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Published: January 18th 2010
Well it's 1 am in Siem Reap and, having given up consciousness shortly after sunset last night, I'm ready to head out and see the world. The guilt of having finally made it half way around the world only to go face down unconscious immediately is one I'll deal with gracefully. By the time we got here we were both doing significant mouth-breathing and getting our 1000 mile stares on.
But let's go back to the beginning.
We hit the road to Salt Lake City at about noon on Saturday the 16th. We've had months to plan for this and still spent about 10 minutes running back and forth in and out of the house for last minute things. It would have been comical had it not resulted in fresh tears every time we went back inside. Grandma Holly thought it was funny in a tragic sort of way. Mommy and Daddy get an F.
The drive up through Moab was a nice reminder of all the spring camping we'll be doing, snow on the sandstone so pretty this time of year. We live in a magnificent neighborhood.
The Salt Lake Airport gets a huge A. Spotless,
pretty, free wifi, little recharging stations for your 200 gadgets, nice agents who make you feel good by saying 'you must do a lot of international travel. the only people who travel so lightly have been doing it a while'. Well it's nice to look the part anyway.
Travelocity gets a D. I won't give them an F only because I'm the one that pulled the trigger on these tickets but here's the thing - paper ticketing was last heard from in 1983. RIP But what did Travelocity need to do? Send us paper tickets. The sort that you actually have to keep track of. I asked one agent during our travels 'so what happens if we lose these?' She said, well think of them like cash. You lose them, you're out of luck.' Super. That's why I brought Todd. Because I can't keep track of anything.
I had never heard of China Air before this trip. They're just not flying trips from Durango to anywhere very often so, well, not on my radar. After I bought the tickets I started reading some reviews (ah the internet) whereby I was warned to expect everything a very nice plane
out Todd's window seat
from the 1960s had to offer. This is no Virgin Atlantic was the rumor. So we board our huge 747 in San Francisco. I had made seat reservation for an aisle and adjoining seat in the middle row of seats. Where did we end up? The two middle seats in a row of four. YES. I LOVE that. Nothing like having to wake someone up every time you have to pee. Oh but it gets better. I realize about 8 minutes into an 18 hour plane ride that my seat DOESN'T RECLINE. But don't worry! The person in front of me? Their seat reclined WAY back. Holy crap, reserve me a spot in hell. Todd didn't fare much better. The seats were designed for Lilliputian folk and his head towered a solid 18" above the back of the seat. His knees ended up halfway up the chair in front of him. The China Airlines 1968 747 gets an F. We won't even get into the film projector thing showing a creepy cartoon the whole way there. Let's just say that I was grateful to have this here little mini-laptop to watch movies from. Acer gets an A. Inglorious Basterds also
gets an A.
I seem to remember something of a glory day of international travel that involved hot towels, bottles of wine and delightful food even for folks in cattle class. Let me tell ya, those days are long gone, at least on China Air's San Fran to Taipei flight. But we got water and a couple of meals.
The best part of the flight was when I decided to go for it and try Ambien for the first time. Always fun to test-drive pharmaceuticals at 30,000' with exactly 15 square inches of personal space in which to have your moment. So down the hatch the little pill went. Then they served dinner. By the time this tray was put in front of me, my lobotomy was well underway. Ambien is not a performance -enhancing drug. It makes any task utterly impossible as you're supposed to take it and then CLOSE YOUR EYES. But there it was, this tray of food in little containers..there was saran wrap to negioate, cutlery to free from its plastic baggie, a wet wipe to do something with. All I remember is staring at my fork and knife as they tried to maneuver
food into my mouth. Cutting was so fascinatingly difficult. It was like my first day on the robotic arm on the space shuttle. I'm not sure if I ate anything. Todd says I did and that it was something interesting to watch. I'm going to give Ambien an A because I'm still laughing about the results of taking it and because it allowed me, against all odds, to sleep 6 hours on a flight in which I had no personal space and a seat that only stayed in its upright and locked position.
Ok blah blah blah. This is getting long, so I'll try to wrap it up. From the lovely island of Taiwan we bounced on a shiny newer airplane to Bangkok. In seat tvs with 20 movies to choose from , wine offered, meals, seats that reclined. It was China Airline doing their best imitatin of 2010. Bravo.
Started to grow truly weary in Bangkok but still had one flight to go. After a few hours to enjoy the new Suvharnavhumi (Soowannapoom is how you say it - I know, DUH, that's obvious) airport. We found our way to the Bangkok Air flight to Siem Reap
that cost an arm and a leg. This was truly a splurge on this trip - avoiding at the end of a long day a transfer to Phnom Pehn and instead flying directo has its price. Worth every penny. After flying over beautiful rice fields in the flattest delta land on earth we arrived painlessly in Siem Reap Cambodia to a lovely new airport and an armada of officials ready to assembly line our visas. I wanted to take a picture of the 12 officials sitting behind their regal curved desk as it truly did look like the supreme court but figured I'd better just store that one in my memory. The evening was warm and lovely, felt like Palm Springs a bit with the palm trees and warm breeze. Our tuk tuk driver from the Villa Siem Reap was there waiting for us with a smile and a beer. We have arrived, finally.
The tuk tuk ride into town was awesome, putting along the shoulder of the road past bony cows, scrawny chickens, multi million dollar hotels (with bony cows and scrawny chickens in their front yards), little cantinas and markets and utility poles with no fewer than
200 wires on them. And always the smell of southeast asia. What is that smell? The fires they cook on, is it wood or coal I wonder but that smell brought back floods of memories from my last time in this part of the world. Lovely lovely.
Ok I'm going to try and get a few hours of sleep now that it's almost 3am. Please forgive the total lack of editing. Going to just hit publish and hope it's ok. xo
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