A four-letter expletive certainly belongs in any sentence describing the heat during our three-week layover in Bangkok. More simply: the hottest bleeping April in 30 years. Over 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Over 40 degrees Celsius. Every. Single. Day.
“Layover?” you ask. “Three weeks?” Okay. Not a layover per se… All working stiffs please restrain your fists lest I end up with a black eye. My man and I have grown a bit weary of the tropics. Yes, the beautiful beaches, palm trees, aquamarine waters, verdant fields… are no longer inspiring. How could that be possible? Because they are all HOT. Summer without winter fizzles in grandeur. Six full months operating at sauna temps will eat away at the European-descended soul.
In March, my parents left Bali and we asked ourselves, “What’s next?” Answer: we’re sick of living out of a different hotel room every three nights. Let’s get an apartment. We’re sick of the tropics. Let’s evaluate all non-tropical destinations for next travel leg.
So from our Bali apartment we discussed, made lists, and debated destination desires and money complications. Our hearts settled on a place I would have bet against when we set out in October 2010. Europe!
Italy, Croatia, Ukraine, Hungary, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, and maybe Romania and the Netherlands. How do we have the money for this? We don’t. But it hasn’t stopped us before. We do have a fat supply of time. We scheduled a medical and planning layover in Bangkok between Bali and Europe. I’ve spent hours on the internet connecting us with resources that cost time, not cash. We’ll let you know how it goes!
So what happened in between leaving Bali and then leaving Bangkok?
- I used an airport prayer room! I got into meditating for about a week. Great while it lasted and am looking forward to the next time I am inspired.
I purchased, with elation, a pair of jeans. I anxiously await the opportunity to don denim once again. Bring on the chilly spring & summer European nights!
I re-discovered my Thai travel skills. Holing up in paradise saw me out of practice for the hawkers on the sidelines of the tourist thoroughfares.
- My man and I got to sharpen our chill skills. Consumed by exhaustion, my modus operandi is to hit it and get it — rapid efficiency for minimum energy expenditure. Patrick’s m.o. is to stumble and mumble — deliriously composing new songs as he lurches about. Obviously this is less ying-yang, and more push-pull. He assures me my style means I am going to be the first of us to die, probably of a heart attack.
- I scored on three occasions with Bumrungrad Hospital doctors. Hand-picking your medical advisers via profiles on the hospital website is where it’s at!
- I got offended by toilet signage. A hospital bathroom sign in Arabic, Japanese, English and Thai politely reminds one to collects one’s belongings. Another sign asks that we speakers of English and Arabic stop getting water on the floor. Excuse me? First I have a bone to pick about water on the toilet seat. I’d rather step in water than sit in it!
I got a cultural wake-up call. I’ve decided to rekindle my passion for learning languages, starting with Italiano. Searching for flashcard photos, I laughed at the pastry and coffee that pass for Italian breakfast. And something tells me I’m in for PDA culture shock after being in chaste Asia so long: almost every innocent Italian flashcard search turns up at least one risque picture.
- I became a regular customer of “Take-A-Seat” stuffing myself daily on Spicy Noodle Tom Yum soup, curries, pad thai, and myriad stir fry offerings.
- I got one last laugh at English in Asia. For signage, my current favorite is “bird fur” earrings, including “special peacock fur earring.” Even better? While my hospital nurse was gentle in administering my tetanus shot, Pat’s giggled: “Hee hee hee!” then said, “This very pain! Hee hee hee…” before plunging the needle into his skin. #hilarious!
Thanks for everything Asia. We love you. And we’ll be back again. Maybe with babies in tow. Until then, a presto e arrivaderci! ♣
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