Tuesday, August 02, 2005


Chiang Mai in August is wet, warm and still wonderful. I arrived here with all my luggage yesterday. Small miracle about the luggage, since my ticket was a patchwork of 3 tickets; a domestic flight (read sardine transport) from Minneapolis to LA, a 4 hour layover, a much anticipated ride on a non-US carrier to Hong Kong, a 4 hour layover, flight to Bangkok, a 4 hour layover, and a domestic 65 minute jump to Chiang Mai.
As I checked in my luggage with the agent at Minneapolis, she and I both chuckled as I asked "do you think I will ever see my bags again?"

The cattle-ride from Minneapolis to LA was nice enough if one lowered expectations. 6 ounces of orange juice for a 3.5 hour ride, what more can you ask for, really? As Dreaded pirate Roberts would say "This word they use 'service'...I do not think it means what they think it means".

LAX is as welcoming to travellers as Immigration officers are to foreigners (ambiguity intentional). The gate area had about 50 seats for 400+ passengers.

The world changed as I stepped through the threshold from the gate to the plane, ground to air, drab to exotic. My trans-pacific flight was on Cathay Pacific, an airline I hope will open up routes from Minneapolis to wherever they want to take me. aside from marveling at the void between my kneecaps and the seat in front, I cherished the food and amenities in coach class, that these days are reserved for Millenium-titanium elite status folk stateside.

The n-teen hour ride was much less tormenting than anticipated, as I deftly avoided the blue screen of information trauma ("time to destination 11 hours and 34 minutes...."). By the time we landed in HongKong (at 4 am) I was only mildly discombobulated.

I commandeered a pair of VERY comfortable sofa-esque chairs in the terminal that belonged to me and about 5 sleepy cleaning ladies, and slumbered for at least an hour or 4.

On the plane from HKG to bangkok they fed us again!
On the plane from Bangkok to Chiang mai a couple of hours later, they fed us AGAIN, and this was a 65 minute flight...This word they use 'service'.....

When I spotted my luggage on the merry go rounds at chiang mai, I threw up a couple of peace symbols as a shoutout to the big guy/gal/thing up above for taking care of me so well, and then stepped out to the thailand-proper of the other side of the airport terminal.

The shuttle service (once I called them to not forget me) was instructive, as I learned to say hello, goodbye, 1,2,3,4.......10 in thai, and I reached 'home' after Sam-Seip (30) hours of traversing the globe. I walked past the olympic size pool, and the lush flower jungles that surrounds my room. I forgot to do my signature flailing on the bed in sheer excitement of a new place (due to sheer exhaustion), but deep inside somebody was tickling me into a smiley sense of belonging.

Next, trying out this thing called real thai food.....

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