Friday, August 1, 2008

Day 1 - Bangkok

I'm here! The trip over was about as good as it gets. I purchased my ticket through Kayak and ended up on JAL. Wow. It'll be hard to go back to an American carrier after that.

On the flight over I read the second half of The Glass Castle, two issues of People, Real Simple, Architectural Digest and Sunset, and watched 21 and four episodes of Sex and the City.

Random observations:
  • The JAL flight attendants, chicly dressed including hats, were concerned with service, in addition to safety. The food was free, plentiful and edible, and they even gave us those small hot washcloths to clean up before meals. When you ask for water, they offer you the entire bottle.
  • The seats on JAL were the smallest I'd ever seen on a plane. This was fine for petite me but the few taller people on board did not look so happy.
  • The personal entertainment system in my seat had on-demand movies plus video games and a nifty camera that let me watch the takeoff and landing from outside the plane.
  • People wear the strangest things to travel. I was wearing Lucy pants, a t shirt and a light jacket. Other people wore short skirts and spiked heels, and others wore skintight jeans with tube tops. How comfortable could that have been?
  • Moving walkway etiquette is the exact opposite of here. Walk on the left side; stand to the right.
  • The security checkpoint at Narita offered guidelines, not hard and fast rules. They suggest you take your shoes off but do not require it. They suggest you leave your water bottle outside it but do not insist you do it.
  • iPhones are not yet distributed in Asia so using one causes people to stare.
It was pouring rain when we landed in Bangkok, rain like I haven't seen since I went to college in the Midwest. Thunder, lightning, wind, the kind of rain that seems to attack you from all angles. The 747 landed pretty far out on the tarmac. I felt for the ground crew, all dressed up, wearing bright yellow slickers and still drenched, holding umbrellas to form a covered walkway from the stairs to the waiting bus. Apparently most US flights arrive late at night so it took a while to get through customs. And then I hopped into the hotel's waiting car and left the chaos of the airport. The picture above is the view from my room.

I slept four hours, read the Bangkok Post (see very interesting ad from the front page!) then called and woke Neeracha and met up with her for breakfast. The hotel's breakfast buffet is on the 25th floor and has both Western and Asian foods. She ate this rambutan and I had scrambled eggs and pineapple. There's a Starbucks in this building, too, so we got coffee for her husband Sean, who got up a little later. The coffee is all the same but the pastries look even better than the ones at home.

And that brings us to right now -- where I sit on the couch with her MacBook Air while she and Sean read the paper, and their daughters play.


Paige said...

Thank you for blogging this! So happy to hear you are safe and happy and ready for your adventure.

Here's what you are missing here...... yeah, nothing.

Paige said...

And congrats on your book! Can't wait to hear more about it.

Polka Dot Moon said...

Glad to hear you arrived safely! I've never been overseas or on a plane longer than 5 hours!

I look forward to reading more of your adventures :) Have a fabulous time!

and....Congratulations on your book!

Kathy B! said...

I am so intrigued! I have never traveled beyond the confines of North America. Pretty sure Hawaii doesn't count :)

Thanks for keeping such a wonderful journal of your adventure. The first thing I do every morning is check to see what you've been up to!