Three bike rides, two massages (one oil and one Thai, both by women with death grips that have me limping out of the parlor), and eight steaks later I ready to leave Bangkok. I sleep for a few hours before my red eye, which I have to supplement with a three hour layover in a Chinese city I’ve never heard of. This is the price I pay for living in the moment and trying to see something new. Maybe one day I’ll be able to afford a direct flight and the Hilton, or go to Europe and drink chardonnay while I peer out at a beautiful Italian landscape. But not yet.
My stomach is contorting more than a gymnast, although by the time I finish this routine no one will be cheering and I’ll have yacked up that mangosteen Wat bought me from that impoverished woman who had no idea she was poor because she still walked around like she was the happiest person in the entire city. I wish I could appreciate life as much as she does.
The car stops and I get out, having not yet puked but walking to the terminal hunched over like I have malignant lumbar issues. I soon find out I’m at the wrong airport and it’s 45 minutes the other way to the correct one. It’s always something for me because the only prep work I do is make sure I have some money and a passport and show up like I’ve done this a million times.
The guy races back across town to get me to my destination, which normally would be cool but the entire time I’m rolling around in the back seat like a bratty kid because my neck is jammed against the roof of this ridiculously tiny Toyota Prius and my little tummy can’t take it anymore. We finally get there, and the driver is disappointed with his 60 Baht tip that to everyone else was a treat. His look pisses me off. Christ, dude, I can pay for your wife’s birthday present, but I can’t do Christmas too.
I’m lying on the floor of the terminal because all the seats are taken by old women that evidently need four spots apiece. The cold white surface feels soothing, until I realize Chinese people spit everywhere, so now I probably have a communicable disease.
We are on the ascent and my mouth starts to water, gag reflex kicks in and I’m about to vomit. I thank a deity that the lights are down, but that doesn’t mean the two hottest women on the whole plane aren’t giving me the we expected better look as I quietly puke into the soft red blanket that was keeping me warm but now is wrapped in a ball and conspicuously being held over my lap until the seatbelt sign goes off.
I shouldn’t need validation from those women. I have a woman back home that can’t wait to see me, so why is my ego trying to impress two attractive women that likely are just window shopping? If I knew the answer to that question, I’d probably be able to answer why I spent the other night wishing this woman in her mid thirties would leave me alone and not insist I give her my room number. She wasn’t even that hot, but she was throwing herself at me and it’s hard to feel like an asshole when she’s the one putting in all the work.
We hit some turbulence and I’m awoken by a woman jamming the arm rest into my leg. It hurts but I’m too passive to yell at her as we cruise through the clouds. A flight attendant gives me a great smile when I tell her in Chinese that I want water. I don’t know if she’s smiling to avoid laughing in my face or because she thinks I’m sweet. Speaking Chinese is hard. They have four tones that vary based on what you want to say. It’s difficult, like trying to roll R’s in Spanish, only in Chinese if I say burrito in the wrong tone I might have just said I hope you go jump off that bridge tomorrow. Trying to hit the tones is like trying to sing, and if you follow my IG, you know my talents extend only so far.
By now I just want to be off this plane so I can go see my girl and commence the excitement, as Frank McCourt so brilliantly refers to it as in his memoir,`Tis. My eagerness suggests I’m like a soldier that’s just returned home from the war. A lot of this day has sucked, but I still can’t get enough of these vacations.
For a video recap of his book tour last year, click here