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Golden Triangle and Bermuda Triangle: The Som Tam Link

Flight 19 was the designation of a group of five Grumman TBM Avenger torpedo bombers that disappeared over the Bermuda Triangle on December 5, 1945, after losing contact during a United States Navy overwater navigation training flight from Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

All 14 airmen on the flight were lost in the so called Bermuda Triangle.

Not known until recently was that one of the crew members had a Thai connection…

Somchai Watanatam had joined the US Air force in 1944 and despised the standard bland Navy food that was served.

Somchai’s father originally came from the Chiang Saen area, part of the infamous Golden Triangle, an opium smugglers paradise at the meeting point of 3 countries; Thailand, Laos & Burma (nowadays Myanmar).

On that fateful December 5 Somchai’s craving for ‘som tam’ had finally reached breaking point and accidentally created a wormhole that sucked him and his fellow pilots smack dab in the middle of the Golden Triangle…

As Einstein said ‘The distinction between the past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.’

Unfortunately Somchai’s wormhole was spontaneous and therefore uncontrolled which resulted the Avenger squadron appearing in the Golden Triangle in a very different age…

Some centuries old folk tales of the hill tribes in that area mention 5 giant birds suddenly appearing in the sky and disappearing in the distance, followed by massive explosions, so it seems highly unlikely that Somchai got his beloved som tam at all…

A classic example of being at the right place but wrong time!


April last year I started this blog and was glad to receive some positive feedback from friends, family and acquaintances.

However one stood out, an email from Ken mentioning a potential title which somehow got stuck in mind, see underneath…

But what to make of something like that?!

To my surprise I managed quickly to come up with the above ridiculous story.

However photos…, I did download some old WW2 pics and maps that I found on the Net and was thinking of slapping some filters on them, still, it seemed a bit like a cop out…

In the end I just let the draft gather digital dust and completely forgot about it until last week when suddenly I found myself looking at an old photo of Grumman Avengers planes flying in formation and another about flight 19…, I really had to dig deep in my memory to remember what that was all about.

Bit by bit the whole idea came back and suddenly a recent remark from another friend about why not using some of my drawings in my blog brought a solution.

Instead of using filtered old photos why not make new illustrations instead?!

I know it’s supposedly a photo blog, but hey, I can do here whatever I want, so that's what happened!

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