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Feb 232012
 

On this final morning in Bangkok, there was little time to roam the streets for last minute tastes of the deliciously familiar. Instead, it was the challenge of securely packaging precious souvenirs in a manageable fashion that compelled me to check the 7-11 for rope, twine, handles, or anything to supplement my packing tape. In the end, more tape would have to do. After a last breakfast of rice porridge in the hotel restaurant, we loaded into the van for the airport.

Despite the heavy traffic, we were too early: we had to wait half an hour for the check-in lines to open. Once past passport control (so slow) and security (reasonably efficient), we were greeted by a vast number of shops ranging from duty free luxury goods to all kinds of Thai snack foods. I sampled from lots of tasting jars, which in retrospect was not very sanitary, and bought a mango sticky rice dessert to tide me over until we got our in-flight lunch.

On its fleet of Airbus A330’s, EVA does not offer a premium economy cabin. I had wanted to upgrade to business class, but the man at the check-in counter said he did not recommend it because there were no good seats left, only middle seats. From my narrow economy class seat, now, with the benefit of hindsight, they all looked good to me. Too late. But I had a good chat with my seatmate, a Thai woman who had settled in Davis, California, and was heading back home. She had been in Bangkok for a month for a class reunion and a root canal. (Quality dental work in Thailand is a bargain, but only if you can stay with relatives.) It turns out we both love fragrant green teas from Northern Thailand, and neither of us is taking any back to the States. Something to research on line.

Arriving in Taipei, I was determined to find a better late afternoon snack than the one I had in the upstairs food court. Unfortunately, to dine at Du Hsiao Yueh in the downstairs food court I would have to go through two passport lines (entering and then exiting Taiwan). More passport stamps are always welcome, but even with a full 90 minutes, it didn’t seem practical. At least the upstairs food court has good tea. After a little internet time, we queued for boarding once again, this time in the slightly more spacious Elite cabin.

Our transpacific leg was about ten hours, and entirely uneventful. We arrived in San Francisco on a crisp and sunny afternoon. I wish I had slept better, but hopefully I can catch up this weekend before life becomes demanding again.

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