Friday, February 3, 2012

To Bangkok

Himalayas view from the airplane
On Friday, January 27, we left the subcontinent for the greener (and warmer) paddies of southeast Asia. Colin and I left for the airport at 8:00 am on the advice of Khem, our guesthouse owner. We arrived early- before the Nepal Air staff started work, but once they appeared and turned on their computers, we were the first to be checked in. Once we got through security, we ran into Brian and Tanja, the couple who are riding from London to Sidney, and compared shipping notes with them. After hearing in detail about their extended ordeal with Suraj, we were again happy to have used the services of his cousin, Jeewan, at Eagle Eye Exports. 

Our Nepal Air flight only left a little late, had good meal service, and the in-flight entertainment involved watching the Himalayas pass for the first half hour of the flight. We had seats on the left side of the plane, so we had a wonderful view! I snapped a bunch of photos out the window, hoping that at least part of the mountains would appear in some of the shots (remember, the view screen broke when I landed on it in Indian bus incident #2). The flight was comfortable and uneventful, as we like them, and did not require that anything be sacrificed to placate any gods (According to the Wikipedia entry on Nepal Airlines, and yes, I realize it is not necessarily a reliable source: "In September 2007 the airline confirmed that it had sacrificed two goats to appease a Hindu god—following technical problems with one of its aircraft. Nepal Airlines said the animals were slaughtered in front of the plane, a Boeing 757, at Tribhuvan International Airport. The offering was made to Akash Bhairab, the Hindu god of sky protection, whose symbol is seen on the company's aircraft. The airline said that after Sunday's ceremony the plane successfully completed a flight to Hong Kong. Raju KC, an airline official, was quoted as saying: "The snag in the plane has now been fixed and the aircraft has resumed its flights". The company did not say what the problem was, but reports in local media had blamed an electrical fault."). 

Colin and his new favorite companion, pork soup.
We arrived in Bangkok on time, got through Immigration and Customs without much trouble (they did inspect our bags, but no cavity searches...this time, anyway). After that, we found our hotel shuttle and took it to our super posh, deluxe room (it was really nice. And spotless. No layer of dust on anything, no mildew, new linens, free bottled water, a fridge, and a real, innerspring mattress for the first time in months!). Just outside our hotel was a night market with all sorts of good smelling and looking food. We made a circuit of the vendors and settled on big bowls of noodle soup with sliced, barbequed pork, wontons, and spinach. It was delicious- especially so, once we doctored it up with the chili flakes, fish sauce, ground peanuts, and a sprinkle of sugar that was on the table waiting to be used. After our dinner, we returned to the room with a couple of big Chang beers from the 7Eleven (there's one on every corner in Thailand, literally) and watched some English language TV before hitting the bed.

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