25 Sep 2008

And Then I Asked A Question.....

This is a little storey about asking questions in Southeast Asia.

I was due off the rig Tuesday and my very good friend David asked if I could post a very important letter for him. After agreeing and accepting a ridiculous amount of money to do same I was entrusted with the letter and begged not to forget. Me? Forget?

After a one and a half helicopter ride into U-Tapau followed by a two hour journey by road I was dropped off at Bangkok airport a tad tired as the day before I had pulled a twenty eight hour stint getting the rig off location and on tow.

Anyhoo, I checked in and asked if there was a Post Office in the airport.

"Yes, there is."

'Great. Where is it?"


Now knowing there was one inside I popped through passport control to the inside bit.

Inside, hunger kicked in so I looked for a decent restaurant. Ah, there's one! After a meal, well a double cheesy Whopper with fries, which I feel would be better called a 50-50 after the 50 percent you eat and the 50 percent you distribute between the table, floor and your cloths, and the guy two tables away's cloths, I proceeded downstairs to locate my gate in the vastness that's Bangkok airport. It was way down at that end, yes the opposite end to where I had taken food. Almost back in town. When I got there I remembered the letter. No, Dave I didn't forget, I just said I remembered, OK? As I was standing by the information desk I did the obvious and asked where the Post Office was.

"Where's the Post Office please." I asked as it was still the Post Office I was looking for.

"Seven hundred meters that way." That way was the way I had just come from, one floor up. Where I ate and shared my 50-50.

Now I already know all about the good folk of Southeast Asia and their way, their nuts driving way, of answering questions but having already worn my shoes to paper getting here to find I had to get back there, one floor down from where I started, and with take off time creeping closer I just took off back there. One floor down from where I started.

When I guessed I had travelled seven hundred meters I jumped off the moving pavement thingy and asked at another information desk where the Post Office was and was directed down the side about another two hundred meters. At last I was there!! And was more than delighted to find it closed with a sign saying it would be open at the precise time my flight to Singapore would be taking off.

Time was slipping by so with nothing to be gained by looking at a closed Post Office while having a quiet word with Dave, I started to head back to where I had come from before I was here, one floor down from where I started. Again.

This is the kicker. The moving pavements going in the direction I now wished to be transported in were all out of order. It would be about this time that David's ears would be igniting.

When I got back to my gate and was passing the information desk, and although my heart rate was up to that of the running machine level of the last post, I decided to try an experiment.

"Is the Post Office open?" I enquired of the smiling information desk person.


"OK, thanks." I said through gritted teeth.

The next morning in Singapore, up with the living dead, oh' nine hundred hours o'clock AM, I asked at the hotel reception if there was a Post Office there about's.

"Out the door, left and left again, down the road and left again."

Fifteen minutes saw me in front of the Post Office reading a sign on the door saying Open At Ten Thirty. And I'm sure it was laughing at me. I was now ready to eat the letter, without bread, and absolutely swear I had posted it. {I didn't eat it Dave; I did post it.}

So if you ever venture to this crazy, wonderful part of the World be ready to have your questions answered. What would the answer to my questions have been over our side?

"Is there a Post Office here?"

"Wasting your time there mate. It's closed 'till seven thirty."

See? It wouldn't be the answer to my question but would have given me, as if by magic, the information I really wanted. Ask a question over that side and you get the answer to that question and nothing else - just the answer.

Hope the mail got through Dave and if there is a next time it's worth twice the ridiculous amount of money you gave me this time. To buy shoes. And Aspirin. And strong drink. And a club.


“The way I understand it, the Russians are sort of a combination of evil and incompetence... sort of like the Post Office with tanks."

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