There is nothing like spending 17 hours in the sky to remind you of the relativity of time. I was sucked up into the night just like last time and spent my first flight to Taipei alternately sleeping, eating, reading, and watching movies. My fingernails grew and a scab I had healed over but otherwise it was impossible to tell that almost 13 hours had passed since I boarded the plane. When I emerged, I was in Asia and Friday was gone forever. (I guess I’ll get it back on my return flight.)
For some reason, it absolutely blew my mind that I was in Taiwan. Even though I was only in the airport, the atmosphere was palpably different from anything I had ever experienced. It wasn’t my first taste of feeling like a foreigner, however – that feeling first formed while I waited at the gate in LAX before even setting foot on a plane. Everyone – passengers, flight attendants, airport janitors – was Asian and no one was speaking English. The reality that I will be part of the minority began setting in.
Four hours (was it 4? I don’t even know. Even with a watch, time eludes all who enter The Vortex), one sunrise, and one weird chicken-and-pasta-breakfast later, I was in Bangkok. I made it.
There were some complications getting through Immigration, but what’s important is that I did indeed make it through and met up with Rudy. Rudy is Thai but went to university in the States, where he met our mutual friends, Max and Lauren. I’d never even met Rudy before – our friendship was limited to a few message exchanges on Facebook – but he kindly (there isn’t actually a word for how kind he is) took me in and drove me around on some failed errand-runs.
And then all that time that I had lost came stampeding into my head, bringing with it a dull headache and overwhelming lethargy. I instantly fell asleep on top of the covers and stayed that way for about 14 hours.
It’s early morning now and I’m waiting for Rudy to wake up so we can hang out before I have to check in to the hotel I will be calling “home” for the next three weeks during the TEFL certification course. I’m super pumped for breakfast, not just because I haven’t eaten in over 14 hours but also because the last meal Rudy fed me was magical: rice with spicy chopped pork, a fried egg, and little slices of cucumber. I’ll get the name of it from him later.
I don’t know how to say goodbye in Thai so I’ll end this post with sa-wat-dee-ka (hello) and khap-kun-ka (thank you).