22.01.2013 -50 °C
My Finger hovered over the send key on the Emirates website like the president contemplating the red button of destruction. A Cuban missile crisis was raging in my head. This will be the point of no return. It could be financial annihilation. Oh dear timed out, have a look at it tomorrow. However: "life's too short",” clichés to plentiful”, “you can't take it with you”, “do it while you can”. My mind is still wrestling in debate. I then pictured two conflicting scenes. The first is a typical Sunday morning scene on Edgeley precinct, Stockport. Picture abandoned shopping trolleys, broken bottles, the Sun newspaper joining other trash as it is swept away by a breeze, an incontinent drunk clutching bag of cold chips. Imagine another scene, a few weeks and a few thousand miles away. I am basking on the golden sand of a Thai beach; a beautiful woman serves me fresh swordfish, as I watch the fishing boats bobbing up and down under the inviting glare of a tropical sun. Oh Stockport, so cold and so grey. Picture me diving into Home Bargains to escape the elements. Hello warm, luscious Philippines. I am diving into the ocean to cool down and escape the elephants. I hit SEND.
Here I am now at another call centre but thankfully a job with a clear conscience. A proper company. No upselling . Really good bunch of peopple! My job is processing claims for an insurance company, and boy is it complex! It is not rocket science; it’s much harder than that! To add to the brain ache, my efforts are frustrated by the the computer system wheezing and spluttering like a very sick patient. So many convoluted quirks, idiosyncrasies and exceptions to the ever changing rules and processes. So many updates, so many things to remember. "No I don't remember the email on 23rd May 2012". My mind is a bijou flat in the heart of Hong Kong. To accommodate any more knowledge I have to turf items out. Out goes the sofa, the dining table and chairs. Any more new product briefings I’m going to sleep on the floor. Out goes the bed.
It is really sweet though that the employer finds time to entertain us you with puzzles. Yes invoice puzzles. "Why hasn't my invoice been paid?" The clues manifest themselves in a kind of whodunit. Each suspect (i.e. specialist, excess, hospital) is referenced in a series of cryptic clues provided by the invoice team. It is a bit Agatha Christie, a bit John le Carre with a touch of Dan Brown. The Nonpayment Code if you must.
It’s time to close that book for the time being. Not the most sensible thing to do in this economic crisis you may think. On the smart move scale maybe close to JFK's choice of an open top convertable in Dallas 63. It is time though. Time to surrender the senses, empty the mind and replenish the soul in Asia again. Join me a for 15 weeks through jungles, beaches, active volcanoes, hectic cities, and busy bazaars. Smell the spice, feel the heat, taste the feast and open up the Imodium with me.
FOOTNOTE: I am leaving tomorrow night. Great leaving do on Friday and Saturday. Passepartout (Joe) is joining me mid February which is great. Safety in numbers yet adventure guaranteed. Looking for sea snakes in the Andamans Joe?. Remember the Coked up nutter in Zanzibar Joe? Jumping on trains in Italy Joe? WHAT NEXT?