A lot of people saw the Facebook thread.
It was going to be a sad weekend. After eight years in Bangkok, I was closing our condominium unit and moving to Singapore.
I had no idea how sad it was about to become.
My Thai friend Nawaporn wanted me to to visit ‘PAP’ – Pattaya Airpark. He was owner and CEO. Neil, a very capable pilot, had just flown a Pipistrel Virus to Angkor Wat, in Cambodia. Now he was back at Pattaya, Thailand, eager to share his stories and photos.
I was panic-packing in Bangkok. In 36 hours I was leaving Thailand for good. There was no time to go to see Nawaporn at Pattaya.
“No goodbyes,” I wrote. “We will try to be back every month. We love Thailand.”
I hit ‘Share’ so that my friends could ogle Nawaporn’s breathtaking aerial views of Angkor Wat. His last post was 3:26pm.
Five hours later he was gone forever.
Neil – his English name — was the owner and manager of an airfield and ‘airpark’, where aircraft owners could build their homes and hangar their airplanes. He was a superb pilot. His logbook had thousands of flights in scores of aircraft.
Neil was also the sweetest husband I had ever met. His Facebook profile photo shows him in a Cessna O-1 Bird Dog. His wife Amparo is in the back seat. Amparo is from Bogota, Colombia. How they met, married and doted on each other is pure romance.
Now Neil was gone, just hours after we had agreed “No good-byes.”
I did move to Singapore as scheduled, right after Neil’s last, tragic flight. But I came back to Bangkok at the end of the week, for his funeral and cremation. My last day in Thailand, and his.
Posted from Bangkok, January 20, 2013.