Beginnings in Bangkok (Part 1)

Beginnings in Bangkok (Part 1)

Moving to the opposite end of spectrum from the other week’s Lots-of-Feelings post, the intent of this post is 100% detail, for the sake of documentation. There will be little reflection and analysis, and hopefully not too many Feelings — although they will show up again in the future, I promise, because I have a lot of them. For now, in the spirit of brevity and organization, here is an itinerary of what I’ve done so far, with some pretty pictures for good measure.

March 27th, 2014: Flew out of Atlanta International Airport, bound for Seoul, South Korea and finally Bangkok. It was an exceptionally long journey. Excerpts from my journal confirm this and also illustrate that one cannot be entirely relied upon to maintain one’s mental well-being while imprisoned in a 660,000 pound sky-ship with 500 other souls in sardine-like tow. Exhibit A:

1 hour in: Every single attendant on this flight is absurdly pretty. Contrary to what I’ve heard about Korean Air only hiring women, there is a male attendant in my section and he is as immaculate and attractive as the rest of them. Very impressed.

2 hours in: Just watched Frozen on the in-flight entertainment system. Delightful. Will now watch Frozen again, in Thai. 

4 hours in: I’ve never flown a 15-hour flight before, so I can’t really judge how superior Korean Air is, but overall I am impressed. Decent(ish) food, little slippers, nice blankets, hot towels, pastries of indeterminate origins (it looks like cheesecake, has a cheesecake-like consistency, but is decidedly not cheesecake. WHAT ARE YOU?), and random snacks of little buns on which I missed out because I was spacing and was startled when the attendant brought them by, and apparently my reaction to being startled is to refuse food. This is not evolutionarily sound. Am going to be naturally selected any day now.


{PIO (pastry of indeterminate origins) in question.}

6 hours in: Zzzquill is useless.

8 hours in: I have reached a place where I look around the cabin and think: Yes. I live here now. I understand its rules and logic and order and I know where the bathroom is and how to operate it and that the lit up green light does not mean it’s available, it means that you can get out of your seat and try your luck at getting into said bathroom. I know who snores, who coughs, who wheezes, in which approximate direction (north east) resides the child who is not happy about pineapple juice. When I realized that I have nearly seven hours left I barely blinked. I have stopped thinking about Soeul. I have stopped thinking about Bangkok. I have stopped thinking about getting off this plane. I live here. I have always lived here, and I will always live here. Thank goodness the attendants are so pretty.

10 hours in: Have reached the point where i am telling time based on where my neighbors are in Frozen. It has been exactly three songs and a snowman since the last time the north-easterly child screamed. 

12 hours in: Misery has begun to set in. Have completely given up on sleep. No one in my line of vision is watching Frozen. There is no logical reason that this should upset me, but it does. Maybe I’ll try sitting cross-legged.

12.5 hours in: Update: Sitting cross-legged does not work.

No further documentation found. Future scholars who have yet to be born are concerned for the journalist’s fate.


{this is a picture of a window in a korean air boeing 777-300 and is in no way intended to represent a tomb, or feelings of imprisonment, or the dying hope of ever kissing sweet earth again.} 

March 28th, 2014: Arrived in Bangkok. Was properly exhausted and a little ill after the 25 hour journey. Made a Thai friend during the two-hour layover in South Korea who herded me through the BKK airport upon arrival. Wandered somewhat hopelessly around the airport looking for a sign with my name on it, until a friendly gal from South Africa, henceforth known as “Austen,” asked if I was looking for the XploreAsia pick-up, to which I gratefully agreed that I was, which she thought made sense because I was wearing teacher shoes. Sign with my name was located, identity confirmed, and with one other teacher in tow (we will call her “Kalia”), off we went into the Bangkok night, jetlagged and hotel bound.

March 29th, 2014: Reached hotel at 1am and checked in. Took a shower and luxuriated in it, even though the water was tepid at best (soon discovered that the hot and cold handles were mislabeled. Subtle yet important distinction). Slept for about four hours. Woke up and stared at the wall for a few minutes that turned out to be several hours. Jet lag is a myth, right?

Wall-to-human staring contest was interrupted by Austen, who suggested venturing outside of the hotel. Met up with Kalia and another girl from the program who we shall call “Kelsey” (because that is her name) and went a-venturing. Took a wrong turn and ended up in a hospital. But we left the hospital with mango ice-drinks, so overall felt pretty good about the encounter.


{torie in a tuk-tuk}

Group increases to six (Hi, Torie and Gigi!) and we venture to a mall. Torie instructs us on how to use the train. It is basically like the underground in London but elevated. Still, nothing makes you feel quite like a sophisticated local like successfully navigating the public transport — even if you are a pink-cheeked American with a limited grasp on the word for hello (sawadeeee ka).


{boom. public transport.}

Other things happened.

March 30, 2014: Did not sleep. At all. Very bitter about it. Met up with a large conglomerate of to-be-teachers and went to a market that sounded vaguely like Chattanooga, but which google insists is actually called Chatuchak. Hijinx ensued. image

{first pad thai in thailand. was pleased.}

{it was hot. i bought a fan.}

We returned to hotel, and lounged around the hotel’s rooftop pool, and generally felt pretty grand about being in Thailand in a pool on a roof.

{100% ok with everything happening in this picture}

To be continued at a later date, or in a few hours, as soon as I feel like procrastinating my homework again.

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