Good Energy

The guys at Good Energy have been really supportive and excited about the expedition, so much so that they have made a contribution which allows me to keep the blog regularly updated during the expedition, so they and everyone else can follow the journey. Good Energy supplies 100% renewable electricity sourced from wind, water, sun and sustainable biomass. CO2 from coal-fired electricity generation is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in the world. Switch your electricity supply to Good Energy using this link and not only will you be supporting the pioneering community of independent green generators, but for every sign up they get they’ll make another donation to help get the bus around the world. It helps you cut your personal CO2 emissions, helps them grow a great business, and helps me get round the world.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

This is my life

Incredibly I have managed to secure an early appointment to request a visa through the US embassy. Ironically the good news came with the bad; that it’s unlikely Maersk will be able to let me travel by container ship to the US because of “Security reasons” (my words, not theirs) surrounding US ports. A consequence of which is that I won’t need a visa after all.

After 4 months in South East Asia the constraints of security forces petrified of not doing enough with respect to safeguarding us had become a distant memory. The only reminder is the apologetic and pathetic searches of my bag when entering the MRT underground train stations in Bangkok. The security guards are caught between a need to be seen to do their job and the engulfing embarrassment of having to intrude into a stranger’s bag, a far cry from the uniformed Neanderthals at Heathrow airport, visibly high on the power to stop and search.

The visa issue is another up and down moment which the Biotruck expedition has provided numerous examples of so far. But I'm no longer removed from the expedition. It has become my full time experience. I’m so engrained in it that it is no longer a funny series of escapades endured on a finite tour. It’s now my reality and it feels endless. Just today as the shower ran out of water while I was all soaped up, I smiled to myself; Oh just another fun misadventure. Then the ugly realisation that this is my existence. I live in a world where the shower runs out mid wash, I shared the bus with a rat for 3 months, and I have to beg for fuel and suck it from people’s bins. This is who I am. It’s not a quirky game I’m playing as I journey around the world with my credit card loaded with get out of jail cash. It’s my life and irritatingly it’s regularly quite demeaning.

I had such promise once. Once upon a time I knew where I was going. When I was five I was going to be a fireman, then in my teens I was going to be a racing car designer, then an engineer, then a tour operator, then life stopped being driven by ambition and became about the next adventure. And it’s getting worse. I’m not sure where the future is leading. This journey is taking so long my aspirations have become totally blurred.

Today as we sat in the waiting room at the US Embassy trying desperately to find a way to get an appointment earlier than March the 9th, but resigned to the fact that there was nothing to do, I twigged to the distinct demographic sharing the room with us. Retirement aged American men, with a dishevelled demeanour, out of shape physique and a dress sense that belied their inability to look smart at any cost. I noticed a sense of entitlement amongst them too in the security line, indignantly made to wait with the Thais. The idea that a municipal building in your own country is somehow welcoming to members of the public is laughable, but when it’s your embassy, a home on foreign soil, there’s a sense that this is your place and inside are “your people”. Here surely you’ll be welcomed and come first. Of course embassy staff are just as dispassionate about the great unwashed, the plebs, (or members of the public as their training manual insists they be referred to) as any other front line civil servant. “Get in the line sir.”

But it was Christina that noticed the demographic first and had already put two and two together. These are Americas sex tourists. Their garish floral Hawaiian shirts, a uniform among the 50-plus born-again-studs popping Viagra for dear life in the hostess bars, was the biggest give-away. The redish complexion of alcoholism merely an unnecessary confirmation. Their presence in the embassy was either to plead for their Thai girlfriends request to visit the US, or to denounce their Thai ex-girlfriends for having made off with their passports and money. But once again in a moment when I should have been smirking at the absurdity of the situation this journey has thrown me into, I noticed that Christina was begging for my visa appointment with pleads that were as bouncing off the bullet proof glass of the counter just as apathetically as those of the randy grandpas begging for their bar girls. I stood engulfed by the sensation of having no more dignity than a bearded Thai mail order bride.

1 comment:

  1. No offence Andy, but if you were my mail order bride you would be going straight back in the postage-paid envelope. :-)

    And don't worry about the aspirations, as Baz Luhrmann once said "the most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives / some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don't."


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