Clearly There Has Been A Failure To Communicate…
Well we are back in our cozy apartment in Jiaxing. When last we wrote, we were in the balmy climes of Hua Hin, waiting to play our last round of golf at the #1 Golf Course in Thailand in 2012. Well, a story indeed.
We check in and are told that we should be able to get off about 20 minutes early. Great. We get changed and go to the starter – at least that was her apparent title. A more inept, incompetent idiot I have never seen (except for the guy a couple of years ago at the Pitt Meadows Club Championship Weekend in LoudMouth Golf attire, but that’s another story). Anyway, we were about a hundred yards with a hill between us and the first tee and there are 8 power carts lined up for 8 golfers and their caddies. I ask 2 or 3 times “Are we 2 or 4?”. Terry’s caddy shows her the rentals, Terry frowns and away they go, back to the pro shop and get her a better set of clubs. I’m still asking “2 or 4?” I hear a guy drive up and say to a two some, “I think I’m playing with you.” All of a sudden, people are going off towards the tee, so my caddy says “Let’s go, we get off first”. We head off, stop about 30 feet back to wait for the people teeing off and all of a sudden 3 carts whip past us, squeeze into the space so they can go next. My caddy says nothing. I look out and see on the first hole the following: a twosome, a single, a foursome and in front of us the ad hoc threesome. Then the two of us and behind us another threesome. We tee off 5 minutes late! My blood starts to boil and continues as we wait on every single shot – and there is no exaggeration there – (with the exception of the putts) until the second shot on the eighteenth fairway. Any guesses on the kind of game I had? Here’s a hint – I walked more than I rode. On the other hand, Terry had a great game, shot a 97 and had fun with her caddy (who commented “Papa upset” Ya think?). I do admit, though, my caddy didn’t have a great day.
Then it was back to the hotel to pack up our belongings and get ready for the trip to the airport. We went to our favourite Hua Hin restaurant – Hua Hin Seafood Restaurant – for our last Thai meal – Lobster Thermidor, Grilled Squid, Grilled Morning Glory, Rice and Chang Beer. It was excellent, although Terry feels we may have had some of our lobster misappropriated to other plates.
We get picked up for our 3 hour ride to the Bangkok Airport at 8:30. Apparently, the driver’s sole goal was to get there in less than the allotted time, irrespective of speed limits, traffic, road conditions (ie potholes, bumps, construction) and the fact that any shock absorbers or springs his van once had were loooooooonnnnnngggggg gone. Our flight was leaving at 1:55 am (yes, a.m.) but we figured we would get a couple of hours of sleep in the van. HA! FAT CHANCE! We get there in 2 hours 25 minutes, with my back saying “Good luck on the plane, pal”.
Now let me tell you about the Thai Airport, where line ups mean as little as they do in China – sort of. Remember now, we are flying back to Shanghai, China. This is hard to describe. We get in line to check our bags and are about 100 feet from where the guiding ropes and stanchions start. I notice, however, that, just where these ropes start, frequently the Chinese travelers will just butt in and move ahead into the line up. As a result, after 30 minutes or so we have moved about 10 feet. I go for a walk. I get a drink and on my way back, I stop at the point where the line enters the ropes. The next Chinese folks who approach, I tell “No, line up starts back there – all these people first”. They shrug their shoulders and go to the end, thwarted in their attempts. This goes on for the next ten minutes or so, with “our” line now moving just fine. Terry was sure I was going to get either arrested or punched out by one guy who wanted to cross the line to get into a group he was traveling with. However, now many people in our line want to put me up for sainthood or least they thank me profusely.
So now we are on the plane. We are still at the gate. 80% of the plane is still boarding. Across the aisle from me is a guy who has his hands folded in his lap, his chin on his chest and he is snoring – and loudly! He continues this all through boarding, take-off, meal time, colicky baby screaming in the seat in front of us, drooling, rest time and landing. Unbelievable – he never moved once. I never checked, but he may still be on that plane. We land, they tell us our bags are on carousel 12 and we go down and watch about 60% of the bags get unloaded and then – nothing. After about 15 minutes of nothing, a young man comes over to us and says “You were on the flight from Bangkok with us, right? Well the rest of the bags are now on carousel 9.” No message from the airlines, no one to tell us (and many others). Just change the carousel. Yes we are back in China!
We check in to our favourite hotel (The Paramount Gallery) at 8:30 a.m. “Yes Mrs. and Mr. Watt, of course we will get you into your room early – you must be very tired.” Terry goes off to get a cut and colour at Toni and Guy and I go off to hopefully get my computer fixed. I head down Nanjing Pedestrian Mall. Some Shanghai firsts: A 60 something, clearly gay white gentleman welcomes me to Shanghai and invites me for coffee; a buxom woman offers me a card which offers sex – I ask if it is her photo on the card – “No, no” she laughs; a second woman whispers “You want to pay for sex?” (isn’t that called marriage?) I say I am married “No problem”; a tall, 40ish very attractive woman with a shorter partner asks ” You want massage?” wink (literally) – somehow I don’t think it was going to be like Bird’s; two young (25ish), attractive women say “Aren’t you cold? You strong.” (I am in a short sleeve shirt) “Are you waiting for friend?” – maybe they were looking for a new Papa?
I go into the Apple store – “Maybe it is the cable, maybe it is the hard drive – you come back in 4 hours.” I come back and they say good news, it is the hard drive and we replaced it. “Good news? What is the charge?” “No charge” “What about all the data and photos from our three weeks in Thailand?” “Oh sorry, all gone”. Aaaahhhhh!! But, ta da ta da – Apple to the rescue – all photos you take (well, the last 1000) and upload to iPhoto go to PhotoStream – a giant hard drive in the sky so I am now downloading the photos back on to the computer, as I write. Thank you Apple (and thank you Geoff for having the foresight to buy an extra hard drive in January and back up your entire hard drive just before you left. Man, you are a genius!).
For dinner we go out with our bestest friends in China – Kim and Bruce, Chan and Greg, Lawrence and our newest bestest friends in China, Helene and Steve Henrichsen, at Lost Heaven – our favourite restaurant in Shanghai. We have much good food, much great wine and much much fun and conversation!
Today we come home – thus the subtitle to this blog (you were wondering, right?). Before we left for Thailand, I left a message with our neighbour Tina for our aiyu (cleaning lady) about the things we wanted done. One of them was to take everything out out of the fridge and clean it and that she could have whatever vegetables were in the crisper. Poor Tina misinterpreted and told Huang to either throw out or take anything in the fridge she wanted, clean it and unplug it, so we come home to:
- No chocolate
- No chili sauce
- No black been and garlic sauce
- No ketchup
- No butter
- No chocolate
- No frozen pork
- No frozen lamb
- No frozen shrimp
- No $40 worth of cheese available only in Shanghai
- No assorted other condiments not easily available and gathered over the past five months in China.
- No things in the fridge at all
- Did I mention no chocolate?
Clearly, we need to be more careful about our communications! After all, the responsibility in any communication is with the sender, not the receiver, isnt it?
(Ed. note #1: I am noting a disturbing pattern here – fewer and fewer comments to keep us going. Will work for strokes, folks. 😦 C’mon, do your part – there are hundreds of you and just two of us.
Ed. note #2: While you are now up to date with our last day, due to the equipment malfunction, we have missed some interesting anecdotes. In the next few blogs we will regale you with Tales of the Floating Market, The Trek to The Bridge Over the River Kwai, Jasmine versus James, Naval Protection, The King, The Return of Krabi and 7-11: The Training Ground)