My Pride, My Thai part 17: Nearing the end

As my time in Thailand quickly approached the end, I felt that I had the very same feelings I have always had when having to leave. When Bangkok was my home, and I still worked sailing around the world in luxury, it was always the worst part about the year. I remember those holidays with great affection and the final week quite the opposite, the final days, the final hours and that final meal before having to leave to rejoin my ship somewhere in the world. You would think it would be easier as time went by and it became a routine, but instead, it became more and more difficult each time.†

To read:†My Pride, My Thai part 1: The Preparation†(opens in a new tab).†

To read:†My Pride, My Thai part 2: The flight†(opens in a new tab).†

To read:†My Pride, My Thai part 3: The arrival†(opens in a new tab).†

To read: My Pride, My Thai part 4: The first morning (opens in a new tab).†

To read: My Pride, My Thai part 5: Big C (opens in a new tab).†

To read: My Pride, My Thai part 6: Bangkok (opens in a new tab). †

To read: My Pride, My Thai part 7: 200 THB to heaven (opens in a new tab).

To read: My Pride, My Thai part 8: Bangkok - Ubon Ratchathani (opens in a new tab).†

To read: My Pride, My Thai part 9: Being a celebrity in Thailand (opens in a new tab).†

To read: My Pride, My Thai part 10: From Sisakhet to Sakon Nakhon (opens in a new tab).†

To read: My Pride, My Thai part 11: Sakon Nakhon (opens in a new †tab).

To read: My Pride, My Thai part 11-B: Coffee Love at Sakon Nakhon (opens in a new tab).

To read: My Pride, My Thai part 12: The long drive to see the King (opens in a new tab).†

To read: My Pride, My Thai part 13: Hua Hin Inbox (opens in a new window).

To read: My Pride, My Thai part 14: Returning to Kanchanaburi (opens in a new tab).†

To read: My Pride, My Thai part 15: The luxurious resort (opens in a new tab).†

To read: My Pride, My Thai part 16: LiT Bangkok Hotel (opens in a new tab).†

Life of a seaman passes in sections called time at sea, and holiday. At the time when I became an officer of a cruise ship in the early 90’s, the rotation was 16 weeks onboard followed by 16 weeks off. Towards the end, the roation had changed to 14 weeks on followed by 8 weeks off, and then finally, a 13 weeks on/off rotation. Finishing a holiday at home in Thailand, and having to return to sea was never easy for me. I know and I’m confident many other seamen have had the same feelings at some point in their career at sea.†

Today, my life is a slightly different since I’m currently serving on a ship in local waters in Norway. But, I still live my life like many seamen do: in periods on duty and in periods off duty. Life comes in periods, now in 2 week-3 week cycluses. Sometimes, it feels like I’m more on duty because you never get to fully leave. Work is too close when sailing here. Before, when sailing on cruise you left and never heard about the ship during your well-deserved time off. Now, with mobilephones and e-mail, you are in a way always on call for extra shifts, meetings, trainings, seminars and other calls. It’s like a neverending story.†

Anyway, the first part of the summer trip was quickly approaching and I would have to return to Norway for two weeks to do my shifts on the ferry. This time, it wasn’t too hard leaving Thailand because I knew I would be back again in less than two weeks. But, that being said, I still had the same feelings of everything being done that one last time. It’s almost like knowing you are going to pass on this life, and that everything you do, is never going to happen again.†

This last week in Thailand, I was busy trying to catch up with all the people I wanted to see again, while also making time to eat a lot of excellent food everywhere. All the delicious food everywhere is one of the best reasons for visiting Thailand I think: the taste and abundance is just mind-blowing (or perhaps I should call it stomach-blowing). Each day started with a spicy fried noodles with vegetables as breakfast at my favourite outlet in the food court at MBK shopping center, immediately followed by a trip to Wat Pathumwan for meditation, prayers and for making donations.

Locally streetside-made sweet coffee, as well as Starbucks (naturally), other snacks and delicious treats throughout the day followed. I also ended up visiting Manhatten Fish Market several times in the last week for an absolutely delicious dish of flamed shrimps with french fries and a glass of Lemongrass juice. The sauce on this dish probably contains gazillion calories, but tastes like a little piece of heaven. The amount of food available in Bangkok is nowhere near what I can find equally appealing in Norway. The great thing is also, when using the same outlet or same restaurant a couple of times over a short periode of time, does have it’s own benefits as well.†

Thankfully, I managed seeing a lot of great friends during some rather hectic, final days in Bangkok, even though I always wish I had so much more time. No worries though, as mentioned, I would be back again in less than two weeks.†

My last week in Bangkok definately made me see how set in my own routines I have become as I have aged. Many of the tasks I did each and every day was falling into a set routine very similar to what I had when living there. I sometimes tried imagining what and how it would be like to move back to Bangkok, and to pick up the thread where I left off when returning to Norway. One thing that is very ture is that when you first arrive in this gigantic city, you might get overwhelmed and dislike it because of all the noise, pollution, crowded streets and the unbearable heat. But once you have been here for a while, Bangkok creeps under your skin and you will NEVER be able to fully leave again. Bangkok gets you eventually, whether you like it or not.

I wonder, I wonder… how would my life have been if I had never left Bangkok? What would my life have been like if I was still working there? Would I have moved on to a different job, or would I have still been with the same company? These are questions that continously will be roaming around in my mind, and that might never be answered I guess. What happened before, already happened and nothing will change that. Sometimes I feel, that when looking back at my many years living in Thailand, it really feels like it wasn’t my life, but the life of someone else: the story of someone’s life that I saw in a movie or read about in a book. I have truly been blessed with an amazing life before, those years will forever be the†absolutely†best years of my life.†

I thank some of my best friends there for having always been there for me, and for still staying in touch. It means the whole world to me, and probably more than I can ever make you understand.†

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