What Am I Getting Myself Into?

January 2, 2013 at 8:49 am Leave a comment

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It is the New Year of 2013 and the news programmes are full of tales of woe – the economy, the exorbitant cost of rail tickets, a seal stranded fifty miles inland – and “good advice” about reducing the amount we eat, drink and smoke. So, we are just two days in and I’m already teetering on depression…….

Unfortunately, the news is also full of the sad death of Stephen Ashton, a young British tourist killed in the cross-fire of a gang-related shooting in a bar on some Thai island. The reports included an interview with the British Ambassador who was constantly referencing the Foreign Office Travel Advice website.

Well, this got me to thinking. This weekend I am off on business for a couple of weeks to a country not so far from Thailand. My company is not the best at offering travel advice – I have already been there for a week a few months back and it was only a passing remark in the office on the day of our Christmas party a couple of weeks ago that it occurred to anyone – including myself – that I might require vaccinations for travel to said country, which prompted a hurried appointment to a private clinic for boosters against diphtheria, typhoid, polio, and whooping cough. Fortunately, a past hepatitis A jab was still good for a few years yet.

So, having realised that “duty of care” is a personal responsibility I decided to check out the Foreign Office advice for my imminent departure. Bear in mind that during my recent visit I had been surprised, if not a little alarmed, by the security and abundance of guns. I had a car to meet me at the airport and to deliver me to the hotel, where we were met at a barrier by security men armed with a shotgun and sub-machine guns who searched the car and checked for bombs. I was searched on the way into the hotel and to the office where I was working, which was guarded by a couple of permanent machine gun posts. It was very welcoming……

The Foreign Office advice can be summed up as “Don’t!”. Unfortunately, the Foreign Office does not carry as much clout as the “thou shalt” command of our CEO, so I will be going anyway. It will be great fun……I will not be using public transport. I will not be traveling out of the capital city. I will pay special attention in public places because of the likely threat of terrorist activity, often targeting westerners who are particularly prone to kidnap. And, if the terrorists don’t get me, I am quite likely to be mugged at gun point or killed by a typhoon or a terrible flood. And here was I worried about whether I was going business class or not……

The joys of business travel……

So, happy New Year to one and all. And, if I don’t survive the trip – it was a blast (let’s hope not a literal one!).

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Entry filed under: business travel, Cautionary Tales, middleman. Tags: , , , , .

2012 in review Wow – I’ve won something!

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