Zapp. In time and transportation. It all began in America. Many vehicles have crossed my path since Kentucky.
Part I: Planes
A : June 18th, 7.00 am. Bluegrass Airport, Lexington, Kentucky. On the way to Charlotte. I feel groggy and it feels weird to leave. Lexington is getting smaller and smaller and soon I find myself inside a cloud.
B: Charlotte, North Carolina to New York City. Now I just want to get it over with. I try to sleep and chew on emergency snacks. In a real case of emergency, we probably won’t have time to eat them anyway.
C: New York City to Shanghai. Just after boarding a crew member announces a delay. Mechanical problems. What would the problem be? The engine? A propeller? Or a combination of both? Take off. The first thing I hope for when in the air is a drink. The cabin crew looks exhausted.
D: Shanghai to Bangkok: Too late. Our connecting flight has already departed. I run to a transfer desk at Shanghai airport. A friendly worker tells us to keep on running, he has booked us on the next flight. Twenty minutes later we are on a plane and still out of breath. Bad weather conditions. Fog, rain, thunderstorms. Two hours later we depart.
Bangkok: June, 20, 3.00am. I hand over my passport at Thai Immigration feeling like a zombie. The Thai officer looks at my passport, raises one eyebrow, and waves his hand.Go. I have made it. My luggage is still in China.
The Thai air feels humid. Familiar, like I have never been gone. Only one taxi ride away from a bed. Paradise.
Part II: Trains
Bangkok to Ayutthaya: Three hours of watching Thai people eating, sleeping, talking and selling stuff on the train. An enjoyable little trip. Station to station, people coming in. Departing.
Part III: Buses
A: Bangkok to Chiang Mai: The tourist VIP bus. From time to time you get trapped. It seems the easiest way to get somewhere quick and cheap. An old night bus , just hired for tourist transport, is waiting. As you board you handout your bag, to a kind worker at the bag-picking area underneath, and happy hour begins. This company was so friendly to warn us with a sign. DO NOT PUT VALUABLES IN LUGGAGE. CAN BE ROBBED. Thank you!
B: Chiang Mai to Vientiane (Laos): The minivan. It all began great. Actually, too perfect. One minivan. Four passengers. Twelve hours of travelling. Plenty of space, snacks and music. And the rain. After three delightful hours the engine starts rattling, and eventually does not make any sound at all. Silence. Vans and trucks zoom past us. We stop at a dark road in the middle of nowhere. Heavy rain. The driver unsuccessfully tries to repair the engine. No luck. We are stuck. Right? He calls his company, another bus has to be sent out from Chiang Mai.
D: Vientiane to Vang Vieng: VIP bus. Early pickup today, way before time. We drive around town in a minivan that takes us to an big, ancient pickup bus. Army style. People stand in the middle with their bags. When the bus is packed we leave. No one seems to know where to. People start to get nervous. We stop. The drivers yells at us. Out! A real VIP style bus! Only three plastic chairs in the middle at this one. And no chickens, or boxes of onions to sit on. General relieve. I am almost disappointed.
Thankfully there will always be another bus, train, plane or road to take. Left or right. Transportation, the heart of all travelling. Landslides, broken engines, blocked railways, delays or unexpected comfort. How I love to be on my way.