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    Captain returns home to Thailand: May 18th, roundtrip to Kanchanaburi and Ang Thong

    Before I was ready to leave Thailand for this time, there was one more friend I wanted to meet and catch up with. Hence, a seriously long drive in the final moments of this visit.

    Going there by the fastest way possible, but returning through a sacred place I needed to visit in And Thong.... a giant Buddha in the middle of rice fields.

    Kanchanaburi first: and I have to share this one story with all of you: once I walked up to the giant Buddha statue in Kanchanaburi, I was brought to tears because of it's holiness and beauty. This was such a spiritual journey for me, and I was so extremely at peace meditating and offering my alms here.

    2017_05_18 Wat Tham Suea Kanchanaburi IMG_0716 by Captain Jan-Olav Storli, on Flickr

    2017_05_18 Wat Tham Suea Kanchanaburi IMG_0717 by Captain Jan-Olav Storli, on Flickr

    ....then quickly transcending to And Thong, just outside of Ayutthaya, the former capital of Siam:

    2017_05_18 Wat Muang Ang Thong DJI_0317 by Captain Jan-Olav Storli, on Flickr

    2017_05_18 Wat Muang Ang Thong DJI_0329 by Captain Jan-Olav Storli, on Flickr

    2017_05_18 Wat Muang Ang Thong DJI_0318 by Captain Jan-Olav Storli, on Flickr
    With best regards from Jan-Olav Storli

    Administrator and Owner of CaptainsVoyage.
    Main page: http://www.captainsvoyage.com

    Surround yourself with positive, ethical people who are committed to excellence.

    Comment


      It is incredibly nice to follow you through your photos from Thailand and your hometown No.1 Bangkok and your neighborhood pathumwan.

      It must be painful in a way to see your old apartment and think of everything you had to leave because of illness back in 2008.
      But the good thing is that you can travel back to Bangkok as much as you want when you are free from the ferry job.
      Best wishes from Bengt Domben

      Comment


        I've been gradually catching up today, especially these marvellous descriptions and photos of "Captain returns home to Thailand". It feels very emotional, and I was in tears at several points when you spoke of feeling things were perhaps not welcomed or of any interest to anyone.

        I am sorry if I may have sounded over-optimistic about following your posts while I was away - it is near impossible on the forum with slow and intermittent internet -
        but I dearly hope that you never actually doubted that I would appreciate your writing and images of Thailand.

        So glad that Ralf and Bengt have been around to give you such positive feedback and encouragement.

        Comment


        • nari
          nari commented
          Editing a comment
          I have never been to Thailand but what a wonderful example of emotions felt by seeing long - loved places. Thank you for sharing.

        Thank you for your explanations and comments. I am very impressed of the Bangkok pictures and especially of the view out of the hotel window in #103/7. Here you can see how close all together is and how each corner is used for something. Look what's all under this bridge.

        I understood well your fascination for big cities and your feelings there. You can be sure, you are a person which is well accepted by most of your sourroundings. There are always people who will not be on the same frequency as you, so what? There is no need to hide in the anonymity of a mega city. You should try to work on that topic. And while looking for friends just accept that they are also living a life of there own. There will never be 100% congruency.

        As for choosing an example we know both: i have big difficulties with Sterkoders faible for old army equipments and his meetings. But this comes from different mentality, education and history - so we have just extremely opposing feelings about that, but he is such a nice guy and i like him very much anyway.

        Isn't it just the forum where people join together which are so extremely different? And we are having a nice time together on our specific common base of interests: travelling, being open minded and indetested for different cultures.

        You did make big efforts in that topic during all these years, just start to believe in that!
        Lofoten '07 ...... Nordnorge '11

        Comment


          Oh, and thank you for reminding me at the Kong Olav pictures. So hard to believe and accept that she is gone now. She was just rotten, but still looked like fallen asleep, not ill or even dying.
          But after several visits on the old Finnmarken in Stockmarknes i can well see that there will be a state, when it is hopeless. A big loss, however.
          Lofoten '07 ...... Nordnorge '11

          Comment


            Originally posted by DS Lyngen View Post
            It is incredibly nice to follow you through your photos from Thailand and your hometown No.1 Bangkok and your neighborhood pathumwan.

            It must be painful in a way to see your old apartment and think of everything you had to leave because of illness back in 2008.
            But the good thing is that you can travel back to Bangkok as much as you want when you are free from the ferry job.
            Thank you so very much for your kind words, which means a lot to me. Pathumwan area and Pratunam will always have a special place in my heart.

            And yes, I can confirm, that it is always somwehat painful to see the familiar places there, as well as my condo.

            My leaving Bangkok was probably one of the hardest things I have ever had to do in my life, and something that still is fresh in my mind. Despite all the time having passed by.

            I guess it is little bit of that "what if...."

            Originally posted by Seagull View Post
            I've been gradually catching up today, especially these marvellous descriptions and photos of "Captain returns home to Thailand". It feels very emotional, and I was in tears at several points when you spoke of feeling things were perhaps not welcomed or of any interest to anyone.

            I am sorry if I may have sounded over-optimistic about following your posts while I was away - it is near impossible on the forum with slow and intermittent internet -
            but I dearly hope that you never actually doubted that I would appreciate your writing and images of Thailand.

            So glad that Ralf and Bengt have been around to give you such positive feedback and encouragement.
            I always knew especially you would come back once you have a stable Internet connection. And for that I humbly thank you.

            I have been "in training" with another consultant - aquaintance from Hong Kong, and he has tried imprenting me to stop wasting time with things that people apperantly doesn't want, or instead produce material that they do want. Sometimes I do feel this is an issue that bugs me.

            Thank heavens for the feeling of close friendship here, or I would probably not have been here myself anymore. There is a very wonderful feeling when I log in, as if it was to check up on close friends.

            We are spread over many countries and I always dream that one day, we'll all get together and have a great time.

            Originally posted by Ralf__ View Post
            Thank you for your explanations and comments. I am very impressed of the Bangkok pictures and especially of the view out of the hotel window in #103/7. Here you can see how close all together is and how each corner is used for something. Look what's all under this bridge.

            I understood well your fascination for big cities and your feelings there. You can be sure, you are a person which is well accepted by most of your sourroundings. There are always people who will not be on the same frequency as you, so what? There is no need to hide in the anonymity of a mega city. You should try to work on that topic. And while looking for friends just accept that they are also living a life of there own. There will never be 100% congruency.

            As for choosing an example we know both: i have big difficulties with Sterkoders faible for old army equipments and his meetings. But this comes from different mentality, education and history - so we have just extremely opposing feelings about that, but he is such a nice guy and i like him very much anyway.

            Isn't it just the forum where people join together which are so extremely different? And we are having a nice time together on our specific common base of interests: travelling, being open minded and indetested for different cultures.

            You did make big efforts in that topic during all these years, just start to believe in that!
            Thank you so very much Ralf! I don't know a lo tof people in Germany, but you are one of the friendliest and wonderful people I have met from Germany. You are a truly wonderful person and I will always cherish the short time we had together on the Hurtigruten on your last trip.

            You are right, the bridge you see out the window of that hotel room, is the elevated express way through Bangkok going north and south (in this image, you are looking northwards). Space is a prime and every thinkable place needs to be used in the best possible way. There are however a lot of open plots of land in Bangkok, many times, those are owned by someone which is waiting till the land-price is sufficiently high enough that they make the amount of money they expect, before selling.

            I love big cities, and I love contury sides (for a shorter periode), but most of all, I like to be in a location where I can easily go to both places within a short time. Strangely enough, you can find tropical jungles in and near Bangkok too.

            Originally posted by Ralf__ View Post
            Oh, and thank you for reminding me at the Kong Olav pictures. So hard to believe and accept that she is gone now. She was just rotten, but still looked like fallen asleep, not ill or even dying.
            But after several visits on the old Finnmarken in Stockmarknes i can well see that there will be a state, when it is hopeless. A big loss, however.
            Yes, it is a big loss to many of us. Though, we still have quite a few of the old generation Hurtigruter with us.

            At that time, she was nothing but a wreck. We could still identify her by her unique shape, but beneath all those steel plates and all that rotten wood, she was nothing that could be restored without an insane amount of money. I feel both glad and proud that we at least tried to do something with her, even though we started the work many years too late.

            PS: I saw on Facebook (I think) a few days ago, someone posting a picture of the ships bell, and saying it had arrived back in Stavanger again. Probably privately owned I presume.
            With best regards from Jan-Olav Storli

            Administrator and Owner of CaptainsVoyage.
            Main page: http://www.captainsvoyage.com

            Surround yourself with positive, ethical people who are committed to excellence.

            Comment


              Captain returns home to Thailand: May 19th, check out - check in:

              May 19th, it was once again time to do the ting I hate most about each trip to somewhere, and especially trips to Thailand. Late in the evening, it was time to check-out from Thailand, and check-in for my night flight back to Scandinavia.

              Remembering how bad the old Don Muang airport was decades ago, I actually like Suwarnabhumi Airport. But, that being said, it's absolutely not one of my favourite airports. For various reasons for example, this has become a really bad airport to spot and photograph aircrafts from inside the terminal building.

              I find it odd that they chose a design with windows in the manner they have been laid out, and yet, there seems to be no routines or procedures for cleaning them. They are so dirty in some places, that they only provide a foggy view of something resembling an aircraft on the outside - no matter what time of the day you are at the airport.

              There are no priority security control for Star Alliance Elite members on International flights, and there are nothing like that for immigration either.

              Security takes me normally about 15-30 minutes, which I think is quite reasonably, but Immigratioin can take as much as a full hour to clear.

              It's an advantage to arrive by business class, because you will (hopefully) arrive at Immigration before the rest of the 2-300 passengers, provided you are no t landing at the same time as an A380 from somewhere else.

              You can however purchase expedited process where you get picked up at the arrival gate by a golf cart, and taken to a special immigration line. But, it has a significant cost to it... I don't know what the current rates for this VIP service runs at, but in the past it's been 3-5000 THB depending on your chose provider.

              Best advice is to be patient, breathe and don't let the crowds stress you out. It's hard when you check in at 10 PM in the night and are most likely really tired from your long, last day in Thailand.

              Once you clear security and immigration, you enter the International temrinal and will see a must-photography statue.... I think I have taken a picture or two at every single visit to this airport.

              2017_05_18 Bangkok-IMG_0796 by Captain Jan-Olav Storli, on Flickr

              But, as a holder of an elite membership card with Star Alliance, my destination will always be away from the crowds.... or so I will always hope.

              2017_05_18 Bangkok-IMG_0800-EDIT by Captain Jan-Olav Storli, on Flickr

              The Royal Silk Lounge of Thai Airways is always super crowded around 11PM and midnight, there are literally tons of Star Alliance flights departing for Europe during that time. Even though the staff i curteous and helpful, there is often a lack of seats and sometimes even a lack of snacks.

              The benefits of being a Star Alliance frequent traveler has it's value in gold for me, and is also the reason why I have chosen to stick with Star Alliance. I know, this is just the way they want us to be - they give us a couple of finger sandwiches, a tiny hot dog and a glass of wine, and we'll continue flying for and with them. But, the lounge access and some other benefits takes a lot of the stress out of the flying. Also, I have dramatically changed the way I travel and fly too in the past decade.

              I have fine tuned my suitcase and carry on, perfected it to be as effortless for me as possible, I have started detail-planning all possible eventualities, I often opt for private chauffeurs instead of having to hail a taxi with a non-functioning AC, and being ripped off on the price, and I have learnt to walk slowly, observe and be quite mindfull.

              I'm a traveller, I have become quite an experienced traveler in fact.



              With best regards from Jan-Olav Storli

              Administrator and Owner of CaptainsVoyage.
              Main page: http://www.captainsvoyage.com

              Surround yourself with positive, ethical people who are committed to excellence.

              Comment


                Captain returns home to Thailand: May 20th, Acharasobhit อัจฉราโสภิต

                Whilst completely relaxed prior to my flight, and just waiting for the boarding time, one of the attendances of the lounge came over and asked me if I was "Captain Storli?".

                Yes, I am.

                "Someone is here to escort you to your aircraft".

                I was actually a bit surprised because I wasn't going to fly Business Class this night, but in economy, and this kind of service was usually priviledged to people flying First Class, and lounging in the First Class lounge.

                It turns out, the Captain flying me to Norway that night was an old frined of mine, and he had seen a post of mine on Instagram. He kind of guessed I would be on his flight and sent someone to pick me up in the lounge and chauffeur me out to the aircraft which was sitting on a remote tarmac. I think it was such a great gesture, and it gave me an opportunity to both take some additional images of the aircaft and for me to catch up with him before the ****pit doors would be closed off.

                This evening, Thai Airways Boeing 777-300ER with registration HS-TKU would take me directly to Oslo. I have flown on this aircraft countless times in the past, so it would be a familiar experience for me. The aircraft was delivered to THAI in January of 2014 and was at the time, a relatively new aircraft. She carried the Royally bestowed name Acharasobhit / อัจฉราโสภิต

                Do not quote me on this one, but as far as my understanding, the name hails from the ancient Khmer periode and means something like "beautiful angel", possibly also "heavenly angel".

                Please do correct me if I'm mistaken here.

                Here she is, my angel for the night:

                2017_05_20 Bangkok-Norway-IMG_0803-EDIT by Captain Jan-Olav Storli, on Flickr

                She is fitted with the massive GE90 engines... absolutely awesome to come up so close to such an amazing piece of engineering!

                2017_05_20 Bangkok-Norway-IMG_0802-HSTKU by Captain Jan-Olav Storli, on Flickr

                2017_05_20 Bangkok-Norway-IMG_0807-EDIT by Captain Jan-Olav Storli, on Flickr

                2017_05_20 Bangkok-Norway-IMG_0810-EDIT by Captain Jan-Olav Storli, on Flickr

                I really love this last image, taken as the first passenger transfer bus was about to leave from the gate:

                2017_05_20 Bangkok-Norway-IMG_0808-EDIT by Captain Jan-Olav Storli, on Flickr

                With best regards from Jan-Olav Storli

                Administrator and Owner of CaptainsVoyage.
                Main page: http://www.captainsvoyage.com

                Surround yourself with positive, ethical people who are committed to excellence.

                Comment


                  Captain returns home to Thailand: May 20th, Bangkok - Oslo TG954

                  It' no secret, I love flying more than anything else in life, and I have fallen in love with the concepts and benefits of Star Alliance and their partners. This night, I was in a very comfortable tripple-seat in economy class. the seats next to me had been blocked by check in staff, so I was guaranteed to be alone in three seats. The flight this night was full in business class, full in the cargo hold, and had a 70% capacity filled in economy.

                  I put my trust in the Captain and his crew on this Royal Orchid service to Oslo, and started my flight by admiring the extra special fly-over of Bangkok before we lifted into the clouds. The black shadow that you see is the massive GE90 engine slurping an unbelieveable amount of air.

                  2017_05_20 Bangkok-Norway-IMG_0817-EDIT by Captain Jan-Olav Storli, on Flickr

                  Well into the air, food was served and I was not disappointed at all. Well, to be completely honest, the sweets were the best part. Economy class menu this night:

                  2017_05_20 Bangkok-Norway-IMG_0825-EDIT by Captain Jan-Olav Storli, on Flickr

                  2017_05_20 Bangkok-Norway-IMG_0827-EDIT by Captain Jan-Olav Storli, on Flickr

                  2017_05_20 Bangkok-Norway-IMG_0823-EDIT by Captain Jan-Olav Storli, on Flickr

                  While we are on the subject of menu, here is also the manu for breakfast served prior to landing in Oslo early next morning:

                  2017_05_20 Bangkok-Norway-IMG_0828-EDIT by Captain Jan-Olav Storli, on Flickr
                  With best regards from Jan-Olav Storli

                  Administrator and Owner of CaptainsVoyage.
                  Main page: http://www.captainsvoyage.com

                  Surround yourself with positive, ethical people who are committed to excellence.

                  Comment


                    Captain returns home to Thailand: May 20th, Approaching Oslo with TG954
                    My favourite activity on any flight is looking out the window, and thinking about all the people and all the lives and stories on the rgound below. Looking at these pictures, I can't fathom we flying is boring: this is the essence of my fascination.

                    2017_05_20 Bangkok-Norway-IMG_0830-EDIT by Captain Jan-Olav Storli, on Flickr

                    2017_05_20 Bangkok-Norway-IMG_0835-EDIT by Captain Jan-Olav Storli, on Flickr

                    2017_05_20 Bangkok-Norway-IMG_0838-EDIT by Captain Jan-Olav Storli, on Flickr

                    On final to Oslo, this certainly looks like a Norwegian landscape to me:

                    2017_05_20 Bangkok-Norway-IMG_0846-EDIT by Captain Jan-Olav Storli, on Flickr

                    Eventually down, in Oslo, at a time when we still had to pick up our luggage, walk through customs and check in again, and finally having to do security one more time... thanfully, this is now a thing of the past!

                    2017_05_20 Bangkok-Norway-IMG_0848-EDIT by Captain Jan-Olav Storli, on Flickr

                    This was also back when the SAS Domestic Lounge was tucked away and extremely small. Now, the Gold Lounge is several times larger and a well appointed space (normally too full though)...

                    2017_05_20 Bangkok-Norway-IMG_0851-EDIT by Captain Jan-Olav Storli, on Flickr

                    After a few hours in Oslo, it was time to do the final leg up to Trondheim. It's funny that the tax free bags from Bangkok can give away which flight you came with before boarding the Trondheim-bound flight.

                    2017_05_20 Bangkok-Norway-IMG_0853-EDIT by Captain Jan-Olav Storli, on Flickr

                    And this would be the final image from this trip to Thailand.... nearing Trondheim and on the finals to Værnes:

                    2017_05_20 Bangkok-Norway-IMG_0857-EDIT by Captain Jan-Olav Storli, on Flickr
                    With best regards from Jan-Olav Storli

                    Administrator and Owner of CaptainsVoyage.
                    Main page: http://www.captainsvoyage.com

                    Surround yourself with positive, ethical people who are committed to excellence.

                    Comment


                      Interesting trip. Welcome home.

                      Comment


                        Congratulations! A great feeling to complete a trip report, which you intended so long to do, isn't it? And i really understand your feelings of asking, if someone at least is interested in all that work! Of course it would be better, to share all right at the time, when it happens, but on the one hand we are mostly restricted by the internet connection while travelling, and on the second hand.... well, we all like to travel and enjoy and it costs a certain amount of time for writing reports and comments and this is shortening the time of the voyage. You can also agree on that, Cecilia?!

                        Oh and thank you for your warm words. Thank you for being open for my comments, even if they include sometimes different opinions or even some critics. I am very glad about that. One of the worst things we can so is blocking ourselves. When i am noticing such signs, i have to write a comment.
                        Lofoten '07 ...... Nordnorge '11

                        Comment


                          Originally posted by Ralf__ View Post
                          ....You can also agree on that, Cecilia?!....
                          Ummm Ralf ....well on that second point, not exactly agree! Even on the more expedition style action packed Serenissima cruise I've just returned from, it was both possible and enjoyable to post a photo or two a day on Instagram, and Captain kept up with the ship and me that way.

                          But yes, trip reports on the forum are something else, and even when not on the move my days of writing and illustrating Seagull classics (like for example "A Few Days on Finnmarken") are long past. But I do have my moments - although the best bit of writing I've managed in recent times was the story about the domestic trials and tribulations of returning from a trip! and yes Ralf you were the one who appreciated and enjoyed it.


                          Comment


                            Pakarang! You excelled yourself with that superb photo of "The Churning of the Milk Ocean". Between us we must have a really big and varied collection of images of it by now! I had actually begun to take photos of it on my first visit to Thailand before I realised it was something you always did. But that's not really surprising - as you say it’'s a "must photograph" and everyone, pleased to have emerged from the queues at security, seem to pause, gaze, and frequently photograph it - even before the popularity of selfies.

                            The first time I arrived at BKK Business Class was with Emirates and they were rather good at giving out info cards for Business Class emigration. A number of us holding these red cards couldn't see any special lane, but I asked an official and was directed a little farther along from those huge queues. I also noticed a lane at that side with a sign for old folks like me (!) which I have since tried even in economy and allowed through. So I never seem to be in a queue for more than 10 minutes!

                            When I arrive at BKK on a flight in the morning around sunrise I head for the limousine service desk in the arrivals hall where I pay the fixed cost covering most of the central hotels, and am away moments later. I think it is well worth it to avoid the hassle of finding a reliable taxi. (Limousine transfer is included in Emirates business class fares by the way, even for distances like Glasgow to Edinburgh or Abu Dhabi to Dubai, but apart from experiencing their A380 with upper deck c0cktail lounge, I, like you am flying Star Alliance to Thailand.)

                            My hassle and stress avoiding tactic on the return journey to avoid early starts and unexpected delays on the way to the airport is to get there at a less busy time of day and stay at the airport Novotel hotel. They don't have fixed check in and out times - you have the room for 24 hours from the time you check in. It has various varied restaurants, spa, swimming pool in a garden court, and is a real relaxing treat at the end of a trip. They even have a shuttle bus to arrivals/departures although there is also a lower level walkway - that is how I managed to be in the arrivals hall to welcome you to Thailand on your November 2017 trip!

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