Steve and Jemjahn go to Thailand, 2003
25. Flight Back Home
Boarding for our flight wasn’t until about eight at night, yet we had to be out of our hotel room by twelve noon. What to do with the hours in between?
I thought the best thing was to take our bags to the airport, secure them, then return to Bangkok for an afternoon of sightseeing.
The plan worked until we got to the airport. Then Jem became worried about returning to the airport in late afternoon and missing our flight back.
So we sat in the airport all day.
I walked around, did some people watching, read books, magazines and newspapers, then did it all over again a few more times.
At the airport we saw (and gave peanut butter and jelly sandwiches Jem had made) some young people trekking the region. I admired their pluck, and recalled how it had been my own dream to do the same at their age that prompted me to apply for the Peace Corps.
On my application, where it said, “If selected, where would you want to serve,” I put Thailand. Honest. Then I get drafted and the Army sends me there. In the middle of the Vietnam War. Honest.
One of the young people was a young woman with a huge backpack almost as big as her. She was both feminine and strong, a beautiful girl. Her travel mate was a frail young man who didn’t look like he could pin her two out of three. (Though I imagine he’d sure enjoy trying.) I wondered where they were from – I should have stopped them to talk a while – where were they going, if they were all right, if they needed a few dollars. I wish all young people of all countries could travel safely around the world ….
But finally, it’s time to go, time to get seat assignments for our three flights back. We’d had great seats on the long flights coming over. We were fortunate to be assigned good seats going back as well. The gods were smiling on us throughout this trip.
About 24 hours later, when we finally land in Augusta, our pickup in the parking lot started right up, and we were home fifteen minutes later.
It had been a terrific trip, much better than I expected.
Except for the first day there, when jet lag was too strong, I slept, ate and "shat" with the gusto of a child. The climate was wonderful, neither too hot nor too cold, the air never sticky, often a refreshing breeze blowing. I learned a bit about rice farming, came to know Jem’s family and the “projects” she runs, saw how far Bangkok had modernized since I had last been there, visited with Gordon and Pu, was amazed at the house they’re building, and more.
A few days after we got back, Jem said, “let’s go again in five years.” A few weeks later, it was “four years.” A few more, and we were at “three years.”
We’ll probably be back next year.
(Edit, March 2022. We still haven't made it back. Had airline tickets for December 2019, but Covid stepped in the way. One day....)
|Well, that's it. The End. No next chapter. Am
surprised you read this far. Hope you enjoyed it. -- Steve
If you found this trip report of interest, or if you found a broken
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