We left JFK at around 9pm on Friday night, with hope and excitement gleaming in our eyes. Our flight was made in 3 legs.
The first, to Frankfurt Germany, was arguably the more difficult of the 3, even though it wasn’t the longest. Perhaps it was simply because we were getting used to what was to come, that this part felt so much harder. For me it was getting used to being trapped in such a small space, for such a protracted period of time. Before this, the longest I had been in a bad seat was for 4, maybe 5 hours. Here, it was closer to 7 hours, just for the first leg. For Lauren, I think the struggle came in the form of finding food that she could eat. Naively, we had opted for gluten free meals, which basically meant they gave us fruit and rice cakes. No joke.
Luckily I think we learned our lesson on this one and managed to make the 2nd leg work in our favor. While significantly longer, I think I started to just get used to the leg smashing after a little while. It definitely helped that the Germans sitting in front of us for the first leg, who so joyous liked to move their seats around, got off in Frankfurt. While it was still a tight space, it became easier as time went on to lose myself in the cornucopia of relatively new movies available on the screen in front of me.
For food, we managed to get our meals switched to the normal ones for the next leg, which while still not ideal, gave us both better choices. Honestly, I feel really bad for people who have an actual gluten allergy and have no choice in these situations. While it was food, it really wasn’t what I would consider complete meals in the way the rest of what people were served was.
Overall though, the flight was great. Singapore Airlines has amazing service and while our gluten free choice was unfortunate, that was our fault entirely and the rest of the food was quite impressive for an airline. The in flight entertainment was a life saver as well. Both Lauren and I were able to find plenty to keep us entertained for the 18+ hours of flying to get to Bangkok.
We arrived at Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) at around 12pm on Sunday. At this point, the airport felt familiar enough that I’m not sure the fact that we had flown almost to the opposite side of the planet had hit me yet. Getting out was actually quite fast, even though we did have to go through immigrations to get our visas, we still made it to baggage before our bags had arrived.
It was when we finally started heading into the city via taxi that I think I started to notice the differences. The mix of high end and low end. On one side you’d have big stadiums and tall buildings, then you’d see a group of small shacks along the road. Strangely, the state of the city itself reminds me quite a bit of Detroit, where there are just a lot of old run down buildings that time has forgotten about.
By the time we reached our hotel, our resolve to stay awake for the remainder of the day, so that we could reset our sleep schedules had drifted away and instead we passed out for a good 6 1/2 hours. Honestly, I’m not sure we could have made it much longer on the brief naps that we got on the plane.
Finally, we woke up to what sounded like explosions a little ways off. While I think a part of us panicked briefly that we had just walked into a war zone, a quick inspection out the window showed that it was just fireworks over downtown. Silly, right? Honestly, while they looked like fireworks, some of them sounded more like bombs. Guess we’re a tad used to the way these happen NYC, where you hear fireworks and they sound more like crackling and less like large booms.
Crisis averted, so it was time to go out into the city.
Khaosan Road Market
Given that we really only have a day in Bangkok, we didn’t want to waste too much of our limited time here. Being that it was night already, we decided to head over to one of Bangkok’s famous night markets, Khaosan Road.
The market itself is a combination of bars, clubs, restaurants, food vendors, massage booths and a flea market. Lauren tells me this was a very touristy place to visit, which was evident by the gouged prices and the diversity of people there.
After treating ourselves to 1/2 hour foot massages, and a snack of some fried crickets, we sat down for dinner and a beer at one of the restaurants. Followed by some coconut ice cream, in, you guessed it, a coconut.
So far I still don’t think the reality of where we are has hit me yet. I still feel a little like we’re just in another neighborhood in New York. Tomorrow we’re going to go visit one of the parks, before we had back to the airport and make our way to Burma. Maybe it’ll finally sink in by then.