Southeast Asia: The Preamble

“WOW!” I pointed to the sign and shouted at my sister as she drove through the exit to International Departures at Logan Airport in Boston. It was starting to feel real now. A couple of weeks ago I had been planning a trip to Iceland. WOW is the premier airline for cheap flights there. We were now passing it. Three months ago I had returned from the West Coast to work seasonally, recoup funds, and pay off some debt so that I could travel without worrying about my jeopardizing my future— as much. It’s a careful balancing act coupled with some self-sacrificing for some of us who don’t have remote IT jobs or trust funds to rely upon. I planned to take a small trip to Iceland to satisfy my travel bug. I soon realized it would be much too cold to hitchhike and camp around as I’m accustomed to. With no one to split bills with my plans were falling apart. A Facebook post would change the course of my life for the next couple of months. My friend Lief, whom I had met in my previous travels had made a FB post asking if anyone could watch his dog while he was in South East Asia.

Just months before I had been debating Thailand or Iceland and had actually considered asking a couple of people, that friend included, if they’d be interested in either destination. Ultimately I decided on Iceland which would be a shorter trip and more inclusive to my general social group. I found it ironic that I now found myself in the position of asking if I could hop onto his adventure in one of those very places . A phone call later and it was decided. I was going to South East Asia. I had two months to prepare and not a penny in a savings. I hadn’t paid off shit. Buuuuuut. Asia. Those other plans could wait. I could adult when I got back.  I spent the next two months working for Instacart doing 45-65 hours of grocery deliveries a week while a friend let me stay at his place in Somerville for well below market rent. My nicotine addiction was killing me both literally and financially but I managed to switch to vaping for the most part. I wasn’t too happy when I found out they were illegal in all the countries I was to visit. Not that anyone really cares here in SEA.

Oh and then there was the matter of a call I’d received two days before my departure. Though I knew that my trip would likely be half with friends and half solo my friend was no longer sure if he would venture out of Thailand and was considering cutting his trek down to 2 weeks. Eeep. I had booked a roundtrip flight due to financial constraints. It was the smartest thing to do at the time. I was a bit worried about being alone in Cambodia where it’s not uncommon to hear accounts of petty theft and dosing is but I’d tackle that later. I’m actually solo in Cambodia now on my first day as I write this. Leif and Max will be here in a couple of days but that’s to talk about later. I got here first! I totally just stuck my tongue out in the middle of this hostel. No one noticed.

Back to the Airport— We drove past the WOW exit and towards Japanese Airlines which had the best deal on Skyscanner. Skyscanner is the shit! I highly suggest downloading the App.  Make sure you follow all the steps. Selecting your seats is a big one and not always common sense for those of us that don’t fly frequently. Not all sites will give you clear cut directions. Exploretrip for example provides you with zero directions. I might have missed out on my flight entirely if I had not checked their reviews.

Anyways, two hours and two  security check-ins later (I just haaad to have that second cigarette) I was finally boarding my flight. 20 hours and 1 Tokyo layover I would arrive in Bangkok.

“Oh my god,” I thought as a goofy cartoon and a highly animated voice came over the PA system. “Ï’m in an anime”. The Japanese stewardesses lined up symmetrically in both rows and bowed. The voice echoing through the plane was calming. The women were cheerful and I couldn’t help but find them attractive. This was the emergency act and video and I felt more like I was in an Hentai. Bad Jen.

When I arrived in Japan roughly thirteen hours later I was delighted. Tokyo (Narita) was one of the best layovers I could have gotten. I was actually bummed it was only for an hour. By request I went on a search for vending machine panties but came up short. Guess those are only in downtown Tokyo. After a couple of embarrassing scenarios, one involving how to light a cigarette in the oh so convenient smoking room. Miss those in America. And the other with how to work the faucet (you hold your hands up higher than in the U.S.) I was sadly sushi-less and heading onto a plane heading for my final destination. Bangkok.

Overall I loved flying with Japanese Airlines. I passed on the $10 wifi on both flights but spent my time playing Solitaire and choosing from a spectacular movie selection. The food was decent and they served us sesame crackers instead of nuts. Dinner came with Ben and Jerry’s Americone Dream Ice Cream. Stephen Colbert is one of my only idols. Fuck yeah. Okay, I might have been a bit pumped from the free Bloody Mary’s I was consuming. I kept it down to two or three, window seat and all. I managed to get a touch of sleep and soon we were touching down on Bangkok.


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