Involving Another Journey

A night of quiet and repose in the profound silence of Dingley Dell, and an hour’s breathing of its fresh and fragrant air on the ensuing morning, completely recovered Mr. Pickwick from the effects of his late fatigue of body and anxiety of mind.

So begins chapter eight of The Pickwick Papers, and I find myself in a similar situation to the completely recovered Mr. Pickwick. I’m now back to Bangkok after my short sabbatical at the South of Thailand. I wrote and read and worked on many interesting projects; I also visited eight golf courses in four different provinces. And I enjoyed a respite from air travel.

I was looking for some visa photos this morning (one frequently needs photos for new passports and visas when traveling internationally every week) in my drawer of boarding passes accumulated over the past two years. The airlines have fully credited me with miles for these flights, so I took this opportunity to take a quick picture of the boarding passes covering my desk before I threw them away, as I so eloquently did about two years ago with another large pile of boarding passes.

I don’t really know what to say about this photo. I’d like to say that air travel on a frequent basis is not especially glamorous. But actually it is, if we take glamorous to mean full of magic and enchantment. Akita, Bangkok, Bandar Seri Bagawan, Catania, Caticlan, Chicago, Chittagong, Dalat, Danang, Dubai, Fukuoka, Haneda, Itami, Kunming, Narita, Hong Kong, Honolulu, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Luang Prabang, Palm Springs, Portland, Seattle, Montreal, Knoxville, Gatwick, Heathrow, Haikou, Hanoi, Glasgow, Manchester, Munich, Frankfurt, Rome, Florence, Bangalore, Kolkata, Mumbai, Dhaka, Delhi, Manila, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Jakarta, Chitose, Sendai, Sanya, Saigon, Naha, Guangzhou, Beijing, Colombo, Columbia, Dulles, Pittsburgh, Chennai — there are other cities, not necessary to list them all here. Even considering all the work involved, there is still magic and enchantment in that incomplete list.

As an aside, have you had oysters in Thailand? My friends at Japan know I take every opportunity to eat the fine oysters there. At Thailand one cannot always find fresh oysters, but when one does, they invariably come with plenty of garlic, lime, a special chili paste, another spicy sauce, and fried onions. I had fresh oysters at Phuket and Hua Hin this week, at both places served with these condiments, and I can report that these Thai oysters are delectable. As is Thai food in general.

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