December 6, 2021
I wanted to post this before we fly to DC latter today, Friday. I had started writing last Monday, in Gate 4 at the domestic terminal of Chiang Mai’s airport where we were waiting for our flight back to Bangkok, but couldn’t finish and I had a busy week.
We flew to Chiang Mai seven days ago, thus also a Friday. It is a city in the mountains in the North West of Thailand, the second largest and one of the cultural centers. But other than a couple of Buddhist temples we didn’t see much. The best part of the visit was a hike we did on Saturday up to an old monastery that overlooks the city. Otherwise, we spent most of the time at the resort/hotel — the Four Seasons. A bit over the top, not my thing, particularly when the restaurant was not serving alcohol due to COVID19 regulations. Thankfully, our bungalow had a nice terrace where we had dinner every night — ordered “room service” including gin and wine, even if over priced. Overall, we had a pleasant stay with plenty of time to read and relax; not much work got done. What I will avoid next time is the spa where Natalia took me before the hike for a massage and a facial; also not my thing. And I will not stay at the FS but find a place closer to the hiking areas.
While in Chiang Mai I started and finished Turbulence by the young Hungarian writer David Szalay. The book has an original structure and a simple plot forming a loop. The title of each chapter is a pair of three-letter codes identifying airports (like the ones in the title of this post). In each chapter you meet a character that will take the next fly in the next chapter and meet the next character that will take the next flight and so on. Through these interactions emerges the plot. Won’t say more, just that I highly recommend the book.
Then I started reading “L’Anomalie” by French writer Hervé le Tellier. This one I bought, Kindle version, because it got the Prix Goncourt 2020. A few days later Natalia told me that the English translation had great reviews in the New York Times, which granted doesn’t mean much. But although I haven’t finished reading yet, I think it is a great book. Get it.
Our flight is a 8:30pm. We have two connections, one in Phuket and one in Abu Dabhi. In DC time, we would be departing at 8:30am on the 10th, and will land at 4:pm on the 11th — a 36 hours journey, all in economy-class. You can do it faster going the other way, direct flight to Tokyo and then to DC, but it was not an option this time. I just hope they are generous with the drinks.
I haven’t packed yet and have work to do before I leave, so I am going to stop now and pour myself another cup of coffee. I also want to workout before spending all those hours on planes…