Ahh, that's better. Now I can tell you a brief history of our journey.
It all started when we were dropped off at the airport in Bozeman at 6 :30 PM by the lovely Mrs. Jessie Foch. As usual, we breezed through check-in and security (if you've been through Bozeman's airport, you know what I'm talking about.) To be honest, I can't really recall the waiting period before the flight left. What I do remember is Radd suddenly developing a fear of flying about 10 seconds after the wheels went up on the plane. My first thought was: Oh sh#t! We have a lot of flying to go!
I famously have a fear of flying, but I took care of that with the help of a small white pill called Klonopin. I highly recommend it. Anyway, the flight to Seattle was uneventful and even relaxing.
Unfortunately, we had a 5 hour layover there and didn't board our next flight until 1:30 AM The kids and Jess had sacked out for a while at the gate, leaving me to sit and people watch. Now the best part of the whole story, at least as far as I am concerned. As soon as we boarded the plane for the 10 hour and 45 minute flight to Taipei, my head began to bob and my eyes began to close. The next thing I knew, I woke up just before the 2nd meal was served. Jess says I was out for 7 hours! Boooooom!!!!! I have never slept on a flight for more than 15 minutes. This was the best news I had ever heard. The other good thing was that the kids were napping when I got up and I was able to watch The Revenant in peace.
Next, we arrived in Taipei at about 4:45 AM local time. This was the beginning of our jet lag. We watched the sun rise through the haze of Taiwan smog and humidity while we ate ramen on the floor of an airport lounge. Radd thought it was the best thing he had ever eaten. One cool thing that happened in the Taipei airport was that we met a really nice woman. She was Thai, married to an Armenian man and had two children: one biological, one adopted from Thailand. The crazy thing about that was, she adopted this little girl at the exact same time we adopted Suni. She had to deal with the epic flooding in Bangkok and was delayed over and over again like we were. We got along so well that we exchanged contact info. Turns out she lives in Westchester NY!
But soon it was time to board our flight to Bangkok, and to tell the truth, that flight was also uneventful (which is obviously the best kind of flight). We were fed an interesting Chinese breakfast of chicken and mush. I liked it. No one else did.
After landing in Bangkok, we collected our luggage (it all made it!!!) and took a taxi to the hotel, which was very close to the airport. The taxi driver had really pimped out his ride with huge speakers mounted in a Plexiglas case, acrylic gear shift nob, and chrome rims. He also pimped out his hair: died blonde with a high pony, sides shaved. Nice!
The hotel was no frills but nice enough. All we wanted was a bed and a pool and this place had both. We immediately went down to the pool, had a beer and relaxed. I have to say, we deserved it. But then that jet lag really caught up with us. Around 3 o'clock, we decided to take a nap, but when you are as tired as we were, waking up from a nap is a herculean task, one that was just too much for Suni. At 5 PM or so, Jess and I forced ourselves awake to deal with dinner. I walked down to the 7-11, which was just a block away, but when you are as exhausted as I was, walking around a 7-11 in Thailand is like stepping into someone else's dream. You can't make heads or tails of what you are looking at. Are these shark flavored Doritos? How much is 50 baht in American dollars? Why can't I remember why I'm here?
I shuffled back to the hotel room with 2 beers, a large bottle of water, and two small bags of almonds with some kind of flavoring that, even after eating, I still could not tell what it was supposed to be. Upon returning, Jess went down to the hotel restaurant and ordered real food, consisting of green curry and fried rice. Both were excellent. Unfortunately, waking the kids for dinner was impossible. They were down for the count, though Jess did manage to get Radd to chomp down a couple mouthfuls of fried rice.
Now, what happens when you go to bed at 3 in the afternoon? Well, you wake up at 1 in the morning, of course. Suni snapped wide awake ready to talk and play and eat. It was a struggle all night to keep her quiet enough for us to try to get a few more hours of rest before breakfast at 6 AM. Needless to say, we didn't feel very rested when we did make it there, but the breakfast was OK. I had the best instant coffee I've ever tasted and some kind of chicken and rice dish that was off the chain good. The kids wondered at the fried eggs with raw, bright orange yokes.
Now during this whole journey, and a few days before, I had been in touch with some former Thai students-turned-friends who live in Bangkok. So at this point, we arranged for them to pick us up at the hotel at 11:00 and take us to their house for a visit. This amazing beautiful young couple started their own company and are doing quite well. Their house was brand new, as was their darling daughter "Neptune". Bo and Ake live with Bo's mother in a nice gated community near the airport. Bo's mom cooked us this delicious meal of tom yum soup, green curry, spicy Thai basil chicken and fried chicken wings (Radd's favorite). Ake opened a couple different beers for us to try: Singha and Leo, which according to Ake, is made by Singha and is a lower budget beer that was made to compete with Chang, Thailand's most famous blue-collar beer. Both were cold and delicious, or should I say cold and alloi (the Thai word for "delicious" that Bo's mom taught us).
When lunch was over, Bo and Ake drove us to the airport, which began the only stressful part of our journey. We got stuck in Bangkok traffic and arrived at the airport with just over an hour before our flight was scheduled to leave. Unfortunately, there was a huge line at the Bangkok Airways counter. Fortunately, we found out our flight was delayed an hour and we made it with time to spare. Really fortunately for us, Bangkok Airways gave us 300 baht each for food as compensation for the delay. Now that is good customer service!!!!! So we bought 2 paninis, 2 mango smoothies, one chocolate smoothie, a blueberry muffin, and an Orangina. It would have cost us $36, but the coupons covered all of it. Yea Thailand! Finally, as Suni was beginning her jet lag collapse, we boarded the Airbus A320 bound for our new home. The flight, again uneventful, lasted an hour and we were served a full meal. Yea Thailand!
Upon arrival, we were greeted by some of Jess' new coworkers and brought to our hotel: The Wilacha Chiang Rai. It's a nice place close to her school with a free breakfast and super friendly staff.
The kids got into bed as soon as we walked in the door, with Jess and I following as soon as her coworkers bid us good night and departed.
Now, as I write this, it is post breakfast time. The kids and Jess are playing UNO on the bed and I am typing away to the sound of the landscaper mowing the lawn with a hedge trimmer (a manual hedge trimmer.) Soon, we will take a taxi into the city to visit the big department store, secure new cell phones, and get the lay of the land. Initial impressions of Chiang Rai (the city) to follow.