Out of Africa (and into Asia)!

Trip Start Oct 12, 2010
Trip End Mar 24, 2011

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Flag of Thailand  ,
Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Remember the movie "The Terminal" starring Tom Hanks where he lived in an airport for months?  The past 2 days have been like that for me!  I left Marrakech early yesterday morning and flew to Gatwick, then I flew to Dubai and finally to Bangkok.  Left Monday morning at 7:30 AM and arrived Tuesday afternoon at 3 PM.  I'm slightly delirious from all the airports and airplanes and basically travelling through 3 continents in 24 hours with 1 hour of sleep but I made it to Bangkok!  Wow!

Some impressions of the flights and arriving in Thailand:  first of all, hey Emirates Airlines, where have you been all of my life?  I've basically travelled Air Canada or budget airlines the past few years and boy, was it a pleasant surprise to fly the friendly skies with these Emirates guys!  Beautifully dressed attendants, refreshing hot towels when you take off, millions of movies to choose from (I actually watched a quarter million of them in the past 24 hours), free drinks and snacks, then you are handed a MENU of what you will be served - sweeeet!  Fantastic meal of tuna nicoise salad, roll, chicken with mushroom sauce and vegs, a coconut and mango mousse dessert AND all the free wine or whatever you want to drink (they drew the line on champagne, which I felt was acceptable).  Such attentive and professional service..... are you hearing this Air Canada????  Oh, and they had remote controls under the TV panels that controlled all the video/audio as well as your reading light, calls for the attendant and lovely classy blankets etc. 

Anyhow - enough about the flights (though in my sleep deprived state, I could rave on, believe me).  I landed briefly in Dubai and although I was in the middle row, I caught a few glimpses of the outstanding light-scape of this extravagant city - I'll see more in March when I go to stay there for a few days.

I was a bit nervous about landing in Bangkok and getting my bearings, but it was a breeze (a very warm breeze though).  Long line-ups at passport control but easy to get my bag (that was checked through the previous day in Marrakech), find some Thai money and get a taxi into the city.  Everything is very well regulated and organized.  My first impression of the city was that it was just another big city with skyscrapers and loads of people and traffic, but there were some pleasant surprises

I checked into my boutique hotel - it is off a main road in the Sukhumvit area of the city but it is an oasis of quiet and calm.  All of the staff are extremely helpful and pleasant and greet you with folded prayer hands under their chins while they bow their heads and welcome you.  Great little room with modern decorative style and fragrant fresh flowers in the rooms.  I have a little doorbell and a 'do not disturb' light!

Being hungry and beyond tired, I decided to just pop over to the McDonalds on the corner and chow down on a Mac.  Man, when you haven't had one in a while, there's something comforting and yummy about a huge sloppy hamburger!  Even the cashier at the McDonalds greeted me with the bow and folded hands - so nice!  There are little temples along the street on tables and also in the hotel parking lots and I've seen people stop by when they leave work to pray for a short time - many people here are Buddhist and they have lovely rituals and practices. 

I've booked a tour of the Grand Palace and some temples for tomorrow morning so I'm about to crash now and am looking forward to exploring this city over the next few days before I head north to Chiang Mai on the weekend.

Nighty Night!

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