Day 1. Perth to Bangkok
I fly from Perth to Bangkok on my way to Myanmar and take a stop over at the new Suvarnabhumi Airport.
I arrived at Perth airport only to find that I've forgotten all my bike tools. A great start to the trip, let's hope that the other guys weren't as absent minded. When I checked in, I tried to get into the Singapore business lounge but was turned away because I didn't have a gold card. I could have sworn my elite silver gets you in. Anyhow they were closing within the next 10 minutes so it would have been a useless exercise.
I think I'm all there as far as other items go - so now to relax and wait for the gates to open.... 10 minute delay, another 10 minute delay, a further 10 minute delay - I wish I was in that lounge now.
After a further 10 minutes we were given the green light.
Looking back at the drive over to the airport one thing always stands out - the long drive down the final stretch of road towards the airport complex. For me it is a buffer zone, between here and away, the last remaining piece of Australia. How is it I never enjoy seeing it - particularly during summer when most of what was green has been burnt by the sun to a yellow and brown?
Onto charitable conversation
On the plane over met this girl who has her own charity group in Calcutta , India. We started talking about life and what she does, exchanged cards and she invited me over to her house. I was tempted to change my plans and take her up on the offer to show me around Calcutta. Unfortunately I'm pressed for time and won't get a chance to do it - had I met her after the cycling trip I wouldn't have hesitated. She's the founder of the Faith Hope Charity Fund in Australia.
I mentioned to her that I'm in the process of setting up my own charity organization which focuses on cycling and allowing people to stay and meet the people their contributions help. Sharon thought it was a good idea and worth the effort.
She's been in Australia since she was 9, her family moved here from India in the early 80's. I enjoyed discussing the philosophy behind her charity work and why she has gone down this path in life, despite her family being against it. If it were up to her family she should have married like a good Indian girl and had babies.
Only 30 minutes to go before we land in Bangkok - luckily we'll be landing at the newly opened Suvarnabhumi airport (translates to Golden Land). I've got almost 8 hours to burn and I've decided to head out on the town... I don't feel tired anymore as I've slept for a good 4 hours. Should be good to walk around the night market on a Sunday - last time I was here was about 3 years ago.
Concrete, steel and glass
This new airport is huge, reminds me of a book I read once, Brave New World by Aldus Huxley or even the movie Gattica. An exciting modern structure, forging new blends of concrete, steel and glass but quite barren to the human touch still it's hard to get intimate with glass and steel.
Sharon invited me to have a quick drink at the new Novotel, so we jumped on the hotel shuttle. The hotel is majestic - tall ceilings, a foyer that looks like an oasis and seems to go on forever everything is so squeaky clean.
She checked in and we met up at the bar. Both of us were quite hungry so we decided dinner was in order. There was a 24hr restaurant called the "Square". Everything was superb, including my "One night in Bangkok" a cocktail I've never tried before. We talked and exchanged ideas about how to setup the charity. After the next round of drinks she invited me up to her room but did lay down the rules of engagement, no funny business.
I had a shower - and I did need it, changed into my spare t-shirt, just in time to see the next round of drinks arrive. We chatted some more and before I knew, it was time for me to get back to the airport.