Tuesday, 29 January 2008
Today I'm writing from Penang, Malaysia. Wasn't Karin supposed to be in Thailand, you ask? Well, I had to go out of the country to find a Thai embassy, so that I can get a 3-month non-immigrant B visa, which I need to get my work permit. I can't get the visa unless I've applied for a work permit though. Theoretically, with the 3-month visa in my passport I can get my 1-year work permit with which I can then get a 1-year visa. Let's see about that...
Everything was actually planned rather nicely: Saturday evening, the owner of "my" company had a big house-warming party on Phuket, so I combined business with pleasure: went to the party and stayed in Kata, where I met up with Debs on Sunday for a great day of catching up. Sunday evening I flew to Penang, where my visa would be fixed within a day in time for me to return to Khao Lak Monday evening together with the Debs, before she's off to the Perhentians Thursday.
Believe it or not: things were going just fine and according to plan, until a Thai citizen got arrested for murder and the ambassador had to leave immediately - before my visa was done...
Luckily I've booked a visa run package. First of all it saves me going to the embassy and stand in line 2-3 hours. Secondly, the visa run operator has good connections, so they actually delayed the plane for me. Unfortunately, the ambassador still didn't make it back in time, so I'm now stuck in Penang, while Debs is in Khao Lak :( Which brings us to the third reason, it was a lucky decision to book a package: they are paying for the new flight and two nights in a nice hotel.
Now, I'm sitting here instead of drinking Vodka&Tonic in the Happy Snapper with Debs :(
Work-wise it's a good test of the things I've done in the office: we'll see if the system works without my presence - which has been my goal anyway. And who said you can't manage a company through MSN and hotmail??
Not much I can do about it except go out and buy some new clothes and finally unwrap my Thai language course ;)
Thursday, 17 January 2008
I know, I know......I promised to update the blog a bit more frequently than every two months.....
Better late than never - and now I'm here. Thanks for your patience ;)
Soooooo, I left Saba on the 6th December after a fantastic last night in the true Vortex spirit :D Ken left same time as I (pure coincidence), so we took the ferry to St. Maarten and met up with Bruno and Juliska there. It was an amazing feeling of relief to see Saba disappearing, the water was flat, the weather nice and we were both quite happy to be off the rock. At the same time, I was sad though: I met some really nice and quite a few fantastic people on that little island; people I'll hopefully meet somewhere someday.
46 hours later I arrived in Khao Lak (Thailand, north of Phuket) trying to convince my body to ignore the 11-hour time difference.
My new boss, Heinz, was nice enough to let me relax 19 hours before starting work and I moved into my new home. Well, "home": an empty room with a bathroom. Brand new, but no furniture and no warm water - and it's about a kilometer up a very dark unpaved mountain road. It's quiet though - except all the jungle noises ;)
I worked 14 hours per day on average, mainly teaching courses, so I earned quite good money in December. I was also very, very tired all the time. Finally, there was light at the end of the tunnel: I had a day off on 1st January. Party-time till 5 am. Yah mahn :D
The atmosphere in the company has been really, really bad. People leaving every day. Yep, actually worse than my last employer. I only stayed because I knew it was for a limited period of time, having a job waiting for me in Malaysia.
And then things changed rapidly this week.....Heinz was fired and I was offerered the position as operations manager. Earlier in my diving career than I'd expected, but I've been doing the majority of office work here the past two weeks anyway, so I'm pretty sure I've got it covered. The employees/freelancers who refused to work for us last week are all back again and everyone is happy. At least he's not such a tough act to follow ;)
So yeah, no Malaysia for me this time. I'd really been looking forward to a chilled year down there and to work together with the Debs again, but I felt that this opportunity was too good to let go.
I'll be in Khao Lak until the end of season (mid-April) and then I'll spend low season on Phuket, instructing and guiding. Mid-October I'm going back to Khao Lak to start up for the next season. Next week I'm going on a visa run to KL to get the work permit sorted.
All of this is the plan anyway. But as you all know (by now), my plans do occassionally change ;))
Apart from work, I haven't done much here. I've met some nice people, but haven't gotten into that Vortex feeling (yet)
I've invited the staff out for dinner etc on Friday night though - and told the office manager she has to fill in for me till noon on Saturday; it's good to be the boss *lol*
Another good thing about this job is that I'll be spending a lot of time in the office, which should (!) give me more time to update the blog and possibly even post a couple of pix ;)
Debbie is coming to Thailand next week on her way to the Perhentians, that's something I really, really look forward to. Quite a few things we need to talk about, quite a bit of vodka we need to dispose of.....
Oh, and I'm going to move to a place with furniture and (gee such luxury) warm water. And a fridge. Which means I can keep the tonic for the vodka cold ;)
Enough for now, must work a bit again - just had to take care of my bad conscience first