This is the fifth of a series of photographic blogs highlighting my last days in the U.S.A. and my first full year as an expat in southern Thailand.
Ten years ago – on 5th April 2006 – I left U.S. soil for the last time to date. However, I have very little recollection of the journey. Seeing how I had been in Kansas City for a week prior to leaving, I assume I began my flights that day from there. I really don’t remember, to tell the truth! I have vague memories of having overweight charges levied against me at Los Angeles International Airport – I was carrying my computer backpack as well as a very large (person-sized) red duffle bag with roller wheels that broke before I’d left the States. The first set of airport photos seem to be in the terminal and from my plane (China Airlines) in Taipei, Taiwan (the only clue to that location being the “R.O.C.” mentioned on the drug warning signage).
The time-stamp on the photos was read from the metadata, and is some 18 hours behind. Thus, the first photo in Taiwan (stamped 16:32 5 April, was actually 07:32 6 April local time).
The leg from Taiwan to Thailand went via Hong Kong. I do remember that we had to deplane on one level, make our way down a series of long hallways, go up a level and we eventually arrived at the gate to board the SAME airplane we’d arrived from Taipei on! The weather in Hong Kong was much better than my previous 18-hour layover during which the city was being battled by a monster typhoon. I arrived at Don Muang International Airport in Bangkok mid-afternoon on 6 April 2006, landing alongside a golf course between the runways. That airport was downgraded to a domestic airport a few years later when Suvanabhumi International opened on the eastern fringes of Bangkok but I believe it is once again handling a few international flights.
I probably flew on to Phuket later that same day and by the evening of the 7th, I was enjoying my first sunset on Patong Beach as an expat rather than as merely a tourist…