2004-07-01_PICT0044 2004-07-01_PICT0055 2004-07-02_PICT0074 2004-07-02_PICT0077 2004-07-03_PICT0113 2004-07-03_PICT0137 2007-03-20_DSCN0061 2007-03-22_DSC_0043 2007-03-22_DSC_0081 2007-03-22_DSC_0186 2007-03-22_DSC_0188 2007-03-22_DSC_0195 2007-03-22_DSC_0250 2007-03-23_DSC_0067 2007-03-23_DSC_0072 2007-03-23_DSC_0265 2007-03-23_DSC_0277 2007-03-23_DSC_0278 2007-03-23_DSC_0305 2007-03-23_DSC_0333 2007-03-28_DSC_0014 2007-03-28_DSC_0037 2007-03-29_DSC_0029 2007-03-29_DSC_0129 2007-03-29_DSC_0202 2007-03-30_DSC_0068 2007-04-05_DSC_0051 2007-04-06_DSC_0217 2007-04-07_DSC_0003 2007-04-07_DSC_0068 2007-04-15_DSC_0049 2007-04-15_DSC_0050 2007-04-18_DSC_0133 2007-04-18_DSC_0146 2007-04-18_DSC_0160 2007-06-15_DSC_0279 2007-06-15_DSC_0334 2007-06-15_DSC_0578 2007-06-16_DSC_0608 2007-07-07_DSC_1175 2007-07-08_DSC_1326 2009-03-29_dsc_2149 2009-03-29_dsc_2154 2009-04-09_dsc_2228 2009-05-03_dsc_2319 2009-05-07_dsc_2351 2009-06-02_dsc_2407 2009-06-02_dsc_2445 2009-06-02_dsc_2454 2009-06-02_dsc_2463 2009-06-03_dsc_2649 2010-09-27_DSC_2802 2010-09-27_DSC_2820

stop-bullying

Toronto

I've been so busy since I arrived in Ban Phai that I've not had any time to finish setting up the new site.  And then once I had time the internet access in the hotel was up and down like a yo-yo which hampered my progress. Finally, here is what has happened so far...

On the day of my departure from Canada I was of course late getting ready the morning with my last minute packing so I was behind schedule from the start.  My brother was nice enough to offer to take care of my truck while I was away and drive me to the airport so I made my way there as quickly as possible. A few traffic slow downs on my way to his house made me a bit nervous that I was going to fall even further behind.

When I finally arrived it was just in time to put my bags in his car and grab a travel mug of coffee that he had kindly prepared for me. A short drive to the airport and I was now back on schedule. I thanked Brad once again for the ride to the airport and quickly ran in to the terminal to check in.

During the check in I learned that my flight was scheduled to also stop in Vancouver as well as in Tokyo so I checked my itinerary to be sure I had the correct flight and there was no mention of a Vancouver stop but the flight was correct.  Oh well, too late to change now...how bad can it be.  Time will tell.

The rest of the check in process went well and I cleared customs with only a brief examination of my laptop. They didn't even blink at the supply of Shreddies I had in my carry on.  From there I grabbed a coffee and a few bottles of water from one of the duty free shops and headed to my gate to wait for boarding.

Boarding and departure occurred on schedule and I was finally on my way.

The flight to Vancouver was a bit different than my previous flights out which only had a single stopover.  Since I was effectively flying the milk run the menu was a bit different than what I was accustomed to on previous flights.  Gone was my specially requested meal*, in it's place was a selection of mini Quiznos meals.  And the open bar was replaced with a cash bar.  I hoped that these changes were due to the mixing of Tokyo and Vancouver bound passengers making it difficult to offer two different menu selections but I was still not impressed.  At least those of us going on to Tokyo did not have to pay for our meals.

* Traveller's tip: always request a special meal when you schedule your flight. There's more to choose from than the old vegetarian and kosher meals, you always get served first and since your meal was not mass produced it's usually better prepared.

After my three bite Quiznos chicken wrap I tried to get some sleep.  It's a good point to mention that about a week before I left I got a cold that I was still fighting off when I left.  However, armed with an ample supply of NyQuil gelcaps for the entire trip I was able to sleep quite well.

Unfortunately, all the water I was drinking to stay hydrated made for numerous trips to the lavatory which seemed to irritate the Asian ladies sitting next to me. In particular, the one sitting immediately next to me seemed escpecially perturbed since she had to get up every time as I refused to step over her as her gestures indicated she wanted me to.  Now the seating configuration for these long haul international flights have more room than domestic flights but believe me there was no way I was going to be able to step over her without ending up in her lap. A position I'm sure she, and I know I, did not want to end up in. I only hoped she was getting off in Vancouver and take a chance on spinning the traveling-partner-roulette-wheel and maybe get someone more agreeable in the middle seat.

As we descended in to Vancouver we were informed that everyone, including those going on to Tokyo, had to disembark in Vancouver even though we would be reboarding the same plane.  I guess it made it easier to clean and provision the plane for the Tokyo leg of the journey.  So when we landed I exited the plane in my half awake, NyQuil induced stupor.  The only positive in this unexpected eviction was it allowed me to replenish my water supply before staggering over to the gate to wait for the reboarding.

Two hours later I'm back on the plane next to the same Asian ladies...oh joy.

The next leg of the journey was much better than the first.  The menu had returned to what I remembered and the open bar was once again open. Until my arrival in Tokyo, I settled in to a routine of sleep, watch a movie, sleep, watch a movie, etc. punctuated with meal breaks.

After reaching Tokyo I exited the plane once again in my half awake, NyQuil induced and now jet-lagged stupor.  I had to change terminals via 3 or 4 exceptionally long moving sidewalks and a number of escalators but I eventually made it to the next gate.  With another 90 minute stopover I was determined to not fall asleep for fear I would miss the boarding call so I made my way to Starbucks and purchased a medium coffee which on checking my Visa bill later after conversion from Japanese Yen was over $5 maintaining Starbuck's corporate objective of having the most overpriced coffee in any hemisphere.  And of course I purchased more water.

The final leg of my journey had me not only change planes but also airlines, All Nippon Airways (ANA). I have no idea if all their aircraft are like this but I left an Air Canada aircraft that was less than a year old with a modern state of the art personal media centre with above average food for a 20+ year old aircraft that had a personal media centre that looked more like a ColecoVision (for those of you old enough to remember them) reject and food that was barely edible. Personally, I would recommend avoiding this airline unless absolutely necessary.

On a positive note, I was in the front row so I had plenty of room and this final flight was only about 5 hours which of course seemed a lot less thanks to Dr. NyQuil and before I knew it I was touching down in Bangkok.

I passed through Thailand immigration without incident as usual and picked up my bags.  As I left the baggage claim area I was stopped for a random spot check of my luggage which took all of 2 minutes and was handled with the usual Thai politeness.  They were only looking for people smuggling in alcohol and tobacco and apparently my 3 month supply of shampoo, soap, etc. looked interesting on the x-ray.

A quick taxi ride to the hotel and my trip of two car rides, three flights and one taxi covered 13,600km (as the crow flies) had taken me about 29 hours. Needless to say I was looking forward to getting a good nights sleep.  And after a quick call to Juy to tell her that I had made it in one piece I did just that.

This brings to an end the first chapter of the adventure so far.  Stay tuned for chapter 2 - the first week.