“Our first stop is in Bogotá…”
Actually, our first stop isn’t Bogotá at all, and we won’t be “checking” any Colombian fields either (as suggested by Neil Peart’s drug fueled lyrics from the classic Rush song that I blatantly stole for this blogs title). We are not exactly “drug free” however, as our bodies are pumped with a smorgasbord of every conceivable immunization known to man. Seeming appropriate, I blast the tunes oriental guitar riff from my iPod, as we board the plane and begin our first visit to Southeast Asia.
My wife, being a registered nurse, always carries an arsenal of healthcare and hygiene items with her, and begins her ritual of wiping down our seating area, oblivious to the curious looks from the other passengers. I used to cringe in embarrassment from this, but with the recent Ebola outbreaks, I’ve come to appreciate Sheri’s little bag of goodies and sterilization tactics.
With a quick layover in Tokyo’s Narita airport, we continue on to the city with the longest name on Earth: Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit.
I pity the poor Thai kid that was given that in a spelling bee.
Thankfully, for the rest of the world, the much more tolerable Bangkok works just fine.
Thailand always fascinated me, due to our involvement in Lotus Martial Art as youngsters. Too young then to really understand, my brothers and I were immersed in the Thai culture by our instructors Chuck and Lily Quick. Thai food and odd sounding names seeped into my inner psyche, and I recall studying maps of the Asian area, never knowing I would someday visit there.
(Photo – Lily Quick from the Spokane Dojo circa 1976.)
Having booked this trip nearly a year in advance, we’ll be able to scratch a few items off our ever-shortening bucket list, while we’re still young and crazy enough to do so. This trip (by design) was strategically placed to provide a window of healing from my recent Carpal Tunnel surgery. It’s a good thing too, as the previous month wasn’t as “sidelined” as it should have been. (Don’t tell Dr. Lin and what Sheri doesn’t know won’t hurt her either.)
The hot and humid air slaps us firmly in the face, as we de-plane in Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport and head to our hotel with the worst case of jet lag ever, our circadian rhythms hopelessly out of whack. Looking around, the quote “We’re not in Kansas anymore” certainly applies here amid the strange writing and bizarre chatter around us amplified by our current zombie state of mind.
Checking into our hotel and stumbling into bed, this will be literally be “One night in Bangkok” (for now) as we fly by morning light to the Kingdom of Cambodia, beginning our newest adventure in the Lost City of Angkor…