A Year in Thailand

My journey from Corvallis, Oregon to Bangkok, Thailand did not start particularly well. Actually, things started going tits up on Tuesday in preparation for my 2am Wednesday departure on the Hut shuttle to PDX. And it was really no one’s fault but my own. I seriously underestimated the amount of time it would take to finish all my preparations. I actually expected time to finish a book I had been reading. Ha!

My friend Joel, was a great help by helping with the last second tasks and actually getting me to the shuttle (barely) on time. My suitcases were packed but not in the organized way I usually pack for even a small trip, not a one year absence. There were some potentially important things that I know I forgot and I am just hoping that I can work around that potential.

The ride to Portland was uneventful and though I kept nodding off, I could not really get any sleep. I arrived safely and was amazed at how busy the airport was at 4:30am though the line through security wasn’t very long.

And speaking of security, I made it through only to be told that there was actually some water in my water bottle (about an inch and a half and that They would either throw it away or I could be escorted back outside the security zone where I could drink it or pour it out. Neither option was allowed according to the bitch TSA guard. I wanted the bottle to refill so out I went, drank the water and again went through security. In perfect recursive fashion, TSA stands for TSA Sucks Again.

The rest of the journey went pretty well but I wish I could have slept more. I arrived in Bangkok at about 11pm and made it through immigration with no hassles and went to get my two poorly packed suitcases. I waited as everyone on my flight got theirs and wheeled it away. The flow of bags stopped and “Last Bag” was posted yet neither of mine were there. My second worst travel nightmare. We won’t go into the first.

The baggage representative was very helpful and filled out the lost baggage report. Unexpectedly, he even gave me the equivalent of $50 in Thai money (1500 Baht) to help with sundries until the bags arrived which, he said, was almost always the next day.

Well, the next day, Thursday, passed and no luggage. On Friday, amidst a flurry of calls back and forth, they said they found one of the two in San Francisco. It arrived Saturday afternoon. Today is Sunday and this morning I called again and they said the second suitcase (the one with most of my clothes, all of my medications, and lots of other stuff) should arrive at the airport Monday night around 11pm (same flight, different day) and would be delivered on Tuesday. I am relieved but won’t be completely relaxed until it comes.

In the mean time I have been washing out my one pair of socks and underwear every night and drying them on the balcony each night. I finally broke down and bought some more of each, at least enough to last me through Tuesday. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Of course, the trip hasn’t been only about my lost luggage. I am staying with my friend Barry and his family here and have been eating well, perhaps too well. The day after my arrival, I went to the dentist to get a new gold crown on a molar. The first visit is the hard one with all the tooth preparation. I will go back Wednesday morning to get the new crown to replace the temporary one they made.

Yesterday was a fun day. I met my friend, Gao, at a sky-train station near the big weekend market and we took a taxi to her apartment to get her car and her room-mate Gung. We then drove a couple of hours out of Bangkok to pick up her sister, Dang and go to the Amphawa Floating Market (http://www.bangkok.com/magazine/amphawa.htm) near Dang’s house. I have long wanted to see a floating market, there are at least ten of them around Bangkok, and I was not disappointed. It wasn’t as big as I expected and it was crowded but it was interesting and a lot of fun.

Well that brings me up to date. Stay tuned for more.

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