I've been neglecting my online diary for the past few days, during which I've been relaxing in Thailand. Winding down for a few days at a high quality beach resort in north Pattaya, then for a couple more over the weekend at a different hotel closer to the party action in town. At the Pullman resort someone switched on the wave machine, the day I went swimming in the sea. The waves were coming in sideways and the water was warmer than that in the hotel pool. How nice to float in the sunshine, with the salty water helping soothe the skin on my arm which is recovering from some more bedbug bites -- apparently received somewhere in Vietnam.
Everywhere in Pattaya you can see Cyrillic characters and hear people speaking Russian. This is a huge destination for holidaying Russians. In Vietnam I only met one Russian. A 28 year old guy who worked for Ukoil and has two periods of 14 days' holiday a year. He was quite a character, who reinforced the stereotype of Russians taking a tipple as he topped up his coke using a bottle of golden alcohol. Colourful too, he didn't hesitate to join in the Karaoke on board the junkboat in Halong Bay (which sent me to bed early to escape the noise). When the lyrics screen malfunctioned he continued singing "Dragon Boat Cru-iss" when the default logo "Dragon Boad Cruise" came up.
Thailand isn't as cheap as it used to be. I'm sure I used to get 70 Baht for a UK Pound only a couple of years ago. Now I'm lucky if I can get close to 50 Baht. I have, however, bought myself some nice new shoes. A pair of trainers and a smarter pair of New Balance, probably for half the price I'd get them back home.
I'm writing from Singapore Airport, where I'm waiting for a connecting flight to Australia on my way to Wellington and the end of my journey. I arrive into Melbourne, then connect to Sydney. Because there's a time lag before my trans-Tasman hop to Wellington I have the chance to spend a day in Sydney. At least I will go to the central city for lunch, and perhaps a little more shopping.
Meanwhile, I'll add some more photos here from my time in Vietnam.