The long trip home, A few stories

by Ken | 28th March 2012



I must disclose, I have been back un the US for more than a week now. Jet lag is still a part of my life, but it is “voluntary jet lag.”  (I like being up at 3:00 or4:00AM wideawake.  It’s a pleasant time, the world is quite and peaceful.)

Helmet? I needed full body armor!

Many of the photos used here are from Jacques camera

Jacques flew on Emirates

Thanks for sharing with me Jacques

 

I actually came back to the states on the 17th of March. I left Chaing Mai on the evening of the 16th, and was en route for 31 hours, and thanks to crossing the international date line I got to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day for an extra 14 hours.

I should have tried harder (celebrated harder) to drink myself into a stupor. It was a grueling journey!


All total there was 11 hours of airport terminal waiting time.  A bright spot in that itenerary was the nine hours in Seoul Korea.  Thanks to my friend and travel agent Kaji I was given a pass to Korea Air’s “premium” lounge,  (More on that later.)

 

 

First the truely ironic story about being grateful for Burger King.

Time was winding down, and I was counting my money and figuring out what money I would need to pay my tab at Joe’s Guesthouse, leave a tip, eat for a few days and still have enough money to exit the country.  (I was told that you needed to pay 500 bot (about $17.00) when you exited the county.) Well after I payed my tab, and set aside the 500 bot. I only had 240 bot left over.  I figured that that was plenty for dinner at the Chiang Mai airport.  Wrong-o Kenny boy! Food may be cheap in Thailand, but not airport food, I could not find anything for less than 300 bot until I ran into Burger King. No I’m not going to be singing accolades to Burger King, actually it was the first meal in Thailand I didn’t finish, but there was one thing that was actually way better than any meal I had in the past month —they has napkins you could actually use!  If you go to Thailand be prepared to clean up with the flimsiest napkins God ever put on this planet.  Kinda like toilet paper only thinner.

 

 

 

That’s a good segway into another unique thing I really like about Thailand and I wont go into detail because this come so close to my dinner story.

 

 

Whenever you are travelling in a Third World country it’s a good idea to keep some toilet paper with you because you can’t count on it being there when you need it. I’m going  to include a picture of a “squatter”, because I think there are a few of you out there who have never seen (or imagined) such a toilet.

The "Squatter" Manual flush (There is a bucket with a dipper ladle next to it.)

The good news is Thailand has great toilet facilities, I only ran into a few of these, and  almost every toilet you find has a bidet with it, so no worries if you don’t have your toilet paper. (No more detail is necessary on that area of discussion.)

There I did it,  I slipped in one thing I have wanted to write about this whole trip, but didn’t quite know how.  But I loved that all the toilets had bidets!

 

I was hoping to find a better picture this is the best I could do with a Google search.

Obviously Google does not know what a “Squatter” is

Back to the trip home, then some random pictures taken off of Jacques camera. (He is a much better photographer.)

On the flight to Soeul I sat next to a young Thai guy on his way to Vancouver, British Columbia.  It was his first trip away from Thailand. Kitbordin Keawmanee is his name, “Kit” for short, and it was a real pleasure sharing some time with him.  He had to struggle to speak in English, but we were not going to be communicating much with the three Thai phrases I knew. The first thing he expressed to me was how lucky he felt to have been seated next to me. (There is that Thai humbleness and grace again)  Kit was going to be staying with a host family in Canada for six months while he went to school. He grew up in South Thailand (Phuket region) and loves music.  Funny the way that providence lines us up with these connections.

We both had a nine hour layover in Soeul and so I asked him if he would like to hang with me. I mentioned earlier that my friend Kaji in Seattle has arranged for me to get a pass to the premier lounge in Soeul, it took some gentle persuasion to convince the Korea Air rep that my friend Kit also deserved a pass, but in the end we both “got in.”

Two “commoners” about to mingle with the “upper class”

I don’t really know what “first class” travel is like, but appeantly there is a level of luxury that I was totally unaware of.  Here are a few of the features you find in this lounge that are a bit hard to find elsewhere in the airport:

Comfortable Chairs and lounge seats
A dedicated work area with desk space to plug in your computer and work.
Several big screen TVs
A buffet (totally free) with a wide assortment of gourmet dishs 
A free expreso bar
All the reading material you might desire – (if you are  jonesing for the news or fashion that is)
Or if expresso is not your cup of tea, a free bar, stocked with wine, beer, cognac, whatever
Shower rooms stocked with every toiletry you might need
Last but not least the most modern bidet toilets I have ever seen.  

Needless to say Kit and I enjoyed our 8 hour sojourn into the world of the rich and famous.
 

Topcs still on my wish list to discuss.

Food — Transportation, — The Thai state of mind.

Sabai Sabai 

Actually there are four things I know how to say in Thai –loosely translated

Whatever —It’s All Good


5 Responses to “The long trip home, A few stories”

  1. masai

    Mar 28th, 2012 :

    You write a terrific travel journal Ken…filled with just the right amount of “oh oh, we don’t discuss that in polite company”, and regular travel/tourist interests. Plus I LOVE your photos. You have the right mix of words to visuals.

    I heard that “no jet lag”,which is a homeopathic remedy, is a good resource for jet lag. But ya gotta take it as you travel, not after the fact. Get some for the next trip

    love ya and welcome home – masai

  2. Diana

    Mar 28th, 2012 :

    Oh yes, those squatter toilets are really the best… as long as they are in a private place so no one can see your privates. In India I saw women squatting in the fields but their beautiful saris covered their booties.

    I like your photos too… see ya on the lake… happy spring!

  3. Cynthia

    Mar 29th, 2012 :

    Welcome home!

  4. Laima

    Mar 29th, 2012 :

    Well done mate. Looking forward to traveling around our lake together and hearing some more of those stories first hand.

  5. Lisa Guscott

    Mar 31st, 2012 :

    welcome home, we want to book you for 3 trips this summer, if you can swing that. Love you, see you soon.

Leave a Reply

Name (Required)

Email (Required - will not be published)

Website

Message (Required)