Originally Posted : January 2011
My lovely wife Gayle has finally been granted residency in Australia.
In order to trigger her residency, she is required to leave the country and return. (I guess the Government has a deal with the airlines… or maybe, the airlines really run the Government as we all suspected!)
Anyway, that means we are leaving this fair country again, albeit for a short time, and will spend some time in Phuket and the island of Phi Phi in Southern Thailand. We have found a new airline called Strategic which operates out of Brisbane on direct flights to Phuket. They have small wind-up aircraft with auxiliary pedals at each of the passengers’ feet in case we hit a head wind. Apparently this airline has been the first to introduce on-board rowing lessons and to date, they have never had a passenger drown – so they must be good. Mind you, I’m not sure that the rowers would survive the pirate activity in the area anyway.
We are allowed to pack a lunch, but of course they will charge us for carrying it on board. They suggest we should take rations for up to a week, a water desalination unit and shark repellent. I think I might include a gift to the pilot of a compass and a map just so we both agree on the general direction.
The heat from the erupting volcanoes should help us to glide at higher altitudes riding on the thermals, so I’m not as worried about the fact that they fill the fuel tanks with an eyedropper from an eye-cup.
I intend to take a few snaps while I’m away, but the best intentions rarely come to fruition these days. If I remember to pack a memory card, I will probably forget to bring a battery or a charger or something relatively important to the exercise. You get that.
The island hut that we are staying at in Phi Phi has only cold salt water showers, they reserve the limited fresh water for drinking, to maintain the local dysentery clinic with tourist dollars. We have been told that our cabin has a floor, but they refuse to tell us what it is made of. Internet will of course be patchy. Their concept of the web is largely based on the huge spiders that exist there, and electricity is only available for 2 three hour stretches each day – I guess that’s pedal power too. The island is very close to the mainland, but will still take 45 minutes to get there, or, if we are really strong, and the tides are not being ugly, perhaps only 35 minutes.
Expect us to be off line for the period June 8th to June 24th – if you haven’t heard from us by November, strike us off the Christmas Card List.
UPDATE: Strategic have changed their name to Air Australia – another wise strategy!