We are both tired and missing home and our loved ones. I think two weeks is about the maximum time for a trip like this, especially for two old country boys. We flew from Inle Lake back to Rangoon, then on to Bangkok for the night. We both have early Thursday morning flights back home. Mike flies through Haneda in Tokyo, then onto SFO. I fly to Narita in Tokyo, then to LAX, before setting foot in Fresno.
I am jealous, since Mike has a decent layover at Haneda. They have recreated a beautiful Edo period village in the international portion of Haneda. I have to run to catch a connection from JAL to American Airlines. I hope you take note that I am weaning myself OFF of United.
I do wish I could spend a few days in Tokyo with our dear friend, Itsuyo. In fact, she was just in California, and spent the night with Sheri and Beau down in Clovis. We have promised to visit her next year, we hope.
The worst part of the overnight in Bangkok is the Novotel Hotel, located at the airport. Though relatively new, it is probably the worst airport hotel I have ever experienced. Slow check in, horrible service in the cafe, and they just don’t give a sh*t, as my friend, Barry, the V would say.
But it means we are within hours of getting on a plane for home. First class eases the burden somewhat. We shall see if both JAL and AA are better than United. Just about any foreign international carrier is better than our US based airlines, and they have a younger, more attentive crew.
I imagine you must think we are two spoiled Americans, complaining about being stuck in a resort full of obnoxious European tourists. Yes, yes, yes. Get me to any large city in SE ASIA, any, now! The food is tasting the same no matter what we order. We are even tired of Tiger beer. Get me home to In N Out Burger or DiCicco’s Pizza. I am even tired of rice, and you know how much I love rice.
We did have a decent day on the water yesterday (Tuesday). We went to the famous 5 day market, that moves around the lake on a set schedule. It is much more than a fresh food market. Generally, it is a holiday for the local families, a big social gathering, and shopping for food that will cover their needs for the 5 day period.
We also visited a cigar making shop, a silversmith, a weaving factory, and lunch at a free schhol that trains dropouts to work in the hospitality business. The weavers make clothing out of both silk, and lotus. The cigar shop was a hoot since me and Mike actually tried their 80% tobacco cheroots.
But the highlight of the day was the village where they make bulk food items, like crackers, tofu chips, peanuts, potato chips, dried beans, and other snacks. We finally got to give away the little trinkets we brought for the younger children, mostly boys for some reason. They loved the hair clips, pencils, pens, crayon and coloring books, jump ropes, and whistles.
We also met a nice lady traveler and invited her to join us for dinner. If you think I travel a bit, her travels far surpass mine. Can you imagine a Caucasian lady traveling by herself in the Middle East? We had a delightful time exchanging travel highs and lows. I hope we made her evening a little better. We have met some rather interesting travelers on this trip.