absentfather

Letters for my kids to read in the future, from around the world now

Landed Dad

Still Friday 13th January 2011

Dear George

I’ve arrived in Taipei a little late after delays along the way, bleary-eyed as always with a body that tells me it’s morning when it is evening here. The airline has left my bag in Amsterdam, which means I’ve got to wear what I’ve got on until tomorrow night: a pair of vans, some scruffy jeans, a Japanese Star Wars t-shirt and a tweed jacket, all of which are pretty whiffy after a day’s wear. Not great work attire but I’ll sort something out – hopefully some late night shopping for a shirt at least. In Taiwan I won’t need XL, I’ll need GIANT.

I have work from 11 tomorrow morning (it’s 20:45 now) and am in the back of a hotel car taking me to the not so glamorous Fullerton 41 hotel in Daan district. I’ve stayed there before and it is pretty basic compared to some of the hotels I’ve been lucky enough stay in. That is another aspect of travelling that you soon get particular about, actually finding yourself angry because your luxury hotel doesn’t have a tv above the bath, or Molton Brown products in the bathroom. You soon get spoilt, but once you’ve had it, you always want it. Some of the best hotels are in India, because they do service so well. Last time i went i got upgraded to a $3000 a night suite with four rooms and a glow in the dark toilet! I took your mother there in 2008 and the hotels we stayed in we’re amazing, with butler service, a private lounge with free drinks and the most amazing breakfasts. I have images of her with a massive smile on her face at the breakfast table, a view out towards India Gate in Delhi behind her and swathes of different pastries, cooked breakfast and fruit juices in front of her. We had chocolate milkshake for breakfast everyday. At the end of the trip I asked her to marry me, but that’s a story for another letter.

So I’m in the back of a black Mercedes on a freeway with start stop traffic and with furry teeth and probably horrendous breath. When I get into a hotel after a long flight I always first unpack my suit jackets (although not this time obviously) and then hit the bathroom for a full clean, head to toe until I’ve got rid of the plane scum I can feel in my hair and on my skin. I set up my laptop, see which tv channels are watchable and download the emails that have been sent to me whilst I’ve been in the air. I quickly look through the guest information to see where breakfast is served, where the gym or swimming pool is and take in the highlights of the room service menu. I’ll look over the map I’ll have asked for at reception and navigate ways to my appointments the following day and maybe look up some things on the imternet that I’ve thought about during the journey. This time I want to find some music I heard on an inflight film and enter a competition to win tickets to Curaçao from the plane magazine. Not profound this time, but sometimes I dream up all kinds of stuff. Nothing like being stuck in a metal tube high above the earth for hours with no communication to have some really good thinking time. I often think what you’ll be doing, what I’m missing, but try to generally have productive thoughts – my career, details at work, the future, inspiration. I often write it down but seldom get to do any of it. Dreamer.

Right, I’m pulling into the city now and about to face the muggy night. Hopefully I’ll see you on Skype in a couple of hours 🙂

Night night

Dad

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