Day 19: LONGEST FLIGHT EVER
We got to sleep in a little bit and take some extra time to prepare for today’s flight. We weren’t taken to the airport until around 11am.
When we got to the airport some 15 minutes later, we said our farewells to both Tir and Ruad in the familiar bowing with hands in prayer position gesture saying “Ah kohn.” That gesture is the same as what’s used in Thailand and I reckon it must be a trait of the Buddhist-influenced societies prevalent in these parts of southeast Asia.
The flight via Bangkok Air to the Suvarnabhumi Airport was smooth and without incident. We had a nearly 5 hour layover at this airport so I took that time to blog and compose these travel story entries.
We had one last round of Thai food at one of their restaurants on the 4th floor, but this one was the worst of the lot. We had pad thai and som tam as well as a pair of Thai iced tea. It was overpriced, too.
When it was almost 5pm, we waited by our gate for our departure to Hong Kong by Cathay Air just a half-hour later. I chose to use this time to brush my teeth though we didn’t have any drinking water with us.
I started to get the chills as we were about the board the plane. While we were on this 2.5-hour flight, the chills worsened quickly and suddenly everything felt cold. The chills intensified especially towards the end of the flight.
We had a short 1-hour layover in Hong Kong. So while we worried about being tied up in security and in long queues, I was also glad I didn’t have to wait long before our flight.
By this point I was really getting the chills. While we were busy being herded through security and then quickly walking to our transfer gate, my teeth were chattering even though we were moving fast and I was fully clothed in fleece jacket, long pants, a hiking shirt, and wool socks.
I was looking forward to the plane ride partially to at least try to get some sleep and fight off this apparent fever. But at the same time, I wasn’t looking forward to the flight because it was going to be over 13 hours and if I don’t manage to sleep most of the time, it was gonna be one hell of a long flight.
“Honey. That’s now the third time you’ve got food poisoning. When will you learn?” said Julie.
We boarded our 11:45pm flight on time, but as I was trying to get settled and try to will myself to sleep with chills, nausea, etc. we were apparently stuck in the plane for another hour or so due to a malfunctioning antenna or whatever the captain said that hindered communications with air traffic control. So we had to wait for the part to show up and get installed.
Eventually, the flight did take off (I lost track of time at that point).
The first 5 or so hours of the flight was spent sleeping. When I got to the point of being unable to sleep for prolonged periods, there was still about 8 hours to go. That was when I felt like I was stuck between a rock and a hard place.
The seats were cramped, my back was sore, my buttocks was sore, and I was very sweaty.
In between bouts of sleeping for a few minutes, I’d have to bug Julie so I could get up and go to the bathroom to diarrhea and alleviate some stomach pain.
My consistently bothersome shoulderblade and lack of leg room made it difficult to endure this flight.
When the Cathay Pacific attendants served food, I had lost my appetite and I couldn’t take a bite out of anything. My head was still heavy. Where’s your head at, now? I wondered.
Even though this particular Cathay Pacific jet had electrical plugs, which I was hoping to use for blogging away the extended time in the air, I was certainly in no shape to do so. I was simply too sick, too nauseated, too uncomfortable.
I finally had to strength to at least watch one of their movies towards the end of the flight, which happened to be “Eagle Eye.” It was basically another one of those supercomputers with self-intelligence things, but the commercials did a real good job of piquing interest in the movie.
Eventually at around 8:45pm PST, we mercifully arrived at LAX. But with my chills persisting, the wait to deplane seemed like it took forever.
Then we had to endure the long walk all the way to the Immigrations kiosks. There were already long lines here so even the wait here seemed like it took forever.
Then, we had to wait for our bags. I swear this was the longest time I ever had to wait for a bag (outside of the time my bag with camping gear was misrouted to San Jose and delayed our trip for a night in Salt Lake City). Other passengers echoed the same sentiment.
That part lasted at least an hour and was quite painful.
Then, there was another queue for Customs. After that was over, we could then wait for our Airport Shuttle, and eventually get back to our car. Then I could reconnect the car battery and drive home despite my weakened state.
When all was said and done, we ended at home at around 11:30pm.
Greeting us at home were a pile of mail, a bunch of dead crickets, and realizing that we had no internet, television, nor phone service. Why does this always happen to us when we come back from trips?
I was still able to shower and brush my teeth though. But the sleep came uneasily as I not only had to contend with food poisoning but jetlag as well!
Then, Julie started to complain she was getting the chills. Uh oh. Looks like she’s got it too…