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Well, the homeward trip has begun. Yesterday’s water taxi trip on Bangkok’s Chao Praya river and BTS Skytrain jaunt into the heart of the city seems like a lifetime away already. We’re flying back to the UK with Etihad Airines via their hub in Abu Dhabi. I’m not a great fan of flying. The romance of being stuck on a thin metal tube with 300 odd souls as it skims its way above the planet at 37,000ft was lost years ago. I don’t think the name ‘Airbus’ does much to bring that lost era back either although the planes Etihad use are very well equipped with a large variety of film, TV & music channels to help make 6 hours clamped in a set with legroom that can best be described as ‘cosy’, bearable. I always envy my partner’s ability to sleep on planes. She had over four hours kip whilst I took in a couple of films, including the WW2 Tank movie ‘Fury’ starring Brad Pitt (I wasn’t very impressed with the Hollywood heroics & thin characters, but it did pass the time).

Now we’re kicking our heels in Abu Dhabi airport, waiting for our onward flight to Manchester. This being an Arab state, the only temptations put in front of your are those of financial excess. The airport is a well stocked consumerist haven – especially if you’re into brand names & expensive chunky watches. Oh, and chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate…

In the spirit of these straightened times we’ve kept our cash & opted to spend our hours catching up with the world using the airport’s free wifi. It’s not particularly fast but there’s no time limit. As an itinerant photographer I spend a lot of my life fighting with free wifi at airports, stations & hotels. I have to laugh when I remember my early travels and two words most folks under 25 will probably never have heard of:’Poste Restante’- those far off days when you used to have real, handwritten letters waiting for you to collect at nominated post offices in far flung lands. My, how the world’s changed. Then you’d wait months for news from home (unless you wanted to blow your budget on the occasional phone call via some temperamental state phone system where you’d pay a fortune for the privilege of shouting to your loved ones down a receiver that sounded like it was connected with string – via the moon ). Yet, in some ways, I miss those old days. The immediacy of modern communications has taken away some of the romance & craft that went into letter writing. Now it’s time to step back into the 21st century & publish these thoughts which will be accessible to a whole planet (should any of it bother to look) at the press of a button. So, here goes…

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