July 31, 2013 – Day 000
Technically, today does not count as one of our official nine hundred and sixty-three days in Thailand. Our plane touched down in Bangkok’s main airport, Suvarnabhumi Airport, at 10:30pm (local time) so the time spent in the Land of Smiles on this Wednesday only lasted ninety minutes.
In that hour and a half, we departed our plane and walked down the jetway. After a long walk through Suvarnabhumi endless terminal, we breezed through immigration…mostly because the lines were short due to the late hour. A new thing for me was that we had to have our pictures taken as we had our passport stamps. I tried to smile, but after an eleven-hour flight from the States to Tokyo, a three-hour layover in Tokyo’s Narita Airport, and a six-hour flight from the Japanese capital to the Thai capital, I’m guessing my “smile” appeared like I was gritting my teeth.
All ten of our suitcases appeared quickly at the baggage claim area so that was another hurdle crossed. Nothing kills a trip quicker than having to hunt for the kiosk/room/desk where the frazzled airline personnel sit who have the thankless task of listening to grumpy people complain loudly about their missing valise.
Suvarnabhumi looks like any other international airport so I did not have my initial first impression about Bangkok until after we passed through the sliding glass doors and walked outside. Since it was only 81 degrees (around 11:15pm), it was not the heat that I first noticed about our new home.
No, it was the smell of bacon.
I have no idea where this odor was coming from and since I have no command of the Thai language, I could not ask anyone around me where the bacon was. It followed us until we entered our van that would take us to our new house.
I was so tired that it barely registered in my brain that the man at the steering wheel of our van was driving on the left-hand side of the road.