I just read the title of this post and it sounded so final that I reversed the order of the thoughts. Still it remained ominous. So here’s the disclaimer: I am not terminally ill or ill at all. I not only intend to come back alive but to come back revived. Just had to write-up and notarize some papers that made me think about my mortality.
I have not slept. Not from excitement mind you. I, who said to myself that I would have everything done –be completely packed with nothing to do but blog before I go- is packing up to the very last-minute. I had been so confident that in the last days I would have little to do, that about a month ago, when a friend had asked me if I wanted to go to the Valentine’s Day, Ellen DeGeneres taping I said, sure. “Are you sure you won’t be frantic by then?” Of course not, I said. Ha!
I look at the three manila folders containing documents that are to be opened upon my death (again, I really intend to come back). They are neatly positioned in the middle of my writing desk. They bring me a tinge of wistfulness, yet I focus on how fortunate I am that I have people in my life that are willing to take the responsibility of executing a health directive, a will, and to put my affairs in order. A final look around and I go to a friend I am so grateful to have in my life. She is not a morning gal but has woken at the crack of dawn to take me to the airport.
I have managed, much to my surprise, to fit 35 days of clothes into a compact 38-pound bag. Within some of the countries I will be flying smaller aircrafts and they enforce the maximum of 44 lbs. Promise me that when I retell how I wash my clothes with a tiny bar of soap, with hardly any hot water and proceed to try to dry it with a borrowed blow dryer before there’s a power outage, you won’t be saying that I overdid the streamlining thing, okay?
I arrive 4 hours early so I can relax in the Cathay Pacific lounge so I can write this blog and tell you that in Myanmar internet may be very iffy so I may not be able to post much. Wait, the girl at the counter is saying my passport is expired. No, let me show you the extension… See? Oh, thank you lady. She talks again. Lady, no Thailand visa. Yes, I do. See? Where was I? Oh, I had every intention, as I sipped on a coffee from a real cup, of posting a goodbye and a welcome to the first leg of the trip (15 hours to Hong Kong, a small wait at the airport and then a 2 ½ -hour flight to Bangkok). But life and Cathay have conspired to prove that nothing really goes as planned. I had been told that due to my Elite status on AAdvantage I would be able to use the lounge. Turns out that I cannot. So I head out to the last gate in the airport where a bus will be taking us to the plane. A cavernous, really cold gate. I sit and try to access the Internet.
No luck. A kid starts crying, then another. Same family. Please don’t get on my plane. Then he discovers the fun of flash photography. And guess who is his favorite subject? Me, of course. On the fifth shot his mommy says: “No baby, no pictures of nice lady.” Lady hasn’t slept at all woman and the nice in me is not gonna last me long. Then the announcement: All Cathay passengers, please proceed to gate 101 which just happens to be a 15 minute walk away and literally on the opposite side of the terminal. Then we are delayed an hour. Turns out that the President is in town and they are working around where he will be. Or so it is said. Only good thing is that they check my documents and ask me to please board from the Business Class line. So I board from that line and as the rest settle into their semi-beds I walk a few more steps to an empty Economy class. It is now a full flight. No seats left.
I sit and pass out. Will write on the plane and hope that I make my connection in Hong Kong with some time to spare to post this. I arrive around midnight in Bangkok. Will be at the hotel around 1:30 a.m. after clearing customs and the ride to the hotel (having literally lost a full 24-hours in the process). Will be picked up at 6:00 a.m. to get on the flight to Myanmar. I haven’t fully assimilated that we will be landing in the other side of the world. Day two of my malaria pills and they haven’t made me sick.
The journey begins. Happy to have you all!
My parents are on this trip too. Was going through some photos and there they were on a plane going to Trinidad and Tobago (I think) so I included them in this post. Let’s see what lies ahead. In the meantime I have gone into Zen mode and am happy to report that I will go with the flow from now on. Narry an angst to be had. Follow me along, we will have a blast. Right?
Oh, and things are looking up. Hong Kong International Airport has free WiFi. Yaaaay!
By the way it is 4:43 a.m. (day hasn’t even begun) of Feb. 17, for my Los Angeles contingency, and it’s 8:43 p.m on the 17th (day almost over) here in Hong Kong International Airport. That just amazes me. Yep, I get easily amazed. 🙂