I asked the desk about a wake-up call. Well, that wasn’t possible because there was no phone in the room. I had noticed that but had forgotten. Does the hotel supply alarm clocks? No.
You don’t offer any wake-up service for guests? The snotty guy behind the counter said, “We let the guests wake themselves up.”
Back in the room later I found that the burners could be set as alarms. Even more remarkable, I was able to get them to work.
We took dinner downstairs because there is no other reasonable place to go and turned in early. The alarm woke me at 3 a.m.
We made the 5 a.m. car with time to spare and checked in for the flight. The umbrellas were no trouble. A man wrapped them in plastic and sent them down the conveyor with our bags.
Then we went in search of coffee. Joanna doesn’t drink it, avoids caffeine in all forms. I need it to wake up. It fuels my enthusiasm. It can make me jumpy, true, but I get withdrawal symptoms—chills, headache, fatigue, and more than usual irritability—if I go too long without it.
I had a couple of cups with a quick bite to eat.
The plane left on time, a little after 7 a.m. When you leave Bangkok that early, you get back to the East Coast of the United States on the same calendar day. It was a 36-hour Saturday.
I skipped breakfast on the plane but had some more coffee. When they handed out ham and cheese sandwiches about an hour before landing, it was Joanna’s turn to pass up the food. I wolfed down my sandwich and hers. I was so hungry by then that they tasted good.
It’s about a six-hour trip from Bangkok to Tokyo, where we would get the plane to Newark. We had a layover of almost three hours, which we put to good use eating noodle soup, drinking beer (well, Joanna had a few sips), and walking.
The flight from Tokyo to Newark was scheduled for 13 hours, but apparently the jet stream was even more favorable than usual, because we made it in 12.
Still, it’s a long time to sit. We had a window and a center seat, so getting out wasn’t easy. There was a lady in the aisle seat who spent a lot of time sleeping. We got up a couple of times and walked back to the lavatory. That helped. Other times, I stood up in front of my seat and flexed my legs.
I tried to sleep. I was even able to recline the seat because there was no one sitting behind me. But I just couldn’t manage to drift off. Every time I tried, there was an ache somewhere. All in my overheated imagination, I’m sure. The mind can be a terrible thing to live with.
I forget how many movies I watched. I forget what I ate for dinner. I actually finished a Sudoku puzzle in the United Airlines magazine. I did, however, get the last can of Goose Island IPA on the drinks cart. So, all in all, it was a good flight.
We got to Joanna’s house before 5 p.m. After we cleaned up and threw a load of laundry into the washing machine, we went to Egan’s for dinner. I had raw oysters for the first time in two months. I skip raw bar anywhere but the States and Japan. I also had Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA, an LBIPA from the New Jersey Beer Co., and a real Guinness with a hamburger.
A perfect re-entry.
Many happy returns, everyone.