Thailand is known as The Land of Smiles. Why? Because the Thais use the smile to say or communicate many things, and to us, the foreigners, or "Farangs", as we are known in Thai, misunderstandings are commonplace, as we never really know what a Thai person is saying to you deep down. They may laugh something off, but inside they're seething. It took me years to try and fathom this behaviour, and I still don't think I've got it 100%, but I do it a lot better than many others. This song was written on the Piano, one of just a few of my songs written on that instrument. It is playable on a guitar, but doesn't sound quite so good...The song's lyrics refer to my 20 years of being an expat in Thailand, and coming back to the UK on a permanent basis again after 30 years away (I was 10 yrs in NL before Thailand!). The culture shock was immense, and also challenging and exciting, especially for my family who didn't even speak English at that time. So the lyrics are a tongue in cheek look at that departure from Bangkok Airport, and coming in to Scotland 12 hours later. I often ask folk if they can guess what airline it was, and the clue is in the lyrics. "The flight to Dubai would be 7 hours long...." It was definately a major landmark in our lives. There is a Ying and Yang aspect to this song too. I wanted to show the difference between the peaceful non - stressful life of the East, which is the musical mantra of this song, and the stressful full on pressure cooker life over here in the West, which is portrayed in the song "You keep Throwing my Heart Away', which is basically the same song, with a different musical chorus and lyrics, but the same music for the verses with a different mix.
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Lyrics for "Land of Smiles (From The East)"
I caught my plane just in time
And we took off a into the night,
Down below in the Venice of the East,
The klongs sparkled in the lights,
We crossed the river Kwai and out to Myanmar,
And out to the Andaman,
The flight to Dubai would be 7 hours long,
So you settle down as best you can
The flight was long so I wrote a song,
for the girl in the seat next to me.
She was happy to flirt and flash her thighs
As she messed around with her TV
The food was great, and I ate my steak
With a bottle of Chardonnay,
There was a break in the clouds and when I looked down,
I could see the hills of Galloway
Here we are home again,
It's been about 20 years,
Seems like nothings changed at all
No, it seems like nothing's changed...
I left home to find a better place,
And maybe I did for a while,
The sun was warm and it never rained at all,
It was great in the Land of Smiles.
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