Saturday, March 10, 2012

Day One: The Journey to the Far East

I wouldn't normally write a post about a plane ride, but there are some very interesting things that happened that I would like to document.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I was really anxious about flying for 24 hours. I had no idea what I was going to do for that long and feared that I might get antsy and claustrophobic. I packed all of these activities to keep me occupied and I must say I did not touch one of them! I was plenty occupied by 4 movies, 3 meals and some sleeping. Before I knew it, we had landed in Tokyo.

Our plane from DC to Tokyo was unlike any one I had flown on during my many trips. It was a 777 with close to 400 passengers. There was not an empty seat to be found. The business class seats (which we did not have on this leg) were interesting. Half of the seats faced forward toward the pilot like you would normally expect and the other half of the seats faced backward. It was a little strange.  At first, I thought it would make me sick to ride backwards on a plane for 13 hours, so I was thankful that we didn't have those seats. But, on the flight from Tokyo to Bangkok where we were upgraded to business class, guess who had a "backwards" seat. That would be me!
The cockpit is actually at my back. It didn't make me sick, though. My seat unfolded into a bed, so I just kicked back and went to sleep. Sadly, I was so full from the crappy airplane food in coach that when the good stuff came in business class, I wasn't even hungry! My dad was happy because he got two meals.

Speaking of my dad, this was his seat on our first flight.  There is no seat in front of him. He said he wanted legroom and the man got legroom. Everyone around us was commenting that we have never seen a seat like that on a plane! It's great if you have super long legs because you can stretch out to your heart's desire.

Being on the initial flight for 14 hours meant lots of walking around to stretch and avoid blood clots. As I would pace from one end of the plane to the other, I noticed something. There were close to 400 people on our plane and only about 10 of them were women, including myself. Yes, really, only 10! It was strange. I felt like I was a part of some social science experiment. This number doesn't include the flight attendants, but still. It could be because we were going to Tokyo and a lot of businessmen fly to Asia for work matters. It could be because Thailand has an issue with prostitution and unfortunately, a lot of American men take advantage of this. I have no idea, but it was weird. The benefit of only 10 women was that there was rarely a line for the bathroom! HA!

Arriving in Bangkok was a little disorienting. Not only had we been flying for over 24 hours, we had trouble figuring out what time it was. We left DC at 12:00 in the afternoon on Saturday and arrived in Bangkok at midnight on Sunday. It was so confusing to think we had completely missed a day and in a few short minutes, Monday was upon us. After gathering our luggage and going through immigration, we set out for our hotel and arrived there around 2am on Monday morning. Let me tell you, I thought New York City was dubbed "The City That Never Sleeps", but I think Bangkok claims that title. At 2am on a Monday morning,  the streets were hoppin'! Street vendors were cooking, people were dancing and mingling in the streets. "Don't these people have to go to work in a few hours?!", I thought when I was admiring their energy.   Either way, I knew all the action was symbolic of the fact that we would have a fabulous time on this trip! And that we did.  Check back for more details on our first full day in the capital city.

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