Rental car has been returned, bike box weight verified under the max, and the process of taping begins. Three rolls of tape on 2 very large boxes goes quickly. We load them onto the dollies and hand our lives over to the kind women of EVA Air.
We learn quickly that JFK International Terminal 2 is slow, small, and expensive. Unlike our airport of choice, Philadelphia, the food offerings are lacking, hours old, and really NYC-style expensive. Ond slice of pizza $6…eek!
On the terminal TV we watched the Steelers pull off a win; subsequently the channel is switched to CNN. The ongoing obsession with Trump and his every move is still in full swing with inauguration days away. Flying to The Kingdom of Thailand and its recently passed, beloved King Rama IX will be an interesting contrast to the 24/7 political news circuit in the US.
While, filling our water we miss the 30 second window to queue for our loading zone and are among the last to board.
Animated multilingual safety instructions, seatbelt and baggage checks; we are finally given the clear and our wheels leave terra firma bound for Taipei.
Roughly an hour after take off we learned why the food selections were so few in the international gate. Airplane food! But unlike every preconceived notion we had, this was good and filling. Complimentary wine put our coach class dinning over the top, we were living the high life at 35,000 feet.
Tucking into our provided blankets and pillows we dozed through broken sleep as we smoothly cruised over the Northern US, Alaska, then over Russia before turning south to cross Japan. 8,000 miles, a meal, several snacks,a movie or three, and the best flight attendants ever!
We arrived in Taipei, Taiwan at 5:30 am. Rested but exhausted we wandered in a massive circle around most of the airport before finding our gate. 15 hours of flying and a day later (due to the international date line) we boarded our second flight headed to Bangkok.
Despite a short flight we were nearly immediately offered breakfast (with wine) along with visa paperwork to fill out. Taking advantage of the daylight and the lack of movies the Nooks were put to use learning about atrocities of the Cambodia Genocide. A must read for everyone: First They Killed My Father.
Confused and lost after deplaning, we made our way to immigration and the exit. We entered the visas upon arrival gate and were quickly turned around and sent to Immigration Control. Being from the USA we don’t need visas and proceeded to the exit/immigration line. A quick scan of the passport and a glance to verify we were us and we were through immigration officially in Thailand!
Not eager to deal with haggling with taxi drivers about the cost of a ride + bike we committed to assembling them in a corner of Suvarnabhumi International Airport. Confused by the bike shaped object, inside of a bicycle box, listed as bicycles on the claim ticket TSA proceeded to inspect. Ta-da! They were bicycles!!
Exhausted from sleeping in airlines seats, confused by the time change + flight time, and hit hard by the heat of Thailand we rode a few kilometers to a prebooked guesthouse and fell asleep for the night, at approximately 3pm.