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Showing posts from April, 2010

The Thai situation

The current security situation in Bangkok is troubling, with the blockades, protests, shootings and now grenade attacks. I checked the government Smartraveller website and they advised that the major protester location is not too far from the hotel we booked for our upcoming trip. It's still a month before our holiday, but with at least three factions involved (the Redshirts, the Yellow/Multicoloured shirts and the army) my gut feeling is that the situation will not quickly be resolved. I guess that we could reroute our trip via Singapore, although availability on the Singapore to Hong Kong leg looks poor and indeed the only available Cathay Pacific economy seats are via Bangkok anyway! Just staying at the Bangkok airport hotel is another, rather unattractive, possibility, so long as it is not blockaded again. Last time that happened it cost the country dearly and it is difficult to imagine that the government would be happy for it to occur again. I read on the BBC website tha

The slow train

As I mentioned in Asia 2010 I'd like to catch a slow railmotor around the inland branch lines of the Chugoku region of Japan. It seems that I'm not alone in this, as I found an article entitled Enjoying the Primal Scene from a Local Train... A Trip on Local Line Seeking for Local Sake in Okayama ( Part 2 here ) that talks about some of the features on these branch lines. I'm still trying to recall if I actually enjoyed catching the local trains in past Japan trips. Japanese express trains tend to be so comfortable that the upright seats and slow pace of an "all stations" can be comparatively frustrating, especially if time is of the essence. Also, local trains can get quite full without the guarantee of a seat (or you can feel compelled to give up your seat to the elderly and more needy). On the other hand, a quiet, almost empty carriage can be quite pleasant to travel in. You get to stop and see interesting stations. Often, I just want to hop off and explo