The Commute

bkk
Bangkok skyline

The Commute

A young girl stands weeping,
Waiting in line to board the plane.
Behind her a family of four
Shuffle forward their assortment of
Bags and purchases.
Teenagers splayed out on the floor,
Entangled phone chargers and
Preoccupied chatter.
Tannoy announcements ripple in the distance,
White noise to all.

Outside, convoys of suitcases
Zig-zag across the concrete apron –
The sky painted grey and about to strike.
This motley queue of human cattle
Inches forward,
Marking territory, clenching fists.
Talk of putting “a man on Mars” seems over-stretched,
As the minutes tick by and I wonder why
Putting one hundred people
On an airplane appears so much of a test.

We are airborne as my eyes open
And wince through the glare of the clouds,
Broken up and disappearing.
Many thousands of feet below and Monday morning
Crankily tilts on its axis.
The ennui of emails, the promise of lunch.
As tail winds pick up, the urban fringes of Saigon blur,
Our metallic tube arcs over Cambodian borders,
Paddy-fields and water buffalo,
Agrarian pastures – a daily grind of different stock.

Through glimpses of rubber smoke we land,
Suvarnabhumi airport, again.
Ten years of touching down here,
Too familiar a pilgrimage,
On auto-pilot
My toes twitch as I wait once more.
The young girl has long stopped her tears and stands nearby,
Nodding politely at the customs official –
Breathing in new beginnings,
Or the tingle of something left behind?

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The Travelling Bishops

Jubilee weekend, and we have been in Saigon for two recovery sleeps now, since arriving back from our trip to the UK on Thursday.

We left behind us some of the most glorious weather England has been drenched in for many months, as well as leaving a general maelstrom of children’s debris and overloaded dishwashers everywhere we went.

Ten different friends, family, and hotels helped host our fly-by visit, and although executed at break neck speed, it was all incredible fun and the memories will live on for a long time.  Thank you to everyone who helped make it so.

Never to be outdone in a game of “how hot is your balcony”, Saigon greeted us off our 16 hour flight last week with 35 degree rays, smouldering humidity, and hordes of commuters biking to work dressed as if there was a chill in the air. Continue reading

March journal

I’m back in Vietnam, after a two week trip that whisked me halfway round the world on six flights, three air carriers and through five separate countries.

From the humid south east over to the spring weather of bustling Dhaka, and onto the grey skies of London, where friends and family were all on great form and collectively excited about the clock change last night, and the prospect of saying farewell to winter days.

Saigon greeted me on Friday with that type of warmth you associate when you first step off the plane on a summer holiday in any part of the world where thermometers seldom drop below seventy five degrees.  I’d not been in shorts for a fortnight, and it was great to adjust back into being ‘home’.

If truth be told, I am not a great flyer.  Despite all the statistics I am still uncomfortable with the notion of hundreds of tonnes of metal, people and oversized suitcases cruising three miles up in the stratosphere.  Give me a nice train any day. Continue reading