“It is better to travel well than to arrive.”– Buddha

In the warped context of international travel, a day does not necessarily last 24 hours. It takes 19.5 hours to travel to from New York City, the capital of the world to Bangkok, the Sin City of the East, this includes a stopover in Hong Kong.

One should also factor the 11-hour time difference.

The dread of what sounds to be an interminable journey does not reflect the true sentiments of the victims. The moment of this annual reunion is indeed an exercise in ecstasy.

The flight time was partially filled with dozens of shows and films graciously offered via the airline entertainment system. The darkness of the cabin created a setting favorable for restful sleep solely interrupted by three meals served a la carte. The opportunity to have 91 colleagues, friends, family members at arm length makes the experience warm and comfortable, though not quite a slumber party.

The idea of a 90-minute layover in Hong-Kong was originally fraught with anxiety. Chek Lap Kok Airport was twice shut down by the demonstrators and the protestors during the four-month old democracy protest. Would the travelers be trapped in a Hong Kong terminal, for a week? It did not happen.

Off the plane at Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK), in Thailand, Nisa and her team were in waiting at the gate. They were the staff of Smiles Bangkok, a popular tour agency. The travelers were welcome with a lei collar, the Thai symbol of hospitality. One member could not find her luggage! Why does this always happen?

From the airport, the group went to pay respect to the Reclining Buddha at Wat Pro. The Buddha is 46-meter long, half the length of the soccer field. This is worth seeing. They seized the opportunity of this exotic setting to shoot an iconic group picture that will be framed for posterity.

The Traveller

(O. Robert Jeanlouie, Wednesday, October 9, 2019)
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