Long haul flights have got to be the bane of every traveller’s existence. Maybe those select few flying first class feel differently, but for the rest of us poor schlubs in economy, these nightmarishly long periods of captivity, squashed in uncomfortable seats, & sharing the air with far too many others are just a necessary evil to be endured.
24 hours of cars, trains, planes, & shuttles took us from Canada to Thailand. Here’s an unexpected newsflash: the trip wasn’t 100% Hellish!
In the past, Karen and I had given our business to Air Canada. Flying from Winnipeg, not wanting to switch airlines when connections were required, and a desire to support Canadian business had limited our choices.
Last year, good old Air Canada had us squashed like sardines on the Vancouver to Sydney leg of our journey to Australia, offering less space than we enjoyed on the domestic flight. We were determined to branch out.
This year, after spending time on Vancouver Island, we flew from Vancouver and let Cathay Pacific take care of us. What a difference! Not only did we have more leg room, but the flight was quite under-booked. An empty seat between us let us take turns stretching out! With 14 hours in the air, that was huge.
Please note the mix of shock & glee, as I celebrated the empty seat. I’ll also point out that never have I ever enjoyed airplane food like I did with Cathay. See that empty pasta dish? I could have licked it clean. I came close with the gelati dish, too. On the flight from Hong Kong to Bangkok, we were treated to Hagen Daz ice cream. The beverages were free flowing, and the wine was actually decent. All of this, plus an assortment of snacks were available at all times at the back of the plane. Perhaps you think I’m making too big a deal of the food, but after many nearly inedible meals, this was a pleasant surprise, indeed.
One source of stress was that this first flight to Hong Kong was delayed by two hours. We were assured that, without having to go through customs and immigration, we should have enough time to catch the next flight. Close to landing, the flight attendants agreed to move us closer to the front of the plane, giving us a head start at the arrivals gate. Once more advantage to flying carry-on: we made our flight and so did our bags.
Leaving the plane in Bangkok was a shock to the sleep-deprived system. It was midnight, as we stepped into the hot, humid air. What would it feel like mid-afternoon?!
We breezed through immigration, found the hotel shuttle, and soon had alarms set, ready for a few hours of sleep before we made our way to meet our newest buddies.
This is why we house sit. Could there be a better cure for jet lag?
While we are interested in exploring this exotic country, Bangkok, itself, didn’t hold a tremendous allure. It must be pretty obvious that green spaces, beautiful scenery, and a bit of quiet are what we most often seek. This house sit gives us a soft place to land as our bodies adjust to being on the other side of the world.
After a couple days of recuperating and getting to know our hairy hosts, we ventured out to Chinatown. What an introduction to the city!
Chinese New Year celebrations and observances are still in full swing. The streets were loud and busy. Thick pollution hung in the air, irritating our eyes and throats. The sights, sounds, and smells were, quite frankly, overwhelming.
After having our senses bombarded for a few hours, we relented. The joy of this style of travel is that we are able to slip home to a cold beer and the quiet hum of the air conditioning. No guilt for not winning the Gold Medal for Tourism. We have a job to do, after all.
Too hot, tired, and jet lagged to tour? Sometimes Option B is just fine.
In-Flight Entertainment Report: The Three Billboards is an excellent movie. Podcasts and audiobooks via earbuds block out the most annoying children. Downloading Stranger Things on Netflix before the trip was a brilliant move, if I do say so, myself.