Bringing plants to Thailand...again.
I could have thrown the case off my roof onto the concrete driveway and those plants would not have budged. Overkill? Have you seen what baggage handlers do to your luggage??
So if you haven't guessed one of my top, most important goals of this vacation yet...getting the pulasan past all of our TSA checks, thru Thai customs, and to the house safe and sound ...AND then planted was at the very top of my list.
My second goal was to try as many new durian varieties as possible.
Hell comes knocking
Who the hell would guess that the very first flight out for the day would have issues? Not me. One would think any issues would have been found long before the fucking plane was scheduled to appear. No no no. Not with United Incompetent Airlines. Don't get me wrong. I believe safety comes first, but please make sense of it. Our flight kept getting delayed by 20 minutes. Every time someone went up to the counter to inquire about our flight, they would announce another delay. This continued until all hope of connecting with our flight in Newark, NJ was dashed. I'm desperately trying not to lose my shit right now.
And here's where it all goes to HELL. One of two things here: Many United employees are borderline retarded or United's booking/transfer process sucks...which means that their booking/transfer process was designed/written by a group of retards. United had to book us thru Delta in order to catch a connecting flight to Beijing, China and then Bangkok. We now had to fly into JFK. What about our bags? Yes...our bags will be transferred as well right away. They are not even on a plane yet. Remember that statement. Riiiiight...they are going to completely unload their baggage carts to look for our particular bags.
At JFK by 1:00 and at the Air China counter to check in and try and get our new 4:00 flight to Beijing. I'm not going to pretend and try and explain to you what the guy behind the counter tried to explain to me. Bottom line was that our reservations were not correct. In simple terms. We were NOT on the next flight. My wife spent the next 3 hours on the phone with United trying to get this straightened out with Air China. Would these assholes talk to each other? Nope.
The long and stressful conversation lasted right up till Air China's 4:00 flight closed the gates without us. They also closed their counter and left us standing there mouths hanging open. Cutting this short...we spent approximately 7 total hours on the phone with United. By this time we are truly screwed. Sometime between 8:00 and 10:00 p.m., United and Air China finally got their shit together and correctly booked us on Air China's 2:00 a.m. flight to Beijing. That will have put us around 12+ hours at JFK. 14 hour flight to Beijing coming up. Oh...let me add that we now have a 15 hour layover in Beijing!!!! 15 hours!!! In those other 4 hours on the phone with those people, we were told there were no flights available to no business class seats available and all other kinds of crap. Pretty obvious they just wanted rid of us.
Air China checked on our bags for us. Bags are still in Columbus! WTF?! But they assured us that they will get them on the proper flights for us. Remember this. Fucking United Airlines.
For those who do not personally know me...I'm not a patient man. I try, but this is where I fall short and I'm not overly proud of it. But here, in this situation, I did myself and wife proud. I was not arrested and taken to jail. I did not punch anybody nor did I throw or break anything. I can't say that I didn't throw a few "mother fuckers!" back at United...I did. But that was it. My wife was taking just as hard a beating over this as I was. Probably more since she was doing the bulk of the phone calls. She didn't need the added burden of me being an asshole. So I sucked it up for her sake. Difficult? You better believe it. I wanted to hurl shit thru huge panes of glass! Don't get me wrong...the thought of being in jail is quite an incentive as well!
So much for keeping the rant short eh?!! LOL! Well hell, it feels good bashing the bastards again and I'm just getting warmed up. The airports/airlines are not done with us yet!
We flew business class for this trip. Though the "good deal" is not looking so attractive right now. But one of the perks is being able to partake in the business class lounge. We spent a brief time in the lounge at JFK and it was nice. So we ate...and I had a few beers to calm myself. After all the verifying and checking in, it only left us a few hours in here so we were going to make the most of it!
The 14 hour flight to Beijing was just as you would expect. Long and tiring. It was the full business class experience and we took as much advantage of that as we could. Probably didn't sleep much but we sure made up for it by eating.
Beijing airport is like the second largest in the world. It is also one of the busiest and most modern. All that money spent must mean they have none left over to pay for air conditioning. It was bleeding hot in that place. Uncomfortable to say the least. What the hell do you do for 15 hours? Eat. Try to sleep. Watch movies on Ipad. Read. Eat some more. The following perk, for me, made the cost of a business class ticket worth the money...a shower! The lounge had showers! Not the common showers you find in the terminal, these were lounge showers.
This area had AC too. They provided big, thick towels, soap, shampoo, shaving cream and razor. If there had been a stool inside there, I would not have left. I came out of there feeling like a whole new person.
Whoops...our 6+ hour flight to Bangkok is delayed an hour. Go figure.
Arrive in Bangkok around 2:00 a.m. Forgot to mention that my buddy Warren was flying into Thailand to join us, but he's been here a whole day ahead of us now.
No bags come out. We can't say we are very surprised at this but it's still another wild kick to the nuts. Straight to the claims office to fill out the forms. The lady starts calling around and clacking this and that on the computer. Before long, they are wheeling in my wife's bag! Mine? They are in New York. WTF?!! I mean, I'm glad my wife's bag made it, but I would much rather it be my plants. While they should be fine for a few days, the clock is ticking. Not a happy ride to the house for me. Describing me as mad just wouldn't come close. Fucking United Airlines!!!
May 19-20. In Bangkok and Nonthaburi. I'm Durian
Most Thais prefer their fruit a bit before peak ripeness and this "usually" means a less sweet, crunchier version. Most Americans enjoy their fruit ripe. For us, the fruit is at the top of their game in sweetness and texture. Afterall...I doubt that the serpent enticed Eve with an under ripe apple.
That's Warren and I with the owner Andy. The place was hopping and we had our durian fix for now. Time to go home, call the airport and get any updates on my luggage...no, I hadn't forgotten even while eating durian.
I believe the "ass-in-seat" time was 6:30. There's no fooling around with that either. It's actually kind of funny until you see the van start to head down the street without you.
As I look at the pictures below, I noticed that I am in a new outfit. I completely forgot about us going to the mall and shopping for new clothes for me...which means trying shit on too. Another of my favorite activities! I don't really enjoy this on a good, stress-free day. Being forced to purchase new clothes is a whole new ballgame. I was not having a good time.
A "large" in Thailand is usually about the size of our medium, at most, in the states. This means I have to try everything on. Shorts and shirts alike. I needed everything. Boxers and socks too. Trying to find the least expensive shit to buy and still not look like I came from Goodwill was a challenge. Add to the fact that I was sweating my ass off. Fucking United Airlines. I'm not trying to be fair to United here but I'm sure Air China has some responsibility to bear for some of our troubles. I just want to spread the hate around.
For the rest of the pictures and videos of this portion of our trip, please click on the following galleries on the highlighted text. It will open a new window so you don't lose your place here. Gallery for: May 19-20.
May 21 - Chanthaburi
This is the same farm we visited the last time I was here back in 2015. The owners once again opened their arms to us to come share their bounty. The longkong harvest was actually the week before we arrived, but they kept one tree loaded just for us. This is one of my top fruits and these didn't disappoint.
We were there not to just eat, but to learn as well so everyone fired off questions about this or that, but all pertaining to the farm and/or fruit production. The top left pic is a new planting of durian trees. Everyone getting into the act of cutting clusters of longkong. Even our driver got into the game there in the last pic.
The third pic is corky bark disease that I see on longkong everywhere. It is unsightly and usually completely covers a tree. The owner says it actually does no harm to the tree and that the tree will normally and eventually, just outgrow it the disease.
We've had a great day so far. We've eaten lots of fruit and have full bags to bring back. The owner just offered to take us to the other farm. We don't say no.
It's been quite a long day. It's time to get checked into our hotel and get ready for dinner. We will stop off at a small mall before dinner and get Warren's phone straightened out as well as me a pair of flip flops that fit.
Have you worn flip flogs before? I haven't. I wear sandals. Big difference. No tree stump between your two largest toes. If you have not worn flips flops before, starting out puts you at a huge disadvantage. Your two toes have never experienced hurting like this before. It's a crippling affect too. You start walking like there is a drill bit plowing between your toes. Every step is agony and you know the next step is going to hurt just as bad but there is no getting around it. Going downhill nearly caused me to lose my shit. My wife kept telling me it will hurt less and less in a couple of days. Days?! I could swear I was going to need surgery. Fucking United Airlines.
We received a lot of strange looks, finger pointing, and hushed comments when locals discovered two strange foreigners enjoying durian. If they would have stuck around and watched Warren plow thru durian, they would have gotten a show! Warren hasn't met a durian he hasn't liked...or loved. He does not discriminate on ripeness nor variety. Sure, he has a preference, but will not turn any of that tempting flesh away and savors every single bite. I watch him eat durian and I'm very glad we made this opportunity.
For the rest of the pictures and videos of this portion of our trip, please click on the following galleries on the highlighted text. It will open a new window so you don't lose your place here. Gallery for: May 21.
May 21-22. Still in Chanthaburi.
Everything they do there seemed to revolve around the commercial production of the main fruit trees. Not only does that mangosteen grove in the last pic above look really cool, they've shown that pruning in this shape and height gave maximum production and still put gobs of trees in that space. Those are 40 year old trees.
This temple caught Warren and I's eyes a little differently. Seemed that there were orchards on all sides of the grounds! Mangosteen, durian, maprang, longkong, rambutan. Everywhere. So it gave us a little extra to look at.
Turns out that the ol' boy above is sort of the curator/caretaker of the temple. He designed and created all of the sculptures and bungalows on the grounds. An incredible undertaking and responsibility. These folks were so nice. Never met them before yet they invited us in for a tour, gave us fruit, and made us promise to come back and visit again. You just never know.
As you can see, they maintain their grounds well. It was a breeze walking along the paths with great views and access to all of the trees.
And the mostly green mangosteen? We found some that looked to us like they were solid green. I knew from my experiences at Ian Crown's farm in Puerto Rico that mangosteen picked with some red striping will ripen and turn purple in a few days. The guy picked one up and turned it around, smiled, and tossed it to Warren. He said that if the fruit has even the faintest of a red line, it is fine to be picked. He also admitted that even HE cannot see the red but his pickers are trained to see it!
The biggest financial benefit of these plants is their pollen. The pollen is excellent for the pollination of the sweeter varieties and is sold to farmers in the area for that purpose. Selling the fruit is just a minor bonus.
All in all, a good outing. Got to eat some fruit and certainly learned a bunch. Unfortunately, their durian had been picked a little too early for our finicky taste buds. The lady at the stand seemed quite put out by this. This place was not by invitation. You paid to enter and be taken around. That is fine and was worth the cost. However, don't get bent out of shape if we didn't purchase your durian. Apple-hard durian flesh is not what we are after.
One vendor was selling grafted Musang King durians. There were other varieties available as well and it was damn hard not to pick up a few. Well...I did pick up a few and hold them a bit but eventually put them down. The folks' yard has not been kind to durians no matter what measures they have taken to try and correct. So like mango trees...no more durian either. Ya have to pick the battles you can hopefully win.
We went from stall to stall where it was being displayed. Mom was doing her best to find a fruit that was tree fallen ripe. This was proving a lot harder than you can imagine. We finally found a vendor who was very helpful and even opened a few durians for us to find one at the stage we wanted. As you can see from the second pic, not all of the durians were to our liking! My wife's face tells all there. But we did find one and once again amused locals while we stuffed our faces outside our hotel.
I've sort of lost track of time by now but have not forgotten my bags and plants. My wife has called the airport every evening for an update. Supposedly, we are told that they are now on a flight into Bangkok and that they will call as soon as the bags clear customs.
Yeah...about that. Customs. My plants have all of the proper documentation: bill of health and sign off from Ohio Ag/USDA that declares I've satisfied all of the rules and regs for bringing live plants into Thailand. It should have been as simple as walking thru customs and maybe not even being stopped, or being stopped and told to proceed after showing the documentation.
But it isn't always that simple even when you follow the rules. There is no guarantee that the folks you present that documentation know the rules, follow the rules, or even give a shit about the rules. This is the same the world over. Our USDA has personnel no different. When you crush everyone with so many rules and state them in a manner few can even understand, well, many are just going to ignore them and fall back on what they think they know.
If there was a problem with customs when I came thru with my bags, at least my wife and I would have been there to argue our case. Now? It's just documentation VS luck of who is on duty when they come thru. The airport assured us that if there were any issues, they would call.
Finally around 8:00 pm, the airport called and said my bags arrived and cleared customs. Holy shit! Now I wonder after everywhere they've been and the numerous TSA checkpoints in between, were my plants still even in the case??? Well, should know soon. They called back at 10:00 saying that the bags were on their way to be delivered at the house.
We instructed the maid on how to carefully remove and unwrap each plant. Hell, I had nightmares on doing this myself knowing how much tape and shit I used to secure them! Now I'm putting all this responsibility into the maid's hands and I'm not there to even watch. Shit. This bad dream doesn't end.
We won't get home until late tomorrow afternoon and I will hopefully have time to plant them. So, last time: Fucking United Airlines.
For the rest of the pictures and videos of this portion of our trip, please click on the following galleries on the highlighted text. It will open a new window so you don't lose your place here. Gallery for: May 21-22.
May 22-23 - Chanthaburi & Rayong
That was pretty much it on our list of stops so we made a few unplanned ones along the way. One such place, while still in Chanthaburi, was called Khuk Khi Kai, which translates as "chicken shit prison". Back in 1893 when the French invaded Chanthaburi, they built this tiny prison to house Thais that caused trouble. For punishment, they would put a screen over the top of the prisoners and then keep their chickens in there. One can only imagine the mess the birds made and the smells that were present. Probably disease as well. Definitely unpleasant.
The next morning we got up and headed back to the house. I was anxious to check on the plants first hand and I also had a bunch of mango scions to graft.
We got back early afternoon and Warren and I got busy with the mango grafts. My buddy Brandon from Florida was generous enough to send these to me right before we left. I hoped they were still fresh and yield successful grafts. The original plan was for us to have all the previous Saturday for me to plant the pulasan and graft. Those plans got trashed of course.
I had 10 different varieties and a total of 25 cuttings. Now I'm not the fastest grafter on the planet by a long shot so I counted on these taking me quite a while. We split the grafts up among 4 different mango trees in the yard. The cutting varieties and number of grafts are listed below:
Fruit Punch - 3
Seacrest - 2
Lemon Zest - 3
Sweet Tart - 3
Venus - 1
Phoenix - 2
Peach Cobbler - 3
Pineapple Pleasure - 3
M-4 - 2
Dupuis - 3
I was right. It did take us quite a while, but I think we got some good grafts. I tried this back in 2015 and got zero take. This time, all of the scions look like they were taken at a fantastic stage...growth just starting to push in the forms of swelling buds. It was the rainy season here so all of the trees were pushing growth as well. So any failures will obviously lay at my feet. The grafter.
I next dug 3 modest sized holes in the yard for the pulasan. Mixed in some nice organics. Since the plants just went thru several more days than they were supposed to shut up in the case, I decided it would be best to wait several days before planting giving them time to get over the shock. I forgot to mention that two of the pulasan ended up dropping their leaves before we got home. Not the best sign but not completely unexpected given what they've been thru. I was confident that they would recover just fine.
It had rained like hell over night and I wanted to remove the soil in the holes hoping it would dry out faster and be in better shape to plant once we returned from our next family outing. As soon as I rammed the shovel into the hole, I knew I was in trouble. The shit was mud. Just saturated with water and heavier than hell. Damn near killed me getting it out and I knew then and there that the only way these plants would survive in these conditions was planting them in mounds. So I decided to widen the holes to give the mounds more base.
I was out there until dark and had just started the 3rd hole when my wife came to my rescue and stopped me. I could barely stand at this point. She said they would get someone to come finish and make the mounds. With all of the continuing rain, there was no way the pulasan were going into the ground during my stay in Thailand. I'd have to put this responsibility into other hands.
An "expert" was supposed to come to the house in the morning before we left for the day to see the holes and estimate how much good soil they would need to bring in to make the mounds. Given that the holes had filled up with water over night, I figures the mounds would be pretty decent sized in order to give the plants a chance. I even had my thoughts seconded by my "experts"...Warren and Ian. But everybody else seemed to know best and didn't believe the mounds needed to be very big at all. The "expert" came out while we were gone and his measurement put the mounds about two inches above ground level. What the hell that would accomplish, neither Warren nor I could figure out. I think after seeing the marks, even mom and dad admitted that his height was not enough. They compromised another six inches. Still shorter than what I had in mind, but again, this really is now out of my hands. And seriously, after all the shit that has happened, I was damn near at the "I just don't give a shit" stage.
For the rest of the pictures and videos of this portion of our trip, please click on the following galleries on the highlighted text. It will open a new window so you don't lose your place here. Gallery for: May 22-23.
May 24-25 - Bangkok & Nakhon Pathom
But it was lunch time and my wife's family does not miss a meal! One of the things the university researches is cattle and they had a fantastic restaurant on site. Don't get me wrong, I'm loving all of the Thai food I've been putting down, but I was not going to pass on good ol' beef.
I believe nearly everyone got the filet. Mine was rare...and delicious. Everything on the plate was fantastic. My only critique would have been to not butterfly the filet. If cooking well done, yeah. But for rare? No way. Sear that bitch! Still, a damn fine meal. Let's go get educated.
We had a great time and it was nice to see my wife and her friend catch up. Yeetoh is quite the character and would be fun to hang out with. She even offered to come to the house and check on some of the fruit trees and help the folks get the proper fertilizers. It would have been cool to have her join us on our fruit hunting trips.
Number one, it is a sit down toilet. I've gone over the other alternatives before and won't do that here. But for the western user, this is gold. We were not conditioned to squat in the required manner to achieve the desired results. In other words, we can't freaking bend that much without falling over...and worse. Number two...no pun intended...is that this particular stall has toilet paper. That is huge. Most places, aside from most restaurants and malls, very seldom supply toilet paper. You either have to purchase it before entering or bring your own. Many public events and scenic stops charge a small fee to enter their bathrooms. I think this sucks nearly as much as not supplying toilet paper. Number three, it is clean. Never can underestimate this but it is still number three. Urgency can over ride nearly anything.
Hey...don't get me wrong here. Not all toilets are squatters and not all make you bring your own toilet paper or purchase it. More and more businesses are changing for the better and that is encouraging. Carrying around toilet paper is kind of inconvenient but helps when your wife or mother-in-law carries a large purse!
A big day that started early. We stopped at one temple on the way home of course.
For the rest of the pictures and videos of this portion of our trip, please click on the following galleries on the highlighted text. It will open a new window so you don't lose your place here. Gallery for: May 24-25.
May 25-26, Nonthaburi & Nakhon Nayok
I mentioned earlier how us westerners like our fruit a little more on the ripe side. Well, when they are out there cutting durian from the trees, they are taking them well before the stage that we like. This is what they do and the majority of visitors are Thai so that works out well for them.
For us, we lucked out and they had several tree fallen fruit. We tried some of the normal market varieties and they were very good. But we were there for the not-so-normal varieties. They did not disappoint.
This was obviously a big family operation. While the owner was catering to us, other visitors were being tended to as well. Some fruits were being prepared "to go"...being cleaned and wrapped for travel. Others, like us, stood there and ate what was offered.
Everyone agreed that any one of these beat the pants off the Musang King. The above durians could very well change your overall view on the fruit. The flavors were just outstanding.
So...if you are in Thailand during durian season, this place is an absolute MUST STOP on your list.
This place was going to be hard to top. Later, we did stop at a park with some falls. We walked all the way up to the entrance only to be told that they were pretty dry and there wasn't much to see. Soooo...we walked back down the hill, hopped in the van, and headed to our next destination.
This next stop was...you guessed it! A temple! LOL! We were slowly coming down off the high of La Ong Fa so a visit to another temple was just fine. We knew it made the folks happy and after all they have done for us, we were more than okay with the stop.
Well, it's getting late and the natives are getting hungry. We head back into town, wherever that is, and look for a market and dinner. A very long and satisfying day for all I believe.
For the rest of the pictures and videos of this portion of our trip, please click on the following galleries on the highlighted text. It will open a new window so you don't lose your place here. Gallery for: May 25-26.
May 27, Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest & Thai Herb Museum - Pak Phii, Prachinburi
This was actually pretty cool. There were pictures and descriptions of how people were treated for all of this way back...you know...before the internet! Seemed like every flower, root, leaf, bark, and more of probably every plant imaginable had a use in some form. It would have been interesting to know what actually had value today.
Hot? I'm always asked "was it hot over there?". Hell yes it's hot. You kidding? But when out in the orchards and farms looking at fruit trees and eating fruit, the heat never seemed to register. Walking from the air conditioned bedroom to the kitchen or the car, or walking thru a park, then it was freaking hot! Odd?
The roar of the falls was soothing. We hung out there for a good while taking it all in. It would have been a blast to get down there and jump in for a swim. It was very unlikely anyone without proper equipment could have made it down there and especially back up.
Damn! We have to climb back up all of those stairs. And there were lots of them. The pics above just show a few sections. Oh no...they went on for a while. Because at this point ya see, everyone pretty much thought "well, we came, we saw, we heading back to the air conditioned van"! Nope!
We got up to the top of the steps and well up to our left was a small amphitheater for people to either rest or wait while the more adventurous members of their group head down the stairs. This is where we found mom. Smart lady. She had been talking with one of the park rangers and he had been telling her of another "trail" that led to a view of the upper falls. She said he would take us. Hmmmm...we asked how far this was. He told us only 400 meters.
Now...if you are talking from point A to point B as the crow flies, then I'll grant the dude that maybe it was 400 meters. But the foot path we took...that wound and wound around the mountain with a very steep grade seemed like 400 miles to us. There were several stops where someone would ask "how much farther?". Each time we were told "half way or just a little farther". You would always hear someone mutter "half way my ass". But it was fun and it was neat and we made jokes and laughed about the several "half ways". It was just tiring in that heat and humidity.
Guess what? Yeah...now we have to go back down the trail followed by another long hike on the main trail. I think we were all going to sleep well tonight.
The reason behind these is actually rather sad. Many of these trails are also used by elephants in the park. The pillars are there to discourage the elephants from going any further. This is because many of the big beasts have slipped on the steep trails and fallen to their deaths over the years.
We next brought back a bunch of food from the nearby stalls and once again ate like we were starving. There wasn't much more to see or do and everyone was pretty tired. It was getting on towards evening. We stopped at a market near our hotel to see if there was any interesting fruit. Warren actually found a lady selling Korlan from her back yard. Korlan is a lychee and rambutan relative. It was pretty sour and not at all a pleasure to consume. Warren bought a huge bunch anyways so he could send seeds back.
After returning to the hotel, we gathered together and walked around the little village that was a part of the complex. This was all new and really the start of a dynamic strip-like mall. Tiny shops littered the little walkways along with a coffee shop/eatery. All this walking around must have made everyone hungry again because we headed across the road to a restaurant for dinner.
We all had a really fun and exhausting day. A good day out with the family. We had just one more day of our family vacation with all of the visits included, then we would head back to Bangkok. So tomorrow promised to be another big day and again a fruitless one.
But...something went horribly wrong sometime during the afternoon and/or evening. We just didn't know it yet.
For the rest of the pictures and videos of this portion of our trip, please click on the following galleries on the highlighted text. It will open a new window so you don't lose your place here. Gallery for: May 27.
May 28, Pak Chong Mu Si - DPT & Thanon Thanarat
Have you every reached the point where you argue with yourself over the benefits of throwing up? This little mind conversation goes back and forth for a while. Finally, you and yourself agree that you feel like shit and that it is time for a heave. Nobody I know enjoys throwing up. I hate it and every aspect of it scares the shit out of me. It's just a horrible experience. And taking into consideration what I went thru the last time I threw up...spending the night in the hospital...which is another story, one part of me was really reluctant to spew.
But the logical side of me out argued the emotional side and we all decided it would be best if I gave heaving a chance. I sure wasn't getting any better lying there in bed so this was a Hail Mary.
First I need to set the stage a bit. Our hotel room was a nice, clean room. However, it did have a minor issue with ants in the bathroom. Now I fight a daily battle with ants in my greenhouse back home and at times in the house. So I'm not exactly on friendly terms with the little bastards. I took every opportunity while in the bathroom to hunt them down and squash them...else they find their way to my bed during the night.
So with that said, I reluctantly make my way to the bathroom for the dreaded task. It was like walking the Green Mile. There was already a towel on the floor in there and I positioned it in front of the toilet just right. Had to be comfortable. After all, who knew how long I'd be in there! One side of me is still trying to debate whether this is a good idea or not. But all that was necessary was for me to bend my head over a little bit and it was game on. Damn!
Heave and spew! Oh look...a fucking ant. Squish. Heave and spew! Another ant. Squish. More heaving, less spewing...still more ants. Where the hell are these damn things coming from? Squish, squish, squish you bastards. Between the heaving and the squishing, I was spent. I had tears running down my face...which was pretty slack jawed at this point and ant remains on my fingers when I opened the bathroom door to find my wife standing there. I looked like several miles of bad road. One look at me was enough to figure out what's been going on so there was no point in trying to hide it.
Something got my gut and got me good. Was it food poisoning or just some errant bacteria that targeted me? Don't know. I did know that all I wanted to do was sleep. But that was out of the question because there was still an entire day of things to see and do before going back to Bangkok. Joy. I did not want my wife making a big deal of this because I did not want it to ruin everyone else's day. So I tried to put on a brave face and greet the day. Did I pull it off? Naw...not really.
After the museum, dad had our driver stop at a pharmacy and he was able to procure me some meds for my stomach. Something to kill whatever was inside me and one to help with the pain and such. There was one upside to this whole thing...I had not gotten sick again since earlier that morning in the hotel room. Still felt like death warmed over, but nothing coming out of either end!! I counted that as a small victory and a fortunate one given our traveling circumstances.
According to the gang, the place was really just a collection of old items from bygone days. Luckily it must not have been all that interesting because they weren't gone all that long. Yea for me. We still had a long trip back to Bangkok and I was anxious to get moving.
Nope. Everybody is hungry. I tried to be a sport and cause friction by not staying in the van with it running this time. I couldn't stand the thought of being around food...seeing it or smelling it. So I opted to sit in the shade on a bench near a fountain. Okay, shouldn't be a problem...how long can lunch take? Apparently, a long fucking time! The shade and fountain wasn't that bad for the first half hour. Started to wear thin after the second one. Going on the third...I was downright miserable. I guess this lunch was going to be a marathon of meals. Damn...should have stayed in the van.
We finally got back on the road and several hours later, made it back to the house. I spent the rest of the evening in bed. Bee fixed me a couple pieces of toast and some tea and I was able to eat it. Didn't enjoy it, but I kept it down. This certainly wasn't how I wanted to spend the last day of our family vacation.
For the rest of the pictures and videos of this portion of our trip, please click on the following galleries on the highlighted text. It will open a new window so you don't lose your place here. Gallery for: May 28.
May 29, Bangkok
We all went to lunch at a little noodle place. I drank some of the broth and ate a bit of noodles but that was it. The dish wasn't doing anything for me. Slept the afternoon away. We had dinner at home and again...didn't eat much. Back to bed for a little while before we had to leave for the airport. I felt bad about cooping myself up in the bedroom for most of the day but I had to shake the worst of this or I was in for a very long and miserable trip home.
We left for the airport pretty early. Warren and I wondered around a little bit and then I finally checked in and headed to the lounge before the flight. Had a tiny bit of scrambled eggs and a Sprite. I figured that would probably be all I ate until I got home. My flight out was 1:00 a.m. to Beijing. Going this direction, I think it was less than 6 hours.
Even though I had business class, the plane was a smaller version and did not have the full business seats. Kinda sucks when you paid the money but don't really get to experience the best of it. Was still better than economy seats. In business, they come and get your food order before the flight even taxis out. I told the girl I would not be eating. She looked at me as if she just discovered I was sitting there naked or something. She was having a hard time wrapping her head around the fact that I didn't want the meal. I really didn't. But it didn't stop her or the other flight attendants from checking again with me from time to time.
Beijing airport was still hot and stuffy. Cheap bastards. I once again made my way to the lounge where just a few weeks prior we spent 15 hours biding our time. Still didn't feel like eating but managed a couple very small muffins and some juice. There is nothing to look forward to on a 13+ hour flight...even in business class.
So far, the flights have gotten off without a hitch this time around. So happy about that because I was not in the frame of mind to deal with that shit again. I once again had to convince all of the flight attendants that I would not be eating. This really put these folks off their game. Each one had to give it a try maybe thinking the previous girl did something wrong. Oh well...it gave them something to talk about during the flight.
About halfway in, I did end up eating a couple rolls and I think that made them happy. I wasn't able to sleep well even in the chairs that reclined into a bed. The rest of the trip I watched some movies on the Ipad or on their entertainment system. Long flight.
Newark to Columbus was uneventful thankfully. It was great getting home. I missed the dogs terribly. No more airports, flights, or fucking United Airlines! My bed never felt so good.
Now for the so-called "expert". See all of that dirt? See the mound in the last pic? That was the bare minimum I wanted for each hole/plant. I wanted a wide mound set at least 12 inches above ground level. It is certainly encouraging when looking at the above pics.
I hope you enjoyed my latest blog. Please feel free to leave comments or questions and be sure to check out the rest of the pictures in the galleries section.