Flying to someplace as far as Thailand was a first for me, if not for Mo. I was so excited and it was hard to figure out just what to take. I had packed several times, but still spent the last day before our departure trying to figure out what I really needed. I am still not a very good international traveler I am afraid, I think my one checked bag was a pound or two under the limit. That is one of the nice things about not having to haul my luggage around all the time alone. We are traveling with Grand Circle Travel, the same company we went with last year to Malta. They do a great job of getting us around a country without a lot of hassles, but we still manage to stay somewhat independent and do our own thing as well.
We left Jamestown at 11:45 and drove to SF via 108, 120, 280 and in to San Bruno. Found our Super 8 hotel with ease, unloaded and checked in, then decided to go to Union Square. Parking was 2.50 for 20 minutes so we didn’t stay long, but still had Irish coffee at O’Doule’s and went to the 5 story Williams Sonoma store, my favorite! The lights in Macy’s were gorgeous! Huge wreaths in every window of the skyscraper. The main window had really magical displays that told the story of Beauty, Wisdom, Peace, etc, with magnificent puppets. It was a great way to enjoy the Christmas season a bit before traveling to a country where Christmas might not be such a big deal.
Early Monday morning we tried to sleep but of course I was too excited to sit still so we called the taxi a bit early. A very large, very friendly, and very talkative and smelly guy took us to the International Terminal in his beat up cab. Once there we sailed through all the check points in spite of the new regulations for security. Ate a great breakfast of foccacia bread and coffee while we waited for our flight.
We left San Francisco at 12 noon with seats in the center so we could have an aisle. It was nice getting in and out but I really missed the view, although most of it would be over the ocean and in the dark. We flew 12 hours to Tokyo, but it didn’t really seem as long as I thought it would. I knitted a lot, and sometimes tried to watch tv, but the most fun was the electronic solitaire game on the seat back tv's that we played till our eyes bugged out. Finally arrived in Tokyo which was actually pretty boring, at least in the part of the airport where we were able to see. Not much there, but the security police looked very smart in red uniforms and white gloves. We had to go through security again and wait about an hour for a change of planes.
My eyes were burning horribly from the airplane air and all the solitaire, so I tried to find some eye drops. Tokyo is expensive, I am sure, but the airport is worse. Reading Japanese is not something that gives you any visual clues about what you are seeing whatsoever, so I finally found a tiny bottle of something that the clerk told me was eye drops and dropped about 1000 yen for it which turned out to be something like ten bucks! I think the cure was worse than the problem, though, I felt as though I was dropping acid into my eyes. Note to self: carry eye drops in those ziplock backs of liquids on the plane!
Funny thing. When we finally got on, it turned out to be the same plane. We were on United Airlines, and our plane was an AIRBUS 330 and really quite comfortable even in coach class. The flight to Bangkok was 8 more hours. Early on I thought I was going to be really uncomfortable, but it actually went fairly quickly, with the help of solitaire, of course. Arriving in Bangkok at 12:30 am and the Montien Hotel at 2 or something in the morning, a bit worse for wear, ready for some sleep and to thankfully close our eyes at last in a real bed.