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What time is it?

December 7, 2011

After a 9-1/2 hour flight, I arrived at 4:30 a.m. local time in Bangkok. As usual with any sort of transportation, getting here was certainly interesting (though perhaps it should not have been). I had thought, “I am sure we won’t have a full flight – after all, just how many people fly from Bangkok to Kiev?” but I was mistaken. The flight only goes three times a week and I had not accounted for people who layover in Kiev.

Getting out of Kiev was also interesting. Previously I had gone through the new terminal, which led me to believe that the process was speedier than it actually turned out to be. Twenty minutes waiting to check my bag and thirty minutes waiting to go through security (after which I was rewarded by having to turn on my computer and open up my camera and both lenses) reminded me that nothing happens quickly in the country in which I live.

I was fortunate enough to sit far from the crying children on the flight, unfortunate enough to not sit in business class (which was nearly empty, whereas coach was full. Don’t I deserve a free upgrade?) and the men in front of me were, well, let’s say they were demanding. The young man next to me was from Sweden and was nice, but the food was not enough for him and he ended up hungry (and I did too for a while, since they served us fish for lunch. I did not eat much but got a strange reaction from the fish I did eat. Hmm. Another reason to not eat it).

Then it was arrival in Bangkok – what a beautiful airport! Well-labeled, and I can imagine the word “bustling” describes it during the day. After thinking I forgot my directions to the hotel and booting up my computer (again) to retrieve them (I found them this morning exactly where I had put them for safe keeping) we got on the road to my hotel.

So far, what I have seen of Bangkok from the highway in the early morning hours and our arrival into the city has been impressive. New buildings, next to old ones – an interesting juxtaposition of the old world and new, traffic and people out even at the hour of my arrival, noise and more noise (thankfully I have my earplugs) and a whole lot of smiles.

The temperature gauge on this computer says it is 41 degrees Celsius outside. My taxi driver told me Chiang Mai right now is “cold” (which I think in their definition is 25 degrees Celsius) and there is a whole city for me to start exploring now that I have had about three hours of sleep (I kept waking up – cold from the air, so I turned it off, then hot from no air, then cold, etc.). However, in the interests of seeing some of the city while it is light out and being able to sleep tonight, I kept my sleep to a minimum to try to adjust myself to this schedule.

Now it’s off to check out what the city has to offer…and to eat!

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