No Jacket or Thai Required
Trip Start Nov 23, 2011
31Trip End Dec 29, 2011
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Where I stayed
Baan Hanibah Chiang Mai
Read my review - 3/5 stars
Read my review - 3/5 stars
What I did
The world passing below our feet
Last night as we rested our heads on our pillows it was with the unsettling knowledge that a radical change in our already radically changed lives was about to occur. This morning the feeling was no less dreadful. With both of us in stages of middle age and both suffering hoplessly from wanderlust, we have to acknowledge that not all travel, certainly not the kind of stupid shit we reported in earlier posts, will always be available to us
But today is not yesterday and it's not yet tomorrow, so we will live it for all it's worth. We have a little time before we need to leave for the airport, so we take a final lap around the 'hood, buying local snacks for the flights, stopping in on Toy for a final smoothie and some good bye scrubbles for little Lucky and then pack at leisure. We climb into the cab as we drive away, past hostels decorated with lounging backpackers, restaurants with limited menus offering super cheap mega Thai food, miscellaneous buildings older than anything anywhere in America, the exotic 'half the world away' adventure begins to fade like a ghost finally called into infinity
Our next stop is Bangkok Airport, which is super modern. We have already gone through security once back in Chiang Mai but must clear it again changing gates here and will have our bags opened and inspected and our persons patted down when we arrive at the departure gate. However, the local security personnel are more respectful and cheerful than most of the TSA grunts back home, so it doesn't feel like quite the imposition it might.
Back on a 757 or some jumbo jet, sunk into our seats, already relaxed by a pre-take off glass of decent Champagne, it's hard not to feel the strong thumb of vacation still massaging our hunger for travel. Sure it's suddenly luxorious, but still alien and still on the move. No withdrawal sympoms yet! The flight is unevenful but for one surprising factor: we are settled in for a seveneteen or so hour flight because of our experience heading out, but the ride back is five hours shorter! We are in Los Angeles literally before we know it!
But, although Los Angeles is our home, it is not our final destination. We deplane, clear customs and head to the curb where Steve's parents are waiting. It is a pleasure to see them, but the very hominess of the reunion creates more travel weirdness, which is good! We hop into their van with our luggage and head out of the airport to the local Souplantation restaurant. One thing you don't get much of traveling in don't drink the water land is salad. Our three hour layover gives us all the time we need to eat, visit and return to the airport
On the ground in Atlanta we are actually tripping. Ambien awake is a hallucinogen and making our way across this massive airport means negotiating its subway system and traversing about a half mile of concourse on foot. It's actually kind of groovy and the drugs make even good old Atlanta feel otherworldly and exotic. So far so good: we are still far, far away.
Arriving in Jamaica is easy. Our bags are up quickly and the Superclubs private 'lounge' (it's a waiting room) insolates us from the hustle and bustle of the airport. Therein we meet up with our pal Thera, who we have invited to join us on this leg of the trip. We have brought plenty of small bills for tipping and make a seamless transition to the van that will take us to Breezes Grand (formally Grand Lido). The van is filled with other guests both of Breezes Grand and Hedonism II (not sure why it's "II" -there's never been a "I" and they've closed "III"). We chat away the time and even make a stop for everyone to buy Jamaican specialities that we can each enjoy throughout the week.
Our arrival at the resort is a carbon copy of every arrival we've made there (this is trip number nine, we think). As usual the rooms won't be ready for a while, so we grab our first servings of the property's famous lamb chops. Once in our rooms, we start noticing the differences that have occured concurrent with the name change: there are no robes or slippers, no room service and they have dispensed with the free mani pedis. The in room fridge is animically stocked and the in room coffee maker no longer provides us with the island's famous Blue Mountain Coffee. We find that we are a little put off by this but we have much time ahead to adjust. But first things first - time to get out of our travel clothes, find a cocktail and drop into the Caribbean Sea. Our primary focus today is to stay awake until a reasonable hour before crashing and, while cocktails and whatever may not help that, we are here and when in Jamaica...
The entertainment at these resorts is consistently difficult for us to watch. There is a tone of voice the house 'entertainment crew' has determined is exciting and showy and it makes us cringe, so we find ourselves back in the room pretty early. All in all not bad. We make it to about 10:00. Maybe we'll see the sunrise. The idea was to deal with our jetlag in style here and it just might work!