We got up early on November the 9th to overpay for a taxi in Cairo one last time and head to the airport. Ultimately that day we’d wind up in Abu Dhabi before heading to Bangkok the next morning.
Landing-gear down and back at Kaitlin’s apartment – me needing desperately to replace the shoes AND flip flops I brought, and Mary seeking to find a spot to get a henna tattoo – a trip to the mall was in order. It proved fruitless for me and a trip to the beauty parlor wound up in me getting chased out (what with all those ankles and knees showing) and back to the already exhausted mall.
Jet lag was murdering us – multiple time zone changes and fairly long flights over just a few days will do that, but I snuck in a quick CrossFit workout that night before bed.
There are a thousand things to do in Abu Dhabi but you can do about nine hundred and ninety-seven of them better in the U.S. – we were excited to head to Bangkok.
The next morning (November 10th) slightly rushed in grabbing our boarding passes, we cut a bunch of people in line (thanks Cairo for that trick). As she was printing our boarding passes the attendant took notice of our clothes. We were flying on a staff ticket (purchased by Kalani for us) and shorts and collar-less shirts with flip flops was not acceptable. Oops. Bathroom. Backpack. Boo-yah. Knees, elbows, ankles and toes covered, we strolled back out to get our boarding passes.
Boarding began shortly after our arrival to the gate and as I stepped on the plane I felt an overwhelming sense of relief and relaxation; like I just pooped out 700 years of oppression. I didn’t expect this feeling. The Middle East was definitely a neat place to see, but the clinging to old cultural traditions and it’s abundance got to me without even noticing it.
There is nothing divine about completely masking yourself to society or refusing anyone an education. A government blocking Skype or one that relies on brute force to keep the ‘peace’ is one that can only be modern superficially. It affects everyone. However, it’s how many choose to live and govern and my perspective stems from a different life based on different values. I am very glad for that difference. Thanks Uncle Sam.
The flight was a short 6 hours and a time zone change of 3, putting us a half day in the future of everyone back home. We didn’t even have to use our flux capacitor! Our friend Mark met us at the airport and was kind enough to get us swiftly to our hotel via taxi from the airport.
Our hotel street…well, let’s just say it was the antithesis of Abu Dhabi and Egypt. We’d later find that a spot just down the road from where we stayed was featured in our guide book as being a staple of the red light district. It was a bit of a shock, especially since we came from such a buttoned-up society. But if the Middle East was buttoned up, Bangkok’s buttons had been popped off in a drunken bout of hormonally driven passion for a lady-boy and then sold at a night market for 50 baht.
The hotel itself was clean, pretty big, and well located and despite the debauchery in our locality Bangkok felt safer and more welcoming. People in shorts and t-shirts and no one dressed up like a ninja (though now reconsidering, if Jesus told me to dress like a ninja, I just might do it) and machine-gun touting guards replaced with grilled-meat-on-a-stick-touting street vendors. It was already great.
We spent the next day (November 11th)…at a mall. I know, I know. But you see, my shoes were just SO uncomfortable! I snagged a pair of Sanuk’s to replace my flip flops and my sneakers have been in my backpack ever since.
That night we had dinner with Mark, his wife Boon, and their son Ben at the mall. By the time dinner finished we were both ready to get some fresh air and then head back for sleep – still adjusting a bit to the time difference.
The hotel offered a complimentary half-day tour of the temples of Bangkok which we scheduled for the next day (November 12th).