Sunday, October 30, 2011

One Night in Bangkok

Couldn't help the cliche'.. just too great.

Landed close to midnight into Bangkok's new and ultramodern Suvarnabhumi International Airport and made my way downtown, struggling with a taxi driver doing his best to separate me from my money. Fortunately, good friends at United were kind enough to check my bags from Narita straight through to Kathmandu on today's Thai flight.. meaning I was spared the challenge of hauling 150 lbs of climbing gear through subtropical swamp weather. Does mean I'm wearing the same clothes that I left Seattle in 3 days ago, but it is what it is & doubt anyone notices.

It has been interesting to note all the sensationalizing going on in the media when it comes to what is going on downtown. Stories abound on flooding, and while the elevated highways here are definitely jam packed with parked cars for storage above the water, the main portion of the city remains bone dry. This did make the hotel decision a complete crap shoot though.. get one and risk getting marooned? Hop from lounge to lounge and grab some tile during the wee hours? Fortunately the gamble paid off and instead of feeling like something the cat dragged in, I feel relatively well rested.

The lack of flooding is definitely a good thing, especially for this low-lying city that sees water as it's life-blood. Given the warnings of record flood waters raging down the Chaopraya River mashing with seasonal high tides, the Shinawatra government here- considered inexperienced and quite cavalier when it came to flood preparedness- seems to have dodged a bullet. The sky is crisp and clear and no rain in the foreseeable forecast so perhaps things here will return to normal in a few days. Without a doubt this will be a thing of the past by the time I'm routing back through in ~2 weeks.

Airport is still a zoo, but that's to be considered since a bajillion locals are camping out here rather than grab a hotel. On to Kathmandu, flight departs in an hour.

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