight is the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Being the Golden Anniversary it should be very special. It takes place up at The Esplanade of the Edinburgh Castle. Annie and I have damn decent seats. Our boat doesn't leave until tomorrow. Let's see if I can shoot something.

How is this for a little bit of Scottish pomp?

After that Annie and I finished the night at Burger King.

Next ... Alf and Annie drop out of sight but then reappear unscathed.

Search WWW Search corkscrew-balloon.com