Thursday, 29 October 2009

Paradise Thail Style part 1

Well its been a while since I have wrote up my news and so I should write this into segments as I know some of you dont like reading long stuff should.
I have been away to Thailand a favourite country of mine, that makes the fifth time I have been there I think. This time I went south to the Andaman sea to the coastal resort of Krabi and then to the paradise island of Phi Phi. I met one of the best friends a man could have, Tony Nye and his lovely Thai wife Lotus and some great people I used to work with and also really kind and nice friends Cathy and Dean and their sons; Zac and Kye.

Monday was a day at work that went on a bit too long but I was home and dry by 8pm and so could make sure that all was packed and could relax until I had to leave. I had decided to stay home on Tuesday to rest before the holiday and so thats was spent doing not much. I met Yovita at the mall and then after some coffee and some supper we repacked as she brought pretty much everything she could with her ( I am I think partly to blame as I told her to bring stuff, then again I really did not have much idea of what was going to happen )
It was damm hot here on Tuesday night and I think with holiday nerves and hopes I failed quite miserably to sleep at all and instead spend the night watching crap tv until the magic hour of getting up to shower and leave. I managed to eat noodles at 3 and then at the most ungodly time of 4am the alarm went off and into the shower I stumbled.
The taxi arrived around 4.20 so that rushed us more but as it was all packed and there was nothing else to do but turn everything bar the fridge off we locked the door and left.
At 4.30am the toll way is pretty pretty empty. 30 Minutes later we are at the airport. Sweet.
Air Asia is open, straight in, checked in and got the boarding passes. How easy is this ? Ah Fiscal. The taxation of those that dont really have a legal tax position in the country or just me. I went to the fiscal desk and got told to go the BCA desk which is the all the way down to the other end of the airport to pay my tax to a very bored and unhappy man who I guess sits there all morning and counts the money and gives out receipts. Yovita does however have a tax number and so she goes to another counter to have her card swiped and get another receipt. Then we walked all the way back to the fiscal desk to have the man nod his head and then go to immigration to be stamped out.
The immigration man more than happily stamped out Yovita. Then he saw my passport and stamps and my visa and then decided not to let me leave but to walk about with my documents and demand I have all the correct ones to leave. I am so lucky I have an Indonesian gf!!! A few words possibly unkind ones and he reluctantly stamped me out and I was a free man leaving on a jet plane. Free until Starbucks where we made a quick stop for hot coffee and then wandered down to the departure gate.
The flight to Kuala Lumpur was a very easy flight and no worries. Nice and smooth and nothing much happening. Asia's favourite airline was on time and good.
We landed at KL at 9.30 am and it was a nice day. KL airport is big. Very big. So big it has 2 airports. The first is for all airlines, KLM, BA, Thai, Malaysian Air etc and that is a monster place and the second is for Air Asia which is again huge and when we landed there was at least 8 other Air Asia planes there and they land and take off like traffic at a busy bus station. Air Asia also paint there aircraft in many colours. We saw the Oakland Raiders one, The F1 one, The truly Asia one and the standard red and white planes.
Its a big airport and always busy. Immigration is however a slow unhurried place which is frustrating and annoying at the same time. It took 50 mins to get through immigration, christ. That was annoying and then get to the baggage carousel and ours are the only pieces still going round. Then out the arrivals door, turn left into the departures door, found the check in desk and then got the boarding pass and waved the luggage off and then went to find some food and coffee.
The terminal has more facilities than when I first went there, lots of shops, restaurants and the shady overused Macdonalds is now  la carte ( I dont know how that is possible but it is ) and the amount of check in desks is now over 50.
Going swiftly through immigration (you get stamped into and out of KL as Air Asia dont do Transit) the departure lounge is great for international. There is a bar now which serves over priced beer but its cold and its great and so I had one and it was better than I expected.
Our flight was late taking off as expected!!! Thats why I had scheduled in the long gaps between flights but never the less it was late.
The other thing about KL is that is 1 hour ahead of Jakarta and Thailand but it is virtually due north though I dont really know why it is like that.
The flight to Krabi is an hour and it is again totally uneventful. Just a nice flight over some lovely islands and light blue seas and into Krabi.
Thai immigration is just as bad and KL immigration just long queues. But it was worth enduring and stamped in we were.
Sawadeeka is the cry from the girls selling taxis (600bht) but my friend Tony suggested take the bus to the resort for 150 bht and so thats what we did.
The trip the resort took about an hour and it was for me nice as there was so much green to see and I had forgot how much green there is in the world especially as in Jakarta there is some but not that much. It was amazing to see the colours of the trees and grasses etc.
Thailand is pretty much the same all over although here in Krabi there is more mosques and muslim Thais so almost home from home!
The bus finally dropped us off outside the resort and so we wandered down and got met by the receptionist who asked what did I want and I said to stay. I guess I did not look like the kind of people that would stay in a 5 star resort and then I said that I am staying with him and pointed at Tony and the smiles began.
Its 4.30pm.
After hugs and smiles and being told we were given a free upgrade (something to do with getting married which was clearly not true) we had a big room overlooking the swimming pool from the 3rd floor and the sea and it was a lovely place.
Big room, TV, Bed and shower and ice cold air con. Lovely.
Opposite the sea, and sunsets and a bar. The bar was just by the sea and so we walked down and met some more friends from England; Cathy and Dean. I used to work with Cathy when in Safeway and they now run a very successful restaurant in Westbury. Dont know what it is called, mind  I never asked.
Chang Beer. Lovely.
Sunsets. Lovely
Chang Beer. Sunsets. Lovely

And so as the sun went down so did the Chang and the nights drinking and celebrations began....

I know I go on but........


I will be writing an incredibly long couple of blogs of my trips around Thailand shortly.

For now though

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Sunday, 18 October 2009

The longest week

Well its been a long long long long long week. In fact its been 7 days too long and finally it is almost over and a new one begins and a new adventure awaits. To be honest it has really been quite stressful for me due to well many things and looking back no of it really mattered as well to be honest almost everything turned out ok.
I only managed to get to the gym once this week as well to be honest, tiredness and seeing Yovita in the week kinda prevented me from doing so.
I have chosen to go to the gym on a Friday evening. Actually that is a bad idea as I am always too tired to do anything, although I did find that when I do go I feel better and more ready for the weekend.
Still it never happened so I will have to go back through the agony of starting at the gym again when I return from Thailand, which as it happens is 3 sleeps away or 2 more days. How cool is that.
My apartment is a mess as there are clothes everywhere and I am only going to the beach!! but I have Yovita's as well and I need to pack it all into a bag. 10 minutes tops and all done. I have had to do my own washing as there are a few things I need to take that I cant wait for at the laundry so thats not been great either.
The money is finally sorted and it seems we have enough, which is great as the bank in which the money was being saved in refused to give it all back for some stupid reason but the exchange rate has been good so that was lucky. Nothing more fun than visiting Money Changers all over city but thats done and finished. All is left is leaving the deposit with the school and then seeing what joy paying the tax at the airport will be for me when we leave. Because I dont have a tax number I have to pay a 'tax' to the government on leaving the country within my current business visa which I get back on return. Its a pain but its the law. Apparently it will change in 2010 but no one knows yet what into, knowing Indonesia something worse and more complicated.
More on the holiday on my return.
Nothing really special happening at the school this week. We had chocolate praise where everyone said something about each other and gave chocolate to each other. This was a muted success but a success never the less and I hope we can do it again next month at some point as actually it will help and is a good thing to do.
Spelling Bee was on Saturday and that was chaotic and mad as it has been for every one I have been involved in. 105 kids and pushy mums wanting to be the best speller of  EF Puri and then go to the national finals and win big etc. It took 5 hours and 2 other teachers and a great deal of patience. But over all I think a success and phew thats that over and done with for another year. Lots of photos on Facebook and no more of this until 2010. Other than that I attended a meeting with the other Director of Studies, I think eating lunch was most productive but there was some good things from it so it was all worthwhile.
I have a private student this week and I am teaching IELTS preparation for the test. This is possibly the hardest thing I have to do. I have to take a students level of English and then get them to improve it by starting  from scratch within a time frame which is very short. It is also the hardest course as the students need this to get into foreign universities to study. In my opinion it is two to 3 times as hard as the TOEFL and needs lots of time and thought. It is though a great challenge for me to teach and to feel I have been able to get the student(s)to improve and feel happy with their readiness for the test. This however is the challenge as normally they have no idea about the test and so that makes it even harder for them.
I believe I will have another class with the student tomorrow and then thats it its done.
This weekend has been travelling around the city and getting money and things.
I have told Yovita that I refuse from now on to ride to her on a Saturday as the traffic is so bad that it takes at least an hour and a lot of energy to ride there and back and I would rather take a taxi so that is what will happen.
The roads were jammed and the crush was full on. Even when got a taxi it cost me 28000 to go one way due to the traffic and 15 to go back the same way. That is annoying. The flip side was that I got the bike clean and also sorted the credit card out which meant food and more interestingly Buy one Get one Free Frappacinos in Starbucks, so the GF is more than happy about that.
Riding back in the dark on Saturday night is not  a pleasant experience but its ok.
Then it rained. I managed to buy some beer and get back to the apartment before it started. You can normally  predict the weather here. It gets very windy and then the lightening starts, then thunder and then it rains so hard to you cant see more than 300 metres, lots more thunder etc. It then cools down and gradually finishes and then it gets hot almost straight away.
It was very hot today. Puri mall was a joy to be in and so that was nice. And that brings me to now. There is some cool slasher movie on Max and there is nothing else on any other channel unless you want chick flicks which I dont and so its crap horror all the way and maybe the footy later on ESPN.
There are some amazing benefits living so far from England. 1 is I dont have to read the newspapers and watch Points West, another is that I dont have to deal with anti social behaviour from idiots but the most important is that Premiership Footy, Rugby, F1 ( if I liked it ), athletics and many others (no darts or snooker so thats good too) is on for FREE, no extra charge. As are 58 other international Channels like MTV, Star World, HBO movies,  NGC, Discovery, CNN. Living in the apartment I get free Cable and Internet and so I am saving my cash here for that. It is a luxury I thought I could do without but I was wrong. Aircon is not missed strangley but the TV and Internet is.
Whether I will be in this apartment next year I am not sure I will have to see but for now I will make the most of it.
That was my week. It was quiet one but an ok one and next week I will join one of my best friends Tony and his wife Lotus and some old work friends Cathy and Dean in Krabi Thailand, sipping Chang and Singhas and chilling.
Its gonna to be a whole heap of fun.

So I wont be writing until the 30th October I guess as will be far too busy.

See ya

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Waiting sometimes lasts for ever oh and some ghosts.

I have thing about Asian movies at the moment. Not the ones with pretty girls in pigtails and plaid skirts but the other kind. Horror. I have come to the conclusion that Asian horror is pretty much the ultimate in scary. Mainly because film making is superior to the west.
Americans make great slasher movies and zombie movies, the British make great traumatic movies. The Asians make superior, dont look in the mirror, watch them in the dark movies.
The grudge is good. The original Ju'on is beyond creepy. The grudge 3 is creepy I have been told that the Japanese version is a scream fest. I am watching Shutter, another American remake of a Japanese horror. Almost creepy but too westernised. I am I think going to build a collection of scary, cant sleep movies. My girlfriend will watch them and stay awake for days, the girls at work the same and the students just scream. For those that dont know. A lot of asian movies are filmed in and about cities and in apartments. Japanese ghosts live in toilets. Hong Kong ghosts in apartments and hallways. Indonesian ghosts in trees and in corners.
All have the same kinda thing going on. If female then the head is bowed, long black hair and white dress.
Indonesian ghosts - Hantu are pretty common, everone has seen them. There are Pocongs, which are spirits that just stand and stare and live everywhere. Kuntilanak are another kind of spirit. There are little sprites thats steal money and also a nurse that has no legs that crawls about corridors and hallways. In some parts of the country it is unlucky to wear certain colours as it will bring the spirits out.
The last teachers house had a ghost we think. There were always noises from the empty rooms, could have been rats but I dont think so.
Indonesia is steeped in tradition and there are many sighting and stories of ghosts. most buildings have them maybe because thats where they live or because the health and safety rules are so bad that many die building them.
Most  people have superstitions and beliefs connected around around this whether they are muslim or christian.
In my apartment for example I have, what I can only explain as a bundle of sticks which is used to brush the bed and rugs. I have to have it sticks pointing up so that it prevents ghosts from coming in. Same with clean curtains and floors.
I had chest pains a couple of months ago and I was told that it was bad spirits. This is by rational people, people that are in position of responsibility and totally rationale.
England may be full of haunted castles and places but this place has spirits everywhere.

Luckily I dont scare that easy. I do live on my own and I do often feel I am being watched but its a feeling. At night normally a lamp on, no more. In the bed room I sleep on a matress with no blanket. (watch Ju'on it changes how you see hiding under the bedcovers) I dont need to have a blanket as it is always hot. The fan cools things down nicely. I used to have a/c in the teachers house and it would be cold early in the morning but that would be the only time.
But its ok, there are no spirits here. Well none that stay. Some wander through. Am I mad. No I dont think so. Its what I hear and get told. I cant tell you what my GF sees as I dont have her permission and I dont want her to be ridiculed by those that dont or cant believe.

Moving on, only 10 days to holiday. Getting excited. It has been a long time coming and I am not looking forward to being away from the madness of Jakarta, the crush, the air,  everything.

The weekend has past now for me and it was ok. Friday was a day of nothing. Nothing happening at work so just sit (actually got there at 12 and left at 7 so that was nice). The gym was empty again. It was empty on Wednesday because of the rain and then on Friday must be because of the weekend. So that was good. I really dont like the thought of going to the gym but once I am there its ok.
I worked on Saturday and then went to Yovitas. It rained for a 3rd of the way so that made riding the motorbike more fun or is it scary? I had to take a detour by a river, over 2 bridges etc as a wedding party had closed a road off and so all the traffic was sent in all directions. The crush on Saturday afternoon was possibly the worst I have seen and encountered since riding my bike. It took 45 mins to get to Yovitas instead of the usual 25 mins.
I managed to get the bike cleaned while at Yovitas and ate a lot of food including mangos which are always nice fresh off the trees peeled and then eaten. Sweet and full of vit c and stuff. Love them but not too often.
Early to bed Saturday night, no footy, well England were playing but it was not on ESPN so I never saw it.
Today was the lazy day. I have ventured out of the apartment to sort the laundry and pay the electric bill and some shopping but other than that, sleeping, sweating, bit of tv and not much else.
Dont think its all beaches, parties and out and about living here. Some weeks it is, some weeks it is not. I am saving dont forget for Thailand so I cant be frivolous with the cash. When I get back I am sure things will change.
I need some calm and peace away from it all. It makes up for the lousy sleep I get some nights or most nights.
This week ahead brings well, the gym, meetings, teaching, reviews, paying out for stuff for the holiday and counting the days. Did I say 10 left....

Patience is a skill not a virtue. I am skilled in waiting and patience. Still needs to hurry though

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Bravehearts and Tomfools

If I were poetic and possessed the skill I would write an ode to the bravehearts and Tomfools I meet everyday. Why? well it is about time I explained what I have experienced here daily since March and also less frequently since August 2008. Traffic.

As you know or may not know, I own a motorbike. Expertly taught to ride it in 10 minutes by my good friend Richard and then given some sterling advice by Helen. 5 months later I am pleased to say that I have survived the crush. A minor collision on the scary flyover on Dann Mogot (for those that dont know, it is an elevated road way for the dedicated bus lane but everyone uses it as speed and it is 2 way with each lane wide enough for a car or a bus and if you are exceptionally stupid you can overtake on it on a  motorbike, I just collided with a man  pushing a bike on the flyover, dick) and is about all. A Mercedez ran over my foot but that never hurt and a few clipped mirrors thats all.
So I digress. I do have plans to film the journey to school and post it and see what you think but I have to work that out and that will take time.
So back to the title. Bravehearts and Tomfools. Imagine you are in a car and driving down the road. Thats pretty easy. Imagine the roads are busy and there are no markings or signs, that gets a little less easy. Now imagine there are lots of mini buses full of people and then mini vans full of people driving around. It is getting busy. Then these vehicles dont have lights, mainly no brake lights or indicators and just stop any where and everywhere to get people on and off them. Is it getting hard now to imagine. Well its not over. Then add motorbikes, All shapes and sizes on the road. Many people without helmets, school kids, parents, deliveries, me, A/C fitters, food deliverers etc. You would hope they are all going in the same direction as you. Think on. They are coming at you and overtaking you and at speed. Finally you have men directing parking cars, people going places and the odd bicycle. The crush is a scary place. Top speed for all this is 30kph or 19mph so its not that fast but the volume and recklessness of drivers is total.
Many dont have licences, those that do may not have taken a test (me included, I first rode a bike in March 2008), vehicles dont need to be MoT'd, or have insurance. Commercial vehicles do but how good the test or how much the bribe is I dont know. The skill of the driver is purely dependent on how brave they are or how slow they drive.
So I have kinda painted the scene, now one final one. Two mini buses overtaking a line of traffic into oncoming traffic and motorbikes on sidewalks or pavements and traffic gets jammed. Where do you go? Well as a cyclist you have to weave through traffic to keep moving.
Last night I stuck in a gap between the curb and a car. The motorcyclist in front, had an argument with the car driver, knocked his mirror, banged the car and sped off, why? Well because the cyclist was a tomfool who has little patience and no concern. The rule of thumb is the bigger the vehicle the more they rule. It is true here until the largest vehicle is a car and the majority of vehicles are motorbikes. Think of army ants swarming over their vastly bigger prey and destroying it. It is pretty much the same thing here.
The braveheart riders are those that over take the overtaking car who is overtaking a bus who is letting people off and the rider is riding straight into a line of traffic, forcing the line to stop or swerve as the rider wont give way. That is way beyond stupidity, it is way beyond dangerous....
Someone said to me the other day, You live then you die. Its life no more. Being a rider here I can accept that. Being a western rider who uses his horn to alert others not get them out of the way, uses indicators to show where I am going and only overtakes when the danger is less than 90% I am often seen riding along shaking my head in total shock and awe. Even more than the other riders who will stare at me when the go by because I am a white man on a motorbike doing what they do everyday. They are probably thinking why dont I have a car?
If I had a car I would be so stressed by now I would have sold it. If I had a car I would be rich and I would employ a driver to drive me so I dont have the worry of driving the car.
I enjoy riding in the city. It is a great place to ride when the traffic is light and it is not too hot. Once you are confident and sure you are alert it is great to do.
Staying alert is the key. Not going to fast or slow, not taking risks which are going to hurt too much. Knowing the widths of the gap. Using the mirrors? no that is not the thing to do really as the blind spots are too many and also if I spend too much time looking in the mirror, the motorcyclist heading towards me in the dark with no lights or the motorcyclist with a white light as a break light who is slowing down will be missed and then there will be a pile of people on the ground. I have seen too many people hurt on the roads, fall off, crash, bleed and hit cars to know it is better to ride straight and be very alert.
The rain on Tuesday was so heavy that the whole trip to school involved riding in water which was in place a foot deep. I saw one rider over take and fall off. 1 stop too fast and fall over and several riders pushing their bikes as they had broken down.
The thing is that people here have to get to the next place really quickly so that when they are there they can sit about all day and take it easy. Why? If the riders behaved and the cars and buses drove straight and gave warning about their intentions it would be great.
If I return to the UK I would love a motorbike, but I am not 100% sure I would be appreciated riding around without a helmet, going down 1 way streets the wrong way and then looking at you like it is your fault. Weaving through traffic and not obeying rules and signs. Arrested, maybe, hit by others, yes. Hurt by other drivers oh yes.
There are so many dangers, scary life threatening moments and total disbelief when I ride my bike that I cant list them all. I shall continue to do so and I will get a new one soon, bigger, more powerful not so I can go quicker but so it can carry the weight lol!!

I think I am almost a braveheart on the road although I will endeavour to always be safe. The only other concern is the air......... black jet black, carbon monixde and other poisons straight into the lungs and then the blood.  I read that tomatoes are good for the lungs, lucky me, I eat tomatoes at least every other day so maybe it will help.

So the next time you complain about the bloody traffic, consider me in the crush. The crush of traffic squeezing you along the narrow streets, A tractor is a nuisance. Riding along with 4000 other vehicles is beyond even being stuck behind a caravan on the M5....

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Monday, 5 October 2009

5 Hot days

Its  been a while since I last posted and there has been a lot of sweat going on around here, and, and and get this, went to a place that sold pitchers of beer for 50,000 rupiah, the cheapest I have since beer anywhere in the country, anyway.
The school has been inundated with power outs and that has meant bad teaching, bad standards, bad reports, no internet, no lights, no smiles and lots of sweaty unhappy people.
Actually Thursday was not so bad at the school. by the time I got there the power was off and by 5pm it had come on and so life could go on kinda like normal. It meant I was able to get some work done and sort things out but not as much as I would like.
However on getting home, riding though Tanjun Duren which is normally alive with people, buses, sounds, a strange man wearing huge headphones and a whistle and always shouting at the traffic all were not present. I guess the fact there was no power in the street at all meant there would be no electricity at home. Right as normal the basement at the apartment was in half light which meant no power in the apartment.
Luckily I had my Ipod and some beer so I managed to get through the evening, helped by a telephone call from Jon in England which did me a lot of good and cheered me right up.
Friday morning was met with the news of the Earthquake in Sumarta and the rising damage and destruction from the previous day. Packed for the gym, barely able to move my arms, off I went. The school was in light but the warning that we should be in darkness soon makes for a dull afternoon.
Then it happened. 5pm off go the lights. Up rise the temperatures. A 7 year old student decided to lock himself in the computer i lab at 3 and by 5 he was pretty much bored and still refused to come out. The locksmith also failed to open the door, some use he was and so the office boy ended up cutting through the wall to get him out, all to the amusement of this child who was determined to just create mischief. At 6pm with his mother still shopping and his nanny unable to control him he eventually decided to go home much to the relief of everyone at the school. I left at 7 in the dark. Yovita had told me that it was raining in the city and so that was an omnious sign and so right on cue, hot and sweaty, it rained. It rained all the way home to the apartment leaving me totally fed up and soaked and so bollocks to the gym I came home and sat in the power cut apartment for a second night. However  being bored I decided to really find out if I had an emergency socket that might work like the lights did and hey presto yep, so with 3 long leads, TV is on, the fan is on and I have power and tv and almost a normal evening again.
Friday was a bad day at work it started badly and then got worse.
Shopping on a Saturday in Jakarta, thats a hot Saturday mind was fun. Off to blok M plaza for coffee and a look about and then a quick ride to blok M pasa rayar for Batik and cheap indo stuff and surprisingly nothing is cheap and I found a shirt for 3 million rupiah and it was not all that special.
So off again to Mentang to the key Keris clothing store and plenty of batik and gifts which once money spent led us to lunch. Pizza and a beer in a good restaurant in Mentang then home. Quick jump in the swimming pool and then a little sleep before going out.
This night we were invited to another DoS's birthday bash at the marina at Sunda Kelapa (old harbour) and we were sat in a garden overlooking the sea and had a nice breeze, the cheapest of beer at 50,000 a pitcher (litre and a half) good food and even better company and so that was a good. The evening ended early and then back home.
Sunday was cleaning and laundry and all sorts sorts of things to do and then some more sleep while I wait for Yovita to arrive. It rained and rained and so that was not a good sign of things to come.
We were off to a wedding reception of an ex teacher and so we left in plenty of time to have photos, eat and generally stand about. However the first taxi's radiator sort of blew up so we had to get out and find another and then the traffic was in a stand still and it took at least an hour to get to the reception, by which time the whole event was over. Some of the teachers were still there but we stayed only 15 minutes and then left. A quick photo with the bride and off we went.
Can you believe I am watching Titanic while typing this? luckily its the bit where everyone drowns so thats cheery. The violins have just stopped playing.
Today started with rain and good intentions of being a good start to the week but as I was about to find out that was all to change. Around 2pm no power. So that meant, hot sweaty teachers, students and nothing getting done. It is such a waste of time. But what to do.
I hung around until 7 and watched the lightning and listened to the thunder as guessed it would rain, luckily I guessed wrong and so I managed to get to the gym dry. An hour later I left the gym, it seems I have lost some weight albeit 1 kilo but thats a start.
And home and titanic. I am complaining I have 60 channels and this is all there is? Shite............

So thats was the weekend, not so bad. I am hoping the power outages will cease immediately and that tomorrow the window cleaners will come back and do my windows as they gave this morning in the rain. Also I need to was the bike as it now officially very very dirty.
I guess I will have to think about the news that I will need to find somewhere to live in March as it appears the landlady may not want to rent the apartment next year. Mixed feeling with this, good that I can move again, bad that it will cost me money. I am thinking of either another apartment or maybe a Kost which is a boarding house. I am sure I could get a good place for about 1 million a month, but thats March.
The best news is that it is only 16 days to Thailand.