Friday, January 6, 2017

First Trip of 2017 - Getting to Bangkok

View of the Chatuchak district in Bangkok from my hotel window.

My first trip of the year started on New Year's Eve with a 12:15 p.m. flight from Orlando to Detroit.  Then on to Shanghai.  After an almost four hour layover in Shanghai, the last leg was a 5 1/2 hour flight to Bangkok.  Where I arrived at 2:30 a.m. on Monday, January 2, 2017. 

This was a trip I'd planned (and purchased a ticket for) before I received Kyle's Christmas gift.  On December 28, 2015, I attended the wedding of my friends Matt and Lori.  We taught together in Mandalay, Myanmar.  Lori is due to have their first baby on February 15, 2017.  She's having the baby at Bumrungrad Hospital in Bangkok.  Medical care there is far superior to medical care in Mandalay. Because Matt couldn't take time off school to be with her for the six weeks she's waiting in Bangkok to have the baby, I volunteered to keep her company.

I feel decidedly guilty when people say "Oh, you are such a saint to travel so far to be with your friend."  Nope, not really.  Have you been to Bangkok?  $6 massages.  Some of the best street food in the world.  Hardly a hardship to spend six weeks with a friend here.

The flights were mostly uneventful.  I say mostly because on the last leg, from Shanghai to Bangkok there was an incident.  I got up mid-flight to use the toilet.  As I made my way down the dark aisle, past sleeping passengers, I tripped over the legs of a young man who'd stretched out across the aisle.  I went down hard.  He was very annoyed that I woke him up when I fell over his legs.  I was very annoyed that I was bruised and not able to punch his lights out without getting arrested.

Unfortunately, once in Bangkok it took me over an hour to discover that my luggage was still in Shanghai.  The Sky Team staff explained that the four hour layover in Shanghai was too tight for my luggage to make it.  This was my fourth arrival in a row in Bangkok when my luggage didn't come out on the carousel with the other passengers' luggage.  I'm starting to feel picked on.
Delta mistakenly thought this was all I needed for six weeks in Bangkok.
Before I tell you about Bangkok I have another travel story.  In Shanghai the gate to my flight to Bangkok shared a seating area with a gate whose flight was leaving for Ho Chi Minh City.  I sat down and quickly noticed that the man sitting across from me was staring at my toes and commenting on them to the woman next to him.  He then started talking to the man sitting next to me about my toes.  That man began translating for me.  It seems the man across from me was intrigued because he thought my toes looked like the position that monks hold their hands in when they pray.  Because of that, he believed that I had been touched by Buddha and was both holy and lucky.  He went on to explain, through my interpreter that while I was having a good life now, my next life was blessed and would be even better.

This man said I had been touched by Buddha and predicted wonderful things for me.  BTW, I'd been traveling for over 24 hours when this photo was taken.

This was my interpreter.  He lives in Toronto and was going home to Vietnam to visit his family.

This discussion lasted for over an hour and a whole group of folks got involved.  All were fascinated and several asked if they could touch my hands, since clearly I was blessed.  I was happy that the man predicted good things for me.  I'd have been happier if he'd predicted that I was going to face plant on my next flight - would have saved me some bruises. 

The interaction did remind me of the fun and adventure of travel.  If you are open, you may meet amazing and diverse people and have a lot of fun.

No comments:

Post a Comment