Saturday, December 27, 2014

The math is the hard part

Time is a nutty thing. My plane (number 1, of 3) took off from Chicago at 10h45 local time on Christmas day. That's 14h45, as a point of reference for my Brazilian friends, and 03h45 on December 26th in Tokyo--destination 1. 

Estimated flight time: 13 hours and 15 minutes. 

This trip has complicated logistics, and the least of them is time zones. 

Chicago is GMT -6. Tokyo is GMT +9, or Chicago +15. Bangkok is GMT +7, or, Chicago +13. Myanmar is GMT +6.5, or Chicago +12.5.  Confused? Yes... 

So I fly 13+ hours, plus forward the clock 15 hours, then add a 7-hour flight to Bangkok, but I get a 2 hour credit. Of course there are layovers: 3 hours in Tokyo and somewhere between 9 and 10 hours in Bangkok. Maybe I should add a credit for the 4 hours I slept? Then add 1.5 hours on the flight to Mandalay, but subtract 30 minutes for another time zone credit. 

At the end of it all--I felt way better, upon arrival, than I imagined I could. Phew! 

I was impressed with All Nippon Air. The economy seats were roomier than most. I was disappointed that they didn't recline--but it wasn't so bad, given that I could wiggle my legs a little. Excellent service. Even the meals were tasty. And they gave us "real" utensils instead of plastic. Nice touch. 

Did I mention that wine was free? 

One of the films I watch on the flight was The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and DisappearedIt's a Swedish film, with a rather international flavor. I loved it... except that I started to grow verrrry sleepy toward the end and had to give up on the movie to catch a catnap. I recommend it though, and I'll definitely find it when I return to finish it. Funny.

I cannot speak well of Bangkok's immigration process--or emigration, from that matter. (Uff. What a mess.) Nevertheless, all good in the air, all good on the ground.  And I made it through the roughest part of the travel. 

I spent a fortune on a room at the Novotel Suvarnabhumi Airport Hotel. It was worth it for the hot and powerful shower and the 4-hour sleep. It was a neat hotel--I had a giant window overlooking the courtyard garden, pool, and bar. More time to enjoy it would have been nice, but I was happy enough--the envy of all the world's starfish, sprawled out across a king-size bed. 

And thankfully, in spite of all the adding and slight subtracting of hours, I am feeling much, much better than I anticipated.

Now, at 21h15 (or 08h45, or 12h45 as the case may be), it's time to wash the stink of Deet off and go to sleep. Lots to see tomorrow.