Hooray for another public holiday!

One of the best things about being based in KL – apart from the ridiculous number of public holidays – is the huge number of places you can get to very cheaply, because it’s the hub for Air Asia: cheap, cheerful and very rarely on time.

So, for £72 return and an hour and a quarter’s flight, I decided to make the most of a three-day break – thanks to yet another Public Holiday – and fly up to Phuket for some serious r&r …

I left work at 5 pm and leapt on a train, then leapt on a plane and finally leapt into a taxi and had arrived at my hotel by 9.45 pm.

After an exhausting day, looking at the view from beneath my beach umbrella –

I decided that I should really be more writerly in my approach to my blog, so I transformed the porch outside my bungalow –

into a verdant outdoor studio –

– and felt very professional as I sat there, typing away.

Tropical beaches do a very good line in sunsets, I’ve discovered –

– and dinner at a beachfront restaurant, with the waves swooshing gently in the background –

– is the ultimate de-stresser.

But even in this tropical paradise there are people living just metres from the beach in the shell of an old building.  They’ve built walls from corrugated steel with doors cut into them –

and what I found most poignant was the number painted on the outside of each unit – a demonstration of aspiration in the face of the harshest poverty.

I feel sure that in Europe these people would have been moved away from the beach, to somewhere less scenic where they wouldn’t spoil the experience for the holiday makers – but I was glad they were there, and I decided to be a little more generous to the itinerant beach sellers from now on, and not view them as a bit of a nuisance; they’re just earning a living like the rest of us.

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