Joural Update 01 – Departure and Arrival

Hey all, I’m just checking in here to say that I’ve made it; I am safely in Thailand. The trip, although long, went as smoothly as one could hope for, so I’ll have to ham it up a little bit for the story to be any kind of entertainment. You can check that out after the break, but know that I am currently enjoying the heat, food, and hospitality of the Thai people. Oh and by the way, feel free to comment at the end of this post and let me know what sort of things you’d like to see in future updates. Devoid of suggestions, this blog’s content will likely look a lot like my last blog.

Like many nights before an important event, I just couldn’t fall asleep. Though, unlike what you might be thinking, it wasn’t because of a mounting sense of excitement in anticipation of my coming journey. Rather, it was because I had hastily organized a game of Texas Hold’ Em that I couldn’t simply walk away from. At around 10pm the night before my departure, I rationalized that I would easily be able to win or lose the game long before I needed to leave for my flight. Another hour went by every time I glanced over my shoulder at the clock, and by the time 2am came around I wondered if sleeping for an hour and a half was really worth it anyways.

Looking back, I really should have skipped the game in favor of the more traditional and effective form of rest and relaxation we humans generally call “sleep.” Nonetheless, I quickly (and somewhat indecently) lost the rest of my chips (which may otherwise have been an arduous task had we been playing for money) and put myself down for a quick nap. “After all, some sleep out to be better than no sleep at all” I mused as I drifted off to sleep. As it turns out, the rest of the guys were still playing by the time I left, so my premature departure did not turn out nearly as fortuitous for my last opponent as it seemed it might have been at the time.

Unfortunately, my sleep schedule was not so fortuitous for me. My first flight was to Seattle and, of course, I slept the entire way there. But thereafter presented the challenge: my layover was seven hours. I might have gotten up to something in the city had I been in any sort of shape. Contrary to this, I really just wanted to find some dark expanse for which to stretch out in and nap undisturbed. But, as you would know if you’ve spent any amount of time attempting to sleep in an airport: this is simply impossible to do. Granted you may gain ONE of the aforementioned qualities, but you can’t expect that to last for very long.

I found an empty section of the airport and swiftly commandeered a row of seats for a bed. I simply rolled over after the first few babies started crying, but had to check out what the matter was after around the fifth started up. Not even an hour had gone by when, to my surprise, I awoke to find the area completely swamped with sweaty travelers. I caught a glimpse of a few hopeful souls who looked longingly over from the wings of the room at the seats I was apparently selfishly taking up now. Needless to say, I felt that it was probably time to move on. The judgmental stares at the impression my bag had left on my face burned holes into the back of my head as I walked away from the gate. Nevertheless, I began my search to acquire a more sheltered napping area, free from the gawking public. Unfortunately, the new area I found lasted just as long as the last, so I had to change tactics. Perhaps it was an earlier reading of Proverbs that prompted my new strategy for, as it says: “Do not love sleep or you will grow poor; stay awake and you will have food to spare” (20:13). Thusly enlightened, I decided it was a good time to go for brunch.

Now, three hours to eat a burger might not be normal (for you), but it becomes increasingly rationalized the more time you are simply forced to wait around for something to do. I ate at a Chili’s Too which, as far as I can tell, was exactly the same as a normal Chili’s. I bring this up though because of the amazing burger ingested therein. If you’ve never been, I’d recommend you try their Big Mouth Burgers. In all seriousness: each slice of bacon is like eating a small steak. I don’t remember EVER seeing bacon so thick, so its worth trying for that alone.

I returned back to sleep on my flight to Seoul, but found that I had a lot of time on my hands when I awoke. I decided to check out what sort of movies were available, and ended up watching, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011), Memoirs of a Geisha, and Hugo. I had never seen any of the aforementioned films before, so it was a good way to kill some time. The first two were quite entertaining, but I could have done without Hugo. I’m not sure why that movie was so popular… Maybe it was just the order I watched them in (a thriller, then a romance), but I just couldn’t get into Hugo.

Besides that though, I must say that Korean Air is one of the best companies I’ve flown with. Though I was only flying economy, I felt as if everything was high quality and service oriented. There was classical music was played during seating and taxiing (The Blue Danube Waltz during takeoff), and the food was some of the best I’ve had whilst flying. In addition to this, the flight attendants were diligent with their services as the brought drinks and snacks every hour. Both my flight to Seoul and Chiang Mai were excellent, and I’d recommend the company to anyone flying in their area of operation.

I arrived in Chiang Mai around 11pm and got through customs without any questions. Now I had to find my ride. I was given a photo of the man who was supposed to pick me up but, as it turns out, he didn’t show up! This would have been more worrisome had someone else not been there for me. So yeah, that’s the story so far! Apparently I’m the first one to arrive, so I’ll be meeting the other interns throughout the rest of the week. For the time being, I’ll just be hanging out until the program officially starts on Monday.

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