September 10 - 12, 2008:
Travel To Nepal
Travelling is sooo much fun....
I left Houston on September 10, 2008 late afternoon on a Continental flight to Los Angeles. Upon arrival at
the gate at LAX, the pilot asked us to remain seated as there was a sick passenger in the back of the
plane. Instead of paramedics, a couple of cops boarded the plane, went to the back and arrested a mean
looking dude. Oh well...the paramedics thing was reserved then for the next flight as I was going to find
out later.....
As I had not checked my luggage all the way through, I collected my bags and walked over to the
International Terminal. Quite a dirthole of a terminal!! I had booked myself on an Eva Airlines flight to
Bangkok with a stopover in Taipeh. Once their counter opened, I checked-in, went through immigration
and waited in the departure lounge. Lots of construction going on in that part of the airport.
Finally boarded the plane. I flew in the so-called Elite Class of Eva Airlines, which is a hybrid between
Business Class and Economy Class at (almost) Economy Class pricing. The seats were comfortable and
there was enough leg space even for a tall guy like me. I can highly recommend that airline and that class!
About 9 hours or so into the flight, the pilot came on and asked whether there were any doctors on board.
Well, there were 2 and apparantly a Taiwanese passenger had suffered a heart attack. This prompted the
pilot to land in Tokyo, so after 10 hours and 35 minutes, we landed at Tokyo's Narita airport.
We stood on the tarmac for couple of hours. Paramedics and doctors came on board and took the
passenger off the plane. According to other passengers, the guy apparantly did not survive the heart
attack and died before we landed. It was about 4 am Tokyo time. and it took a long time for us to get
refueled.
We finally continued our flight to Taipeh, another 2 hours and 40 minutes. By the time we got to Taipeh,
my connecting flight to Bangkok was gone. However, I have to say that Eva Airlines was quite organized
and I was already booked on another Eva Airlines flight to Hong Kong leaving shortly thereafter and from
thereon on a Cathay Pacific flight to Bangkok.
The flight to Hong Kong took about one hour and right before landing I was able to get a good view of
Hong Kong's famous skyline. I had a couple of hours layover in Hong Kong and walked around in the
terminal. I did not think I would see that aiport that soon again after Marc and I left from here to Newark 13
months ago after our Tibet trip.
The flight to Bangkok took 2 hours and 15 minutes. I was afraid that with all that switching around that my
bags would not arrive in Bangkok, but they were some of the first ones to arrive on the baggage carousel,
so I was quite relieved. I took the shuttle bus to the airport hotel where I had a reservation, the
Suvarnabhumi Novotel Airport Hotel.
The worst news (at least for me) of the day were still to come. Once in my room, I switched on the TV and
heard that Hurricane Ike had turned from its projected path and was going to slam straight into the
Houston area the next day. Great! I am sure that my wife was happy that I was safe and sound halfway
around the world while she and Patrick were going to deal with a hurricane bearing down on them....
So I called her but she and Patrick were going to sit out the hurricane at a friends house where the hubby
also "escaped". When I asked her whether I should take the next flight back home she said that I should
continue on to Nepal. I would not be of any help anyway!! How right she is sometimes!
Had a pizza at the bar downstairs and a couple of beers before I went to bed after a long and eventful trip.