“Boots on the Ground”

Hindsight is 20/20. Clear, precise, and ultimately a pristine view. Thinking back to before my flight traveled across the Pacific Ocean to land in Thailand, I would have much to learn about the world, including my own self. Who would have thought? Life lessons are sometimes easy to come by, and will often hit you squarely in the face; a 100mph fastball of reality.

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My plane skidded down the runway and proceeded to one of the many boarding gates at Suvarnabhumi Airport just after midnight on January 2, 2013. Nearly 30 hours of actual flight time makes for one nasty case of desynchronosis (the scientific term for jet lag), let me tell you. Decent sleep is a necessity at this point. Upon gathering my belongings and luggage, a fellow classmate and I proceeded to follow the directions within the airport terminal toward the exit, and thus came to the taxi stand. Mind you, it’s just after midnight. There are over a hundred people standing in line waiting to be ushered away into the Bangkok night. Great.

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At this moment I realize that I am still wearing a sweater over my shirt that I had put on to stay warm during the flight. The climate of Southeast Asia is ridiculously hot as it is close to the equatorial line. Take into account mass urbanization, air pollution, and humidity, and you have the lovely, bustling, metropolis of Bangkok. It didn’t take long for that article of clothing to be taken off and stuffed into my backpack, Patience and perspiration make for a grand combination. By the time we are finally assigned a driver, it’s almost 1 AM and we still have another hours drive ahead into the city. We had reservations to stay in Bangkok Noi. Anyone who has ever traveled to Bangkok through Suvarnabhumi Airport should know the express way drive into the city is quite remarkable, even at night. I definitely recommend it for the daytime as well. Include a highly talkative taxi driver whose English you have a hard time understanding along with the Thai rock group Carabao blasting from the radio, and you have an excellent introduction to Thailand.

(Link to just one of Carabao’s songs)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDVGAXxufSY

After reaching our “mansion”, which most apartments or condominiums are called in Bangkok, we checked in. It was a no brainer decision that we should get a taste of some Thai food on our first night before crashing completely. We crossed the street from our mansion to find an open restaurant to combat our late night food cravings and enjoy some beer. This in turn led to both of us ordering a rice with chicken dish (ข้าวมันไก่, Khao man gai), a Heineken, and enjoying an excellent display of late night, extremely intoxicated, karaoke.

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Being able to purchase an adequate dinner along with a delicious alcoholic beverage  for less than 5 USD is a lucrative deal in my book. After the drunken vocalists finally ended their karaoke session and we demolished our meals, we decided to return to our mansion and call it a night.

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