Monday, February 22, 2016

Homeward: Bangkok, Thailand, to Tokyo, Japan

First off, from the Sri Lanka home front, the brief word from Pat is that they served 38 people at Monday's eye clinic at Adara Sevana, the school in Moratuwa. What a wonderful impact and relationship building opportunity in the local neighbourhood! (Even the resident pug puppy is excited! No, really - that's an excited face - you'll have to trust me on this.)

All went well for my afternoon and overnight in Bangkok - well, overnight meaning another 3:20 AM wake up for a 7 AM ish flight. (Sadly, growing up in the '80s has propelled into my head the snippet of song lyric, "one night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble...". Another childhood moment courtesy of my older brother's radio station choices.)

The Thong Ta Resort hotel was a lovely, calming place to rest for the duration. And their staff has some serious folding skills to create towel ninjas!  I was also heartened to see evidence of a fruitful local Gideon's group in the well-thumbed bedside New Testament. 

Venturing outside the hotel grounds, I got a massage to help work out a few travel kinks, 

and ate some smashing noodle and wonton soups from a street vendor, with a little help ordering from a very kind local customer sitting near the cart. Later, I managed to order all by myself - with much pointing and gestures on both sides off the conversation! - the second bowl for takeaway, which included some of the duck you see hanging from the cart window. Very tender and yum! And in case anyone is fretting, yes, it was safe; I had Gary's assurance. The takeaway packaging process was interesting, partly because it was done in about 20 seconds: broth ladeled into a plastic bag then secured with an elastic; wontons, noodles, greens, and duck portioned out in a plastic bowl then flipped into waxed paper, folded up and secured with a second elastic; all popped in a thin plastic bag atop a styrofoam bowl, plus chopsticks and seasoning pack - presto! 

After the charming chaos of Sri Lanka, Bangkok seemed almost a tad pale in comparison. The orderly traffic flow, all staying within the correct lines, felt almost a waste of good driving space. 

However, taking a bit of a walk, I definitely noticed Bangkok has its own slightly calmer charms, including this lovely businesswoman (another new Facebook friend IF I were on Facebook), who sold to me some Thai snacks to take home for Tom, my husband. She lives outside of the city and works as a middleman, coming into Bangkok weekly to sell traditional snacks that others have made and packaged, carrying the basketed pole across her shoulders. Here's hoping, for Tom's sake, that the packaging is official enough to make it thru customs in Denver. 

I'd hoped for a longer walk in Bangkok, since the front desk assured me the neighborhood was very safe, but air quality was not the best to be trekking about. I  can understand why many local people wore basic filter masks over their nose and mouth. But since it was far less intense than the forest fire pollution we've had in Montana, I still ventured a short stroll. 

It's rather fascinating to think that I left Bangkok at 7:10 AM Tuesday morning, and will arrive home in Montana at 4:30 Tuesday afternoon, since at my departure time it was just 5:10 PM in Montana - on Monday evening.

I've just arrived at Tokyo Narita Airport - hooray! - so can fire off this post.

Now for the trek the gate for my last connecting flight, to Denver, Colorado, USA. More to come once I clear customs there! - Cyndy

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