With my move to Thailand comes some exciting news (as if me living in Thailand for 5 months isn’t already exciting enough). Drum roll please….the travel blogging is back in action! As you may remember from my Spanish blog posts, each post got a little more exciting as I became more settled and began traveling more, so bear with me as I tackle Thailand! This post will serve to explain the less glamorous side of travel: my packing process and the flight itself (in this case, a 14.5 hour flight to Shanghai, followed by a 5 hour layover in Shanghai, followed by a 4 hour flight to Chiang Mai, Thailand.) When all is said and done, we’re talking about 24 hours of travel (without factoring in the 12 hour time difference)….can I get an emphatic WOOF please?
So let’s backtrack and talk about that devilish little chore that we all love to hate. I guess some people also call it “packing”. For someone whose wardrobe is [probably] bigger than it should be and is prone to overpacking, packing is kind of my nemesis. Side note: I’d like to address my friends who have been accusing me of being a shopaholic for years. Please give me credit where credit is due for admitting I have a lot of clothes…I guess it was me that broke a closet rod once with the weight of my clothes. As for overpacking, I don’t want to get into the details due to PTSD, but let’s just say when I lived with my parents for the month of September, my ridiculous amount of unnecessary heavy luggage caused major anxiety, soreness, and a nice (thick) sheen of sweat.
Now that I’ve given some context for my sordid relationship with packing, you can see why the idea of packing for 5 months wasn’t exactly giving me a warm, fuzzy feeling. At this point you probably would like to point out that I’ve done this once before when I studied in Spain for 5 months, so I should know the drill. I have two rebuttals: Thailand is a totally different country that demands different clothing and items. Second, I honestly do not remember the packing process from Spain. Truly, the only memory I have is trying to further narrow down which shoes would make the cut from 11 pairs to 7 pairs. With that being said, I’m actually proud of myself this time around. Though the process began with a huge explosion of stuff all over the floor, a few bags, a couple panic attacks, and a blank stare at the wall as I racked my brain for where even to begin, the process ended with one large suitcase (with 3.3 pounds to spare!!) full of ziplock bags of stuff, which I like to refer to as organization at its finest, one carry-on travel backpack, and one personal item in the form of a laptop bag. At the end of the day, as long as I have my passport and other important documents, lotion (Thailand adds whitening agents to theirs), a bottle of Clear Care contact cleaner (no need to delve into another rant about my contact lens issues), and a handful of shoes and clothes, I will survive. I hope you read that “I will survive part” as Gloria Gaynor would have wanted you to. Now watch me need nothing of what I packed and need everything I didn’t pack. But, spoiler alert: Thailand actually does sell clothes and shoes and soap and all that jazz. So, sing it with me now, “I WILL SURVIVE!”
So, now that the devilish chore also known as packing also known as my nemesis was out of the way, all that was left to do was actually GO to Thailand, wheeee! I started typing this post during the 15 hour flight, so it’s like you get to be on this adventure (read: entrapment in a pressurized steel tube) with me! Surprisingly, checking in and going through security and getting on the plane was actually pretty run of the mill. I know you’re probably disappointed that I don’t have any weird stories that only happen to me, but don’t worry, there’s plenty of time for that.
Initial observations: United, you are slacking!! I must say, every other international flight I have boarded has impressed me with their amenities. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same this time around. For example, where is my personal back of seat screen with the accompanied plethora of entertainment options including but not limited to recent movies and current music?? Also, I’ve always been on international airlines that serve pretty good meals featuring their country’s food. This time around, it was chicken and rice with some sort of quinoa mix and four random leaves of spinach for lunch, a prepackaged ham and cheese sandwich (that was exactly 129 calories, not one calorie more, not one calorie less) for dinner, and eggs and potatoes for breakfast. Lastly, United’s “personal device entertainment” feature that allows you to watch movies on your laptop isn’t even working..what is this malarkey?! BUT, I can’t complain too much because I’m in the window seat, and there’s a guy in the aisle seat, but the seat between us is empty!! Thank you travel gods!
Unfortunately, this guy must have an iron bladder or something because we are now on hour 7.5 and he still has not left his seat!!! What even?! I already did the awkward dance to get around him once (no, he did not make it easy for me and opted to remain seated as I climbed over him), so I’m really not tryna do that again. My bladder is not faring so well and is begging for a lavatory again, but I’m hoping, wishing, waiting that Mr. Iron Bladder will get up sometime soon and I will quickly follow his lead. I mean, he has to right?? Update: I had to do the awkward dance again..but honestly at this point it’s become a source of entertainment watching how long this guy can go without getting up. What a great way to pass the time in the absence of wifi and “personal entertainment”. Update: 9.5 hours later, he finally got up to use the lavatory.
So let’s just say my layover in Shanghai was slightly high stress. After the two hour process of going through customs upon arrival, re-checking my bag, going through customs again for my next departure, making it through security, and all of the heinous lines that went along with all of it, I have some time to kill. Unfortunately I’m in wifi purgatory..the dreaded ~in between~ for which your device claims you’re connected but the page keeps “loading” and never fully loads, so for all intents and purposes, I’m still disconnected. But I don’t even cur because in 5 short hours (after this day, 5 hours is a blink of an eye—what does this phrase even mean? Wouldn’t that just be a wink?), I’ll be stepping foot in Chiang Mai!!! But naturally, I spilled some melted butter on my shirt during my flight, so can’t wait to meet all these new people looking like a slob (though I must admit, the butter stains are not the only factor — you try traveling for 24 hours and coming out of it looking like a supermodel). WELL, I finally made it to Thailand, and I can’t wait to start exploring! So far I can tell you that it is nice and hot, green tea Kit Kats are the bomb, Chiang Mai has a gorgeous waterfall, and it’s BYOTP here (bring your own toilet paper..for real, every man for himself). Stay tuned for updates on my Thai adventure!
The 24-hour traveling supermodel