Tuesday 12th December 2000 Day 0

Only one day to go, and it still doesn't feel real. It is still just an itinerary printed on glossy paper to show our friends and family. Only a head full of what I imagine it all to be, a constantly re-occurring dream. We booked this holiday a whole nine months ago. I remember it well! I had eight pints of Boddingtons on a Saturday morning whilst watching Manchester United on TV, beat some poor unfortunate opponent to submission. After which we went to Going Places in Bangor. Luckily we'd already discussed where we wanted to go, and I'd had a schedule planned in my head, otherwise we could of ended up in darkest Peru! Which incidentally is the next destination on my "places to experience" wish list! (Followed closely by India and Nepal.) The 40 weeks have flown by. It's been quite a pregnancy. From it's drunken conception. Through the excitement of telling everyone our good news, "We're going to Thailand!" Yippee! Quickly followed by reading all the books on the subject, so that we fully understood what was in store. To be prepared. Curiously though, Julie's morning sickness has only begun a few days ago!

No words can capture how much I'm looking forward to this trip. When I walk off that plane at Don Muang airport in Bangkok I'll be stepping out into my very own wonderland. One that I could not, in the wildest of my dreams, of imagined that I would be actually experiencing. I can remember when Hannah was nine years old, and she had watched a video documentary by Peter Andre (remember him?) and he'd filmed a music video to 'Mysterious Girl' on a stunning tropical beach. Hannah told me then that when she grew up she wanted to go to that beach, to the island of Phi Phi Leh. I'd never heard of there before. I hadn't the faintest idea of where it was. Yet I still promised that one day we would go there, as all fathers would! Never did I once believe that four years later I would have the opportunity to deliver on my promise. It's simply incredible! I have the generosity of my father and the blessing of my mother to thank for this, also the kindness and unselfishness of Julie to indulge me this adventure. To me, this is near to perfection for a holiday. From the intensely Buddhist nature of the people of Thailand, and all those beautiful temples, to the intrepid exploration of the wild (yet safe) jungles in the exotic Golden Triangle near the Burma and Laos border. Then finally, unwind on the amazing beaches of Krabi, and Koh Phi Phi in the South. A recipe for an a la carte holiday to suit my tastes! To Julie, I must admit this is not the holiday of her dreams. With six flights altogether, it has six flights too many! Although I'm convinced that once she's there, she will enjoy Bangkok, tolerate the jungle, if only because of the hotel, and will fall in love with the beaches. Our next big holiday however will have to be made from Julie's imagination.

Well, today was my last day in work. Or as Julie keeps on stressing, "they are not our 'last days', we are coming back you know!" I had no time to think about the vacation at all, literally flying about like the proverbial blue arsed. Thankfully I managed to get all those pending tasks finished, leaving work without any unsolved problems. Taking the dogs to the kennels and the cat to the cattery wasn't as much of an ordeal as they have been in the past. We even managed to deliver Alfie without him shitting himself. Quite a relief for Julie who was holding him on her knees! Hannah came home from school with swollen glands, sore throat and a blocked nose. She doesn't feel at all well. What terrible timing! A trip to the Pharmacy was needed to get as much flu remedies as possible to mask her discomfort. Hopefully the symptoms will ease before Friday morning when we reach the intense humidity of 90░F Bangkok. High body temperature coupled with that kind of heat I'm sure would be unbearable.

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