Sunday, 14 June 2009

That's all for now

I am now back in the UK after an excellent, although not entirely trouble-free (are they ever?!) trip. It was trimmed from the original 2 months and 3 weeks to just under 2 months, due to the fact that Australia ended up costing me a packet. Prices in Australia have gone up a lot since I was previously there in 1997 - more than I realised, in fact it's as expensive if not more so, as the UK - and I ended up trimming two weeks off Australia and 9 days off Thailand. Next time, I'll omit Australia and just do Asia.

The trip has had its ups, downs and grey areas, but it was highly successful. I saw most of the birds I wanted to see, apart from some seabirds due to the postponed pelagic, and got some pretty good photos, too.

 Ups: the birds, of course. Also, the Great Barrier Reef, the Warrumbungles, Cassowary House, Doi Inthanon, Khao Yai, the people I met such as Tony, Rob, Marie, George, Mr and Mrs Daeng, Somchat and 'Mr Nine'.

Downs: The biggest bummer was that the vile weather in NSW that week ensured the SOSSA pelagic from Wollongong got put back to the following week, which was a total bugger because I was leaving for Thailand before then, and the weather in Australia was pretty bad for a proportion of the time - I got wet in Cairns, Coonabarabran, Wollongong and Sydney.
Getting to Bangkok was a culture shock and the city itself  is a nightmare, gridlocked and polluted.

Things I'd do differently next time: Leave out or shorten Australia and lengthen Asia. Not be so short of money that I can't hire a car - public transport is a crap way to get around no matter where you are. Except perhaps in Singapore. Go to Asia in the winter (dry season).

Despite the troubles of the first few days I got to like Thailand very much, it's a fantastic place once you are out of Bangkok, and I hope to go back to do some more birding there, in the dry season.

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