Thailand: "Winter Adventure"

Miami, Florida

Monday December 17, 2001

My Dear Family and Friends,

Sawat -dee,

I just checked the temperature readings on my Internet Home Page

London……43F - 6C Rain

Bucharest…27 - 2 Snow

New York….40 - 4 Rain

Kabul………50 - 9   Small arms fire, but can’t confirm

Bangkok ….89 - 32 Sunny * *

I made the right choice for my winter adventure.

Of course I could stay home, hang out at the pool (85F - 30C) and Jacuzzi (105F - 40C) and have a beer on South Beach on New Year’s Eve. Not this year.

I started to pack today although I don’t leave until Friday morning at 8:00. The agent at American Airlines said I had to be at the airport three hours early. I hope she was kidding.

I fly first to Los Angeles, then to Hong Kong and then to Bangkok. The flight over The Pacific Ocean takes only fifteen hours. How many movies do you think they show on Cathay Pacific Airways? Just as long as they aren’t subtitled.

OK, back to packing. My goal is to travel light. I hope I succeed. The only problem is that my guidebook recommends a profusion of pharmaceuticals: Aspirin, antihistamine, antibiotics, loperamide or diphenoxylate, prochloroperazine or metaclopramide, rehydration mixture, insect repellent, sunscreen, lip balm, eye drops, calamine lotion, sting relief spray or aloe vera, antifungal cream or powder, antiseptic, bandages, band-aids and other wound dressings, scissors, tweezers and a thermometer, cold and flu tablets, throat lozenges, nasal decongestant and finally, multivitamins. I thought the food was supposed to be healthful and delicious. That list above is nothing compared to The Center for Disease Control recommendations for immunizations. Whatever. Miami Beach doesn’t sound so bad after all.

Anyway I leave on Friday December 21 in the early morning and arrive in Bangkok on Saturday December 22 in the late evening. (Can anyone explain that International Dateline business to me?)

My plan is to spend three days in Bangkok and then head south with my old friend Jeff, a College professor there. We will travel to a busy beach resort called Pattaya and possibly to a couple of islands in the vicinity. After a few days I will return to Bangkok and then to points north and west including Ayuthaya, Chiang Mai, and Mae Hong Son in the northwest corner of the country. If I have time I will fly south again to the Andaman seacoast.

Remember the couple from Holland who I met in Sofia last summer – they are traveling around the world? They said they were on horseback in China and heading to Thailand. (By train!!) I may see them soon. Small world isn’t it?

My best wishes for a Joyous Holiday Season and a Healthy New Year,