Posted by: facetothewind | December 12, 2013

Finally made it

Lordy gawd, what a long journey to Thailand. I left Sean’s in Florida at 11:30 am on Monday and arrived in Thailand at 5 pm on Wednesday. I can’t even do the math if I add in all the sitting in airports part, but it was something like 45 hours of travel. My flights were: Fort Myers (delayed an hour and half but a 90 minute flight) > Atlanta (missed my flight by 1 minute and went stand by on next one) > Los Angeles (ridiculously cramped flight, broken video screen and lousy food that you have to pay for, but a 6 hour flight)> Seoul, Korea (free booze and food and a 14 hour flight) > Bangkok, Thailand (more free booze with breakfast and a 6 hour flight) > Chiang Mai (1 hour).

When I arrived, I was beyond tired and hungry with a 14 hour time difference. I was actually in a dream state having only had a couple hours of sleep sitting up on various flights. Amazing I was able to purchase a SIM card for my phone and get in touch with my Thai friends. I slept for 12 hours with some chemical assistance at 2 points in the night. Funny about jet lag of this magnitude is that your bowels awaken at the strangest times.

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In Atlanta with oversold flights and me on standby because my previous flight was late due to the big storm. Honestly, I would never fly Delta again for not holding that flight 1 minute. I arrived at the gate at 4:26 which was the scheduled departure time. Knowing that so many flights were delayed b/c of the storm, they could have let me on…they hadn’t even closed the jet door yet. When I got on the next flight I asked for them to give me some free wine because of the hassle and guess what? They did! I was shocked at that small gesture of kindness. Oh OK, they gave me 3 ounces of free wine. I’ll reconsider Delta next time.

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Finally in Los Angeles, the midnight flight to Asia on the Korean Air A-380 – the largest jet in the world and a pleasure to fly on. The only drag was the large group of loud and pushy Korean women returning from a trip to Vegas. I especially loved the loud clearing of one’s throat. They have VERY different physical boundaries than we do in the West. I got pushed and shoved and luggage run over my feet and shouted over. The best part was the women not locking the doors on the jet lavatories. Really? Oh, and as soon as the flight touched the ground but was still rolling, they unbuckled and jumped up into the aisles to the horror of the flight attendants.

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One of the best parts of the long haul flights is the chance to watch lots of movies and take Xanax and drool myself. This flight they had movie “classics” like Ordinary People. I sat in my seat bawling when Timothy Hutton and Judd Hirsch hug. Nothing like a tear jerker when you’re drunk and drugged. That embrace meant so much to me as a young man when that movie came out. It was all about being a tender, misunderstood teenage boy with a parent he couldn’t relate to. I could relate. Is it apparent?

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Back in Chiang Mai on Soi 7 – it feels like home in a way. I love that I only need a bike here which I just rented for $7 for the week. And I shop at the open markets and visit with the various people I know from past visits. It’s a village and I feel like I belong in some small way. Thai people are amazingly friendly and the food is great and clean. The weather is soft and warm but not hot. I just had a fabulous massage for $8 which explains the soft glow.

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Ponnapa and me at her little sidewalk restaurant in Chiang Mai. She’s a sweetheart and makes the best Pad See Ew Gai – thick rice noodles with chicken. She is having her 60th birthday in January and my 50th is a few weeks later. She is cooking for free for all her customers on her birthday. Isn’t that a stroke of generosity you don’t much find in the US?

It’s good to be back in the land of petite, smiling, generous people. More to come when a theme arises. Right now I’m all about recovering from that heinous 2 days of travel. Night night from the other side.

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Responses

  1. Can’t wait to hear all the tales of your journeys in the coming days.

    (And thank god I don’t fly anymore. Well, at least not from/in this country. I do still fly abroad.)

  2. You have my full sympathy. I’ve sworn never again to fly from the East Coast of the USA across the Pacific, nor the reverse. It’s too hard, and it gets harder with every passing year. Now, I always stop in Hawaii or Fiji en route to Australia. Always.

    • I learned my lesson.

      Tough trip. But mostly worth it – even after only 1 day of sabai sabai here in Chiang Mai. 🙂

      On 12/12/13 11:31 PM, “Field notes from a noticer”

  3. Holy Mother of God, Fort Myers to Thailand? That is some major mileage. Glad you made it. Perhaps you can share some RSW survival tips in an email as I’m heading there on Jan 7 for a month. Thought is to buy a reasonable used car and then drive back to Oregon. I always find Fort Myers lonely, so in between trips to Barnes and Noble to kill time I’ll be needing something to do. Enjoy the rice paddies. Love to see it. xo tusk


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