Luang Prabang 2010

Just found this in my drafts. Here it is published two years later.

Very beautiful town but the time there was sullied by pink-eye and illness. On top of that Garlick and Digweed got robbed by a cheeky bugger with a hook on a stick that he poked through their window in the middle of the night. Will woke up and scared him off but they lost a camera, an ipod and some money.

And then on this one day there was like this waterfall and OMG it was like sooooo pretty and these people were like this place is awesome and I was like totally and near the waterfall there were like these bears who were like rescued and shit and they were like so cute and the water was like sooooo turquoise and I jumped off a small waterfall and it was so much fun.

I liked Luang Prabang but with less than two weeks left it was time to move on south towards Cambodia and Thailand and so with Will and Carmel I took a bus to Vientiane. We had chosen the V.I.P bus and I joked that all that would mean is that it would have frilly curtains. I wasn't far wrong. Will and I had foolishly started drinking and so were desperately hoping for a toilet on board. There wasn't. In fact it was a bloody cheek calling it V.I.P at all; there were ten people too many on board, the leg room would have given a dwarf bruised knees and it broke down for 4 hours.

The break down was moaned about by the majority of the western passengers. We took it as an opportunity to build a fire and sing some songs. One passenger had a guitar, another was travelling with bongos. I know what you're thinking, there are two types of people who travel with bongos. He was the dickish type. After loading all our bags on to another bus only to realise it was about twenty seats smaller we loaded them back on to the original bus and eventually it chugged back to life to wind its way round the lumpiness of Laos.

My most distinct memory of the journey was the final couple of hours when our already over filled bus picked up another family of locals. A father and three ill looking children. They sat in the aisle next to me and were all handed plastic bags. Within minutes the purpose of the bags became clear. All three children began to be sick in to the bags at  frequent intervals. I assumed they had been in so few moving vehicles that travel sickness was unavoidable. The youngest of the kids was resting his head on my leg and a bit of sicky dribble was trailing from his mouth on to my thigh. I became annoyed. I had paid extra for the nice bus and this was what I got.

Stop, look at yourself Glyn. You have become everything you dislike about western tourists. Here you are in their country having the time of your life and you have the disgusting superciliousness to think you have it bad because you deserve more from your V.I.P. bus. Next to you there is a family dressed in rags who may be on their way to the big town for one of the first times in their lives, for all you know to go to hospital or to try and start a new life.

I felt ashamed. I learnt a lesson and was reminded just how lucky I was; to be travelling, and to have been born in a wealthy country.

There's a voice keeps on calling me...

One month today I fly to New York to begin the next adventure.

The nerves are setting in, which is good, I'm starting to remember what the buzz of loneliness feels like.

In previous travelling experiences I've learnt a few things and here is a fairly decent summary:

Approach every situation with a laid back smile and you'll do alright. Things will go wrong and you will feel scared a few times but that's what will make the next view you see or friend you meet that little more special.

Willow Tree Restaurant and Smorgasbord, Lancaster, PA

The Willow Tree Restaurant and Smorgasbord in Lancaster, Pennsylvania was formerly called the Willow Valley Farm Restaurant and Smorgasbord. It is part of a hotel complex called The Willow Valley Farm Inn and Suites. I had been to this restaurant/buffet a number of years back and to our recollection we had been there perhaps three or four times. This was before I started writing this site. We had

Unexpected Events and Is It Really July?

Everything on the June calendar got taken care of and July is off to a much more subdued pace, creeping by almost unnoticed.  There were a few unexpected events and purchases that added joy to the month of June.  I am admittedly very bad with special calendar days, like anniversaries, but this year I got lucky.  The Apple store called while I was a few shops down having coffee at Starbucks.  The salesman was calling to see if I was still interested in the new 13 inch MacBook Air, as they had just received one in the latest shipment of new products.

We had been looking for a computer for my wife to use at school and home.  While I was impressed with the new MacBook Pro, it was clearly more than my wife needed so we settled on the feather light Air as the best option.  When I picked her up from school later that day I was not empty handed, as I have so often found myself.  “Happy 13th anniversary my dear, here is your new toy.”  I had fun setting it up for her but not sure I will be getting my hands on it very often in the future, except for software upgrades and the like.

On another weekend OMM, a frequent reader and contributor to this blog, visited Chiang Rai with his girlfriend.  It was pretty early in the day, so while his girlfriend did whatever girls do, we got together for coffee and a familiarization tour of the town of Chiang Rai.  It was nice putting a face to a name and having someone new to talk with for a day.  We basically spent our time visiting and taking in the city sites until it was time for me to go pickup my wife after school.

No two people are ever at quite the same place in life and factoring in age and different experiences it can sometimes be challenging not to step on other’s dreams or interfere with their chance to experience their own adventure on their own terms.  I must say, on this day I had a great time as it provided an uncommon break from my routines and hopefully I contributed something of value to OMM’s journey.  I found it interesting to see how some aspects of being newly bitten by the Thailand bug have changed with the advent of new technology but at the core much of the experience is not all that different from what I went through more than thirty years ago.

There have been a few recent mountain bike rides that didn’t make it to the blog.  There were some new trails mixed in with the old and some odd encounters but I have done the bike trails thing recently and prefer to mix things up on the blog.  Then again, perhaps I am just easily bored and distracted when things get too busy.  After some trail abuse, I found the back tire had a slow leak that caused the tire to deflate after a day or so.  I took that as an excuse to get the Trek into Northern Bike for a checkup and ended up with some upgrades.

Not being a racer or overly serious about my riding, I see little need for the lightest and greatest but thought some minor upgrades might be in order.  So in addition to the back tire, I got an entry level Shimano Deore crankset installed with new grippier peddles and a Cateye Velo 9 to give me an idea of how far I ride.  Nothing a true enthusiast would be impressed with but new and exciting for me.  Everything performed well on yesterday’s ride.  With heavy rain the night before and things not completely dried out, it was an interesting ride and not easy going in places where the clay clung heavily to my tires.  On the way home I took the opportunity to stop by a visit with a young German friend in a neighboring village.

Another friend recently arrived for his yearly visit, has found himself spending a few days at one of our excellent local hospitals.  It just so happened that on one of those days I was in town to take care of the bike.  In these parts it is the done thing to go visit people in the hospital, with family often spending the night to help take care of the patient.  I’m not big on hospitals myself but took the opportunity of being in town to stop by for a visit.  It gave us a chance to catchup on what had transpired in our lives since last we talked.

There was one more chance encounter I remember, though I’m sure there are others that don’t come to mind at the moment.  There was a new female member posting on a local forum early last month.  She posted nothing revealing about her identity on the forum but on two different occasions I saw a young woman at the Central Plaza and there was something about her that caught my attention. 

Call it intuition, or being nosy if you like, but on the off chance I might be wrong, I sent her a private message to confirm my suspicion.  A man I may have approached more directly but I didn’t feel that was the correct approach in this case.  A bit astonished that I was able to guess her identity, she acknowledged that it was indeed her on both occasions.  Later I spotted her with her Thai husband talking with a local real-estate agent as I entered Starbucks.  We ended up having an interesting conversation first in English while her husband was finishing up his business and later in Thai when he joined us.  Eventually my own wife showed up and we all got a chance to visit.  Hopefully, we will all get together again soon.

Though I don’t find spontaneity as easy as it was in Bangkok it is still an important aspect of life for me.  It is the new, different, unexpected and unplanned that adds spice and color to my life.  Sometimes I find it by seeking out new trails on the mountain bike and other times the unexpected happens on our trips to town.  I never know where, when or how but I always know something new will cross my path, even after more than 35 years in Thailand.

Sabai Corner Bar

Another sunny afternoon, looks like another golden sunset on the way.... I leave the dive shop at 5:30pm. Should I drive straight home? Normally yes, but now and then, a little detour is called for. From Karon Beach, it's only a 10 minute drive through Kata, then I head towards Naiharn beach. The road from Kata to Naiharn is steep and twisty. I was thinking of a sunset beer at the well known After Beach Bar, but then remembered seeing some friends photos on Facebook. A new place called Sabai Corner, not far from there. Just a few minutes further to the Karon Viewpoint, then turn off down a small road heading down towards to sea. Sabai Corner is not signposted, but I pass a small "Reggae Bar" .. did I get the location wrong? Ah, finally find it a bit further along the road, only a few people there, and I am happy to see there's parking space.

Sabai Corner Bar

Got myself a small Chang beer and enjoyed the view.

Beer with a View

The location is such that you are actually facing North, although on the West coast of Phuket. There's a headland jutting out to the West and the bar is on the North side. So the sun was setting away to the left and the view was along the West coast of Phuket towards Kata Noi, Kata and Karon beaches, though the only sand you can see is at Kata Noi. Phuket looks very green from this angle, and in fact the island is very green, just get out and explore away from the busy areas...

View from Sabai Corner

Sabai Corner Bar Phuket Sunset

Not bad, right? Coming back here for sure! The actual sunset was not so great, there was cloud on the horizon. You can get very picky with sunsets when you live in Phuket :) But sometimes you get a great colour in the sky just after sunset, so I thought, maybe one more beer and we'll see ...

Staff at Sabai Corner

I had a chat with Chaini, the owner. He also runs the Kok Chang elephant trekking company which is not far away from here on the road back towards Kata. He's building a few bungalows here at Sabai Corner which should be ready for high season. He also tries to keep Sabai Corner reggae-free! And quiet. This is a great spot for a few drinks, a sunset, maybe a few more drinks, but you don't want to be riding a scooter back in the dark on these roads. Dark, twisty, hilly and every now and then people get robbed in the area. Always late in the night. Car = safer, or get the staff to call you a taxi back home. Oh, at the moment they don't do any food at Sabai Corner, that might change, but it's meant to be a "Sabai" place for a few drinks. Sabai means happy, relaxed, comfortable, easy going and more. And the sunset was pretty good really!

Sabai Corner Bar Phuket

Sabai Corner - Location Map

View Sabai Corner Bar Phuket in a larger map

The ultimate question of life

The two fundamental questions that confront, assail and torment us in this post modern era are

1)What is the meaning of life?
2)Where do they keep low fat milk in supermarket?

Lot has been said in the past and lot more will be said in future about the first question.
So this post addresses the second question.

But first a caveat.
No one, and that includes me too, can give a definitive answer to the question. You can not find low fat milk by reading a blog post. You can sit at home and read all the posts about how to find low fat milk. You can read till the cows come home. But those cows are not going to give you low fat milk. Not even the ones that eat the posters of malayalam blue films instead of green grass.

To get low fat milk you need patience, perseverance and even luck. But you know what is even more important than those qualities? Drive. Yes, Drive! So I encourage you, urge you, plead with you to get your ass off that couch and shove it in a car and drive to the nearest supermarket. Because supermarket is where you will get the realization about meaning of life and perhaps low fat milk.

And while you embark on this trip of ultimate quest remember the following words of Gauthama Buddha.

Life is what happens to you when you are searching for low fat milk. Oh! By the way, full milk is the root cause of all misery.
-Gauthama Buddha.

In fact, it is this saying of Buddha that helped me find the answer to the ultimate question - where do they keep low fat milk in supermarket? According to Buddha, life happens to you when you are searching for low fat milk. By the same logic, low fat milk will fall upon you when you are searching for ..... yes! extra virgin olive oil.

But where the hell is extra virgin oil in super market?
I wish I could answer you. But someone is pressing the calling bell. Maybe my wife is back. In our house, She goes to supermarket while I speculate on the ultimate questions of life like the wherabouts of low fat milk.

Bye Bye. Take care. Good luck to your trip to supermarket. May plastic cover be with you. (One rupee per plastic cover! I think it is atrocious.)


This is a repost from last year , still true and important and I am still on the maintenance program  and feeling good .

I was laying in the hammock thinking , and remembering , something I do a lot of ,while enjoying my retirement, and the blessing in mine and Ciejay's life and reaping the benefits of all the hard work ,until I retired and moved to Thailand.

The thought that popped into my head was some advice my Dad gave me while I was a kid,and young adult, and growing up, He always stressed the importance of maintenance and that if you wanted to enjoy the things that you invested you time and money into that if you maintained and took care of it (things) you would get a life time of enjoyment and use from them. I thought( then) that all he meant was ,my car , my home , my yard and things. Now as I have gotten older I realize that everything in our lives need maintenance, our friends, family , wives, kids , pets, neighbors, our spiritual lives, and also of course our cars, homes , and yards, and things.
Lately with the encouragement of my wonderful wife Ciejay and my Pastor , and my Dr. and a look in the mirror( who was I looking at ?), I have begun to do a little maintenance on a very important part of my life, MY BODY , and you know what?? it has paid off ,my blood pressure is now normal and my sugar count has gone in 6 months from 147 to between 90 and 98 which means that I have beat the diabetes 2 problem and my Dr. said next month I can quit the Pill yee haa . The maintenance is easier than I thought , getting up earlier than my usual 9 or 10 am and going to bed a little earlier, and a mile walk with Ciejay and the boys (our dogs ) at 8 am at least every other day( will increase the distance as time goes by) . . About half way thru the walk (slow first half ) I do about 15 min of senior exercises, and stretches, nothing painful (you don't need pain to get gain ) and the last half is a little faster pace , not much and WOW what a difference it has made in my life and energy level, and the way I feel about myself, and the way I can look at Ciejay's Honey Do list and not cringe.
I'm sure most of you have a maintenance program in place and if you don't I would encourage you to start one. The better I feel ,the more I love being "Retired in Thailand and Loving It."


It was last November when I first found Dutch-Way Family Restaurant located on the far end of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Like Yoders, this is another restaurant that is part of a supermarket. Also like Yoders, the restaurant is in the same building but separated by a hallway, and in this case, that hallway has a snack bar with some very tempting treats. But it is wise to pass the snack bar

Phuket FC - Come and Watch the Football!

Football is very popular in Thailand, although the national team has never done anything much though they have won the ASEAN football championship, but have never qualified for the world cup finals. But the TV in Thailand shows English, German, Italian, Spanish football and more. As in many countries in the world, football is a good conversation starter. You'll find plenty of Man Utd or Barcelona fans in Thailand, but the Thai league is also popular. I mean, not in the same league as big European countries, but popular nonetheless. Thai Premier league games can get crowds of over 20,000.

Phuket FC play in Division 1, which is a step below the Premier league. I went to watch Phuket a couple of times when they were in the regional Southern league, and blogged about it a couple of years ago - see Watching Phuket FC. They got promoted to Division 1, but last season was a bit of a mess, Phuket seemed to run out of money and supporters turned against the people who run the club. Now there is a new sponsor, who also owns the big Kata Group of hotels. And so ... we went along to a game last weekend, mainly because our son plays football with the "Kata Group Academy" and for this game he was going to be one of the kids walking out with the teams before the match :)

Phuket and Chanthaburi Teams Enter the Field

Thanks to Dane, who was there taking photos for The Phuket News, for taking some pics of our son. You can read a match report with Dane's goal action photos here.

Phuket fans were hopeful of a win here, against bottom team Chanthaburi FC. A win would lift Phuket out of the relegation zone. I would like to think that our presence helped, as part of a crowd of just over 2,000. Our son enjoyed his moment in the spotlight and our kids enjoyed the party atmosphere at the game as Phuket ended up with an 8-1 victory, which I believe is their best ever win! We attended with some friends whose son also plays weekend football with the Kata Group kids team. Of course at such a young age, it's just for fun (our son is only 7) but hey, he might end up in the Thailand team one day! Or maybe the England team, they could do with some decent players! We sat in the main stand, and I wandered to the end of the stand with the kids to join the serious supporters. Here's a short video I made ...

They were silenced after about 2 minutes of the game when the other team scored .. However, did not take long for Phuket to start knocking goals in, and it was 4-1 at half time. The stadium does look a bit empty with only 2000 fans, it can hold way more. If you like football, come to a game! You can find info on schedules on the Phuket FC Facebook Page. Home games normally start at 6:30pm, which is just before sunset at this time of year.

I do enjoy the crowd almost as much as the football. It was great to be here on this evening with Phuket doing so well, and with a new sponsor investing money it was easy to feel a sense of optimism in the air. Next home game on July 7th against Krabi FC. A local derby, should be good!

Phuket FC Supporters

Phuket FC supporter with giant flag

Fun for all the family. At half time, it was beer o'clock! A few drink and snack vendors wander around the stadium selling things like chicken, orange juice and dried squid on a stick .... For anything else, well, you can quickly exit the stadium and there's a minimart just over the road. I ran over there to buy some beers for myself and our friend who's a hotel manager with the Kata Group. The squid on a stick seller made several appearances during the game. I did not buy any, it's not my thing. Very popular Thai snack, but I reckon it stinks! Here's the dried squid man ...

Squid seller at Phuket football game

We sat right behind the Phuket FC bench nearer the goal that Phuket were attacking in the second half. 8-1 could have been more than 10 easily, Phuket even missed a penalty. We had a good view of the goalmouth action in the second half. My kids now had little flags to wave (bought at half time, 40 Baht each) and put them to good use :)

Phuket FC Bench

The supporters club just kept on singing ... with a little help.

Phuket FC Cheerleaders

The girls were there selling an energy/health drink "for men" but joined the Phuket FC fans for a while to add some colour (red) among all the Phuket FC green shirts. I should get myself a team shirt before attending the next game. Entry fee is 80 Baht, games are played at the Surakul stadium on the edge of Phuket Town not far from the Central Festival mall. I would not be expecting any more 8 goal drubbings, but the team has some new impetus and my family wants to see more games now! Looking for something different and 'non touristy' in Phuket? Get to the football!

Here's a video showing the goals from the match Phuket v Chanthaburi. Also briefly shows my son and other kids coming out onto the pitch with the players before the game. He was a very proud boy. Hope they can do it again!

Surakul Stadium - Phuket FC - Location Map

View Surakul Stadium Phuket in a larger map

Update October 2012 - Phuket had a so-so season, but survived in the 1st Division after a couple of wins in their last 2 games. Hurrah!

Planting Rice 2012 ...

It is that time of year again and our neighbors are very busy planting their fields.  Rice is so much a part of the fabric of village life, yet so foreign to most outsiders.  Things are changing for sure as everything becomes more mechanized but on days like today one can glimpse the soul of village life, the way it was in simpler times and sometimes still is.

Some may see only dirty backbreaking work but from my house I can hear their laughter and friendly banter.  Taunts of going “inter”, as in international, and perhaps finding a farang were heard as I walked among them.  I assured them they would indeed be gracing the pages of my blog as they had in the past.  Have a look at these photos taken this morning, as I mingled in their midst managing just barely to stay out of the mud.  Take a look and see if you can see what I see.  At posting they are still out in the field, spirits still high, undaunted by the task at hand.

Another day another field.

Retirement----Why Thailand

 Me and my Valentines Girl
 Our home after  remodel
Ciejay and baby elephant
 Taking it easy
 A visit to a Thai Temple ---- Lots of them in every village
 Me taking a swim with Moll-Lee
Train Station 4 blocks from our home
 Fresh (and I do mean fresh ) fish
 Me and Bok taking a nap
 Sue and Alex

When we travel on vacation or we are out and about one of the most ask questions is "Why Thailand."In order to really answer that question , First, you have to know that I am married to a Thai lady , and one of my main concerns in my marriage was what could I do to make her happy .We came to Thailand in 2003 on a vacation and a chance for me to meet her family and kids. I saw at once ,how happy she was to be in her home country with friends and family , and yet have the security in knowing that she had a husband who could and would do anything she needed , with-in reason to make her happy. Not only could I see how happy she was , but I at once fell in love with Thailand , there was lots of things that attracted me to the LOS , BUT the most important one was how happy Ciejay seemed to be .
I knew it was about time for us to start thinking seriously about where we wanted to live out out retirement years , I had always thought about somewhere close to my Brother and Sister, out Tenn. way , and we went for a visit to check things out before coming to Thailand the next year on Vacation , and somehow it just didn't feel right to both of us. Before we came over to the LOS we had mentioned to each other if the opportunity and time arrived that we would look around and maybe think about Thailand (of course  it was my first visit ,so much of the decision would be on my shoulders. We looked around and then on the last day when we came to Kanchanaburi and our small village of Whang Pho  , We looked at each other and smiled, and knew this was the place. We had little daylight left for this visit to her Older Brother and the next day it was off to Bangkok to catch the plane and head home , Would you believe we found a little house and piece of land and bought it in the dark of night , saying that we would be back next year when I retired and make it our home , Everyone laughed and thought to themselves  that they would never see us again, but we fooled them all and you can read about the move and remodel and moving , in a older post , just go back and start from my first ones .

Now that was a long story to tell you the main reason  for choosing Thailand. Some of the others are as follows and in no order of importance , all of them to us are important reasons for choosing the LOS.
1.--My small SS check is enough for us here in Thailand.
2.--We were able for Ciejay to buy a house and small piece of land  with what little money we had in savings.
3.--The weather is the kind of weather I always thought I would like about a place, when I retired.
4.--The food is out of this world tasty, healthy (spicy mind you )  but plenty and fresh, and growing everywhere , even in your own backyard.
5.--The Thai people, even tho it took a while to get use to their way of life and culture and their way of thinking .
6.-- The almost crime free village and area we live in .
7.--Lots of things to see and do , and a lot of it not far from where we live .
8.--Our Thai family
9.--Our dogs(our kids )  that can run free and wild .
10.--Our home and little piece of paradise.
11.--Our village and the town folks .
12.--And our neighbors
13.--Our Drs. and health care
14.-- Our church and church family
15.-- The difference in my health since moving here to Thailand
16.-- And the difference in me and my thinking about life and living.
That's not all the reasons , I could go on and on , and you might say "well couldn't you find that in your own country ", maybe so , But we didn't. and we have found it here in what we call our little piece of paradise, that , we believe the Lord had saved just for us and all the blessings  that go along , with being Retired in Thailand and Loving It .                                                                          Malcolm

Falling Skies Season Two Premiere Review (spoilers)

10 months ago, Season One ended on quite a cliffhanger. Tom Mason agreed to enter the alien ship and allegedly talk with the alien masterminds behind the invasion (who are dubbed 'Overlords').  What did they want to tell him?  Is it possible they want to negotiate a truce?  Will we learn more about the aliens?  Speculating about all of those questions was good fun, but now it's time to get some real answers to these questions... or at least some of them.

Tom saying goodbye to the 2nd Massachusetts Regiment is a huge deal.  He's placing his life on the line by walking into the unknown and he's putting the safety of the people he loves in Captain Weaver's hands - and let's face it, Weaver has almost always needed Tom to serve as his voice of reason.  Thankfully, the premiere wastes no time reuniting Tom with the militia and does an excellent job showing us what happened on the craft.

Just like Season One, the show kicks off with a bang.  We're treated to another resistance versus alien encounter, except this time around the humans finally have the upper hand.  A handful of skitters and a mech walk right into an ambush, and the fight is anything but fair. Pope (who has some Spider-Man level reflexes in one moment), Weaver, Ben and Hal lay waste to the alien invaders as they unload clips and clips into their enemies and set off explosives.  I immediately noticed the improved visuals, and that's a huge plus since this show relies on a host of CG heavy scenes.  More importantly, the encounter gives us a quick recap on the cast without any forced exposition.  Pope is the traditional anti-hero in the group, Weaver is in command, Hal is now second in command, and Ben is chugging some serious haterade.

Previously "harnessed" by the aliens, Ben is driven by revenge and wants to kill every skitter and mech he sees.  While the harness was removed, parts still remain and he continues to change.  Luckily for the resistance, these changes have created their very own super soldier.  He's faster and stronger than regular humans, and with a bloodlusted attitude, he's definitely going to become one of the most interesting characters this season.  

Unfortunately for Ben, he was a little too trigger happy and puts a slug in his father's gut.  Thankfully, the lights going out for Tom means we get insight on what happened to him while he was away.  As he dreams, we see he was kept in captivity for some time before finally getting some one-on-one time with the Overlord.  The alien using Karen as a puppet for his voice helped make these moments especially enjoyable.  It presents Tom with an offer: an alleged safe zone for the remaining groups as the aliens go on to wreak havoc on the rest of the planet.  As expected, Tom refuses and equates the offer to a prison.  The Overlord fires back, rubbing humanity's lowest points in Tom's face (the holocaust, trail of tears, etc).  Tom retorts, saying he expected such an advanced species to be better than us, but the massive alien shrugs off the insult.  This is without question one of the standout scenes of the episode.  Tom has the brass to hold his own in a conversation with a creature that towers over him, it sheds new light on the attitude of these mysterious figures behind the attack, and to top it off, we see Tom electrocute the fool.  This segment also has the luxury of introducing what appears to be an reoccurring skitter with half of his face deformed/injured.  His eye is bright red, so it's easy to give a nickname based off of that, but I'd rather call him "Alien Two-Face" from now on.  

The Overlord claims the resistance doesn't pose a threat, but this conversation makes it pretty transparent that we pesky humans are proving to be quite then nuisance.  Tom gives the extraterrestrials a piece of his mind with what appears to be a giant cattle prod before ultimately being allowed to leave.  As Tom exists the ship, it's surprising to see he's with a large group of resistance leaders.  Based on a short conversation, it seems like the Overlord offered each human the same deal.  However, this conversation is cut short when a mech opens fire on the crowd and Alien Two-Face is by its side.  Tom is the only one to escape, and soon we'll see why.  I can't help but wonder if this means several other resistance groups are still fighting the good fight, and if so, if the 2nd Mass will bump into them.  Regardless, it was nice of them to let Tom go, but they dropped him off over a hundred miles from home and without any cab fare.  Not cool.  

On his walk back home, Tom encounters a girl struggling with a large man.  Always the hero, Tom saves her and eventually convinces the girl to let him use her motorcycle.  While the survivor is terribly obnoxious and defensive, the character does a good job reminding us that the resistance militia actually has it easy in comparison to the other survivors.  They've lost all hope and have been reduced to only looking out for themselves and their immediate family, without a care in the world for their fellow humans.
We're shown a decent chunk of Mason drama as Ben and Hal go at it over the chain of command.  Hal's pissed at Ben for going on a killing spree after he was told to cease fire, and to top it off, Ben went behind his back and started teaching their youngest sibling, Matt, how to use a firearm.  It isn't exactly the most original feud around, but it absolutely beats hearing Matt always whine about how he's being treated like a child.

The highlight of the first hour has to be when Dr. Glass and a few others hide from a passing mech.  The few stayed behind to finish up medical work on Tom, and as they focus on digging a bullet out, the flashes of lights and thunderous stomps of the mech get closer and closer.  The noise these giant killing machines make is awesome and would definitely make any survivor wet their pants.  It's almost like a T-Rex with a sore throat.  Despite that, a decent chunk of the first hour was dedicated to the theory of alien ships tracking heat from vehicles.  A plot device or two later and the problem is solved.  It honestly felt like filler to me and I'm shocked the aliens didn't think of using this method sooner.  The first hour ends on an important note I've been thinking of for at least half of the episode now... why aren't they more concerned on how Tom made it back to them?

Tom is concerned over blanks in his memory from his time with the aliens, and it looks like his fears are justified.  The second hour delivers one of the creepiest moments you'll see in recent TV history (it'll be familiar if you watched Prometheus) as we discover the aliens did indeed put something in Tom.  What can only be described as a mechanical bug slithers around the hero's eyeball before being gruesomely ripped out.  Was this a tracking device?  Can it control him? Are there more inside him?  We won't receive any answers in this episode, but it's likely we will next time around.  Regardless, Tom has always been the wisest among the bunch, so he immediately knows that he needs to be restrained.  Despite this, Weaver still demands for Tom to be his second in command, and frankly, we can tell if it's because he needs Tom.  When he has a foolish plan prepared, he knows Tom is there to point out all of the flaws and even suggest something superior.  I can't help but feel as though Tom will eventually replace Weaver during this season.  We'll just have to wait and see.  
In spite of Pope serving with the group for months now, he's still being treated like a man they can't trust and they constantly give the dude a hard time.  Every now and then it's cool to play on that if he's being an overly sarcastic jerk, but when he's questioning their safety over Tom's mysterious return, I'd say it's a perfectly legitimate question to pose.  I really hope they're not going to play the whole "he's a bad boy and we can't trust him" card this entire season.  The man has had their backs for at least three months now.

We also see that Ben is getting hardcore headaches every time he approaches an alien base, but he's hiding that information from Weaver and his peers.  I understand he's likely concealing this information because he's insecure about his slow mutation or fears they'll treat him differently, but the pros massively outweigh the cons.  It seems painful for him, yet tolerable, and can provide a key tactical advantage in the war.  Getting a headache again?  Heads up, it means there's a big ole' base nearby!  At any rate, there has been a key focus on Ben, so I'm certain we'll have a chance to explore why he's hiding that from the humans.

The final action sequence of the two-hour premiere must have cost them a pretty penny or two.  There's plenty of gunfire, explosions, and more mechs and skitters than I recall seeing in any other scene so far.  Once again there's a scene where Pope is treated as the sketchy guy even though his decision to blow up the bridge was completely rational. 

Complaint time.  What really killed the adrenaline heavy moments for me was the hero-factor surrounding Tom.  We know skitters have us completely outclassed physically, yet he decides lunging and trying to grapple with one is a wise idea.  When said skitter decides to effortlessly toss him against the wall, tis but a scratch!  Later on, he'll evade gunfire from a mech that mowed down 6 or so gunmen.  That same mech was smiling in the face of .50 caliber bullets, but when Tom decides to man the turret, it's serious business time and that huge robot takes some damage.  I found this especially peculiar because Dai (who has a shining moment with a RPG) previously revealed the pick-up truck mounted guns were packing the anti-armor rounds.  It's unclear if it was just one specific truck of if they ran out of the ammunition, but I imagine if they have the ammo, each one of those heavy weapons will be equipped with the special rounds.  Matt also has Hawkeye-like accuracy as he saves his father from a close range skitter attack.  Recoil be damned for a child who apparently trained with a gun once!  Overall, these are all pretty minor complaints and I must admit I'm excited for the next episode.  

For me, this show isn't even close to the quality of hits like Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones, but I'm a sucker for a good alien invasion and it's keeping me thoroughly amused.  It's cheesy at times, but they've created the groundwork for some interesting topics during this premiere and hopefully they'll continue to do so.  The main cast does a solid job and I was happy to see they're beginning to expand on the secondary characters.  Hopefully Season Two can continue with this kind of momentum.