Photo A Day: Back in the Air

First trip in an Airbus A500-900. No overhead bins in the middle, only on the sides. Makes for a roomy feel. Here’s the route, BKK – HEL:

A great feature of this Finnair Airbus is the tail-mounted live camera. Here, in the queue to leave Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport:

Here, jukin’ out over the Gulf of Thailand:

Here, over the Gobi Desert:

Collected photos from this slow trip around the world here.

CS&W’s Graceless and Rude National Character Survey

Time to raise some ire. Based on strictly personal experience, here are some stereotypes that are sure to offend. All in good, clean fun. I think I’ll add more as they occur to me. Feel free to irritate your own chosen ethnicity in the comments.

NATIONAL CHARACTER

Finland: Stubborn. Not malevolent.

Germany: No excuse for the disappointment that is their food.

India: Does luxury well. Wealth disparity allows this. High end more affordable for tourists than elsewhere.

New Zealand: Permanent slightly perplexed look. Sunburnt. Buggy eyes.

Pacific Islands: Collective motto: “Don’t hurt me please.” The ukelele and all its music is the cause of this.

Paraguay: Important only to Paraguayans. Who are sweet and all, sure. Still.

Scotland: Paternal. Strong men will take care of you. Like it or not. Ireland has some of this.

Thailand: The world’s consistently strangest names. Like Kejmanee Pichaironnarongsongkram. Except possibly

Turkmenistan, whose leader is Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow.

Turkey: Tirelessly gracious but with a useless language shared by no one but Central Asians. In Turkish, as often as not the “G” goes away. “Erdogan” is pronounced “erdo-an.” A “C” with a cedille, “ç,” is pronounced “dj” like George. Çiragon is “Jiron.”

USA: Groupthink. If you want, you can really think things through and work out what you think. But you have to do more than ‘like’ things on Facebook. Why bother? Your tribe’s news channel can think everything through and tell you.

Vietnam: Wiry. Persistent. Shake hands with tight grip. Prim. Barefoot.

Christmas in Bangkok

We got about eighteen hours this time in Bangkok and found it sweaty, trafficky and polluted as always, and also as always, serving up some great food. This is how it looks in every direction as far as the eye can see.

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No sign of the tens of thousands of protesters here at Siam Square. The hotel lady said they’re based around the Victory Monument, about twenty minutes by car, but she reckoned there wouldn’t be many of them today because they have to work.

That’s some revolutionary fervor.

I know we’re tardy making our first trip through Suvarnabhumi Airport since it’s been open some seven years already, but it’s a welcome shiny replacement for the rambling old Don Mueang airport. Only trouble is it’s about a half day outside town by Bangkok traffic just like Don Mueang was.

So today it’s Bangkok to Gangtok, the air portion courtesy of Druk Air, Royal Bhutan Airlines. I’ll have a report.

One more thing: No trip to Bangkok would be complete without dropping in on Miss Puke. She’s alive and well.

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Next Stop Saigon

We’re off soon for a bit of holiday travel – our fifth visit to Vietnam and third to India, with a stop in Bangkok in between. It’s been five years to the month since our last visit to Vietnam and we’re chomping at the bit to get out into the Mekong delta again. We’ll be spending time in Saigon, the floating market towns of Cai Be and Can Tho and the waterways in between.

You can’t beat Vietnam for photo opportunities. These photos are all from the Mekong delta, from previous visits.

Our destination in India is the former kingdom of Sikkim, nestled between Nepal and Bhutan, and sharing a northern border with Tibet and the high Himalayas. It’ll be our first time there.

We’ll write about it all here.

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There are hundreds more photos in the Vietnam Gallery at EarthPhotos.com.