My plane left O'Hare yesterday at 12:15 PM nonstop for Tokyo. To my dismay, the Bears game came on just minutes before we started boarding the plane. Now that I have checked the final score, it looks like I didn't miss much. I was lucky enough to get an aisle seat on one of those 2-seat columns, which would make it real easy to get up and walk around when I wanted to. On a 13 hour flight, it is not recommended to just sit there the entire time. You legs and rear end start to get pretty sore after awhile.
Somehow (again) fate would have me sitting next to another young male, approximately my age, who was a complete expert in the country I was destined to visit. For those of you who are new to this blog, last time I sat next to "Mike" on my flight to Tokyo, and he knew everything about Japan. He provided me with tons of tips & advice, and got me really amped to visit Japan. This time I sat next to Mario. He is a young German ex-pat living in Ohio...he works for a large German company as a mechanical engineer in quality control. When he said he was heading to Bangkok I could hardly believe it. But then when he said he had been there, and I quote, "so many times I lost count" I knew I hit the lottery once again.
We talked for quite a bit on this flight...we talked about work, Germany, traveling, and most of all - Thailand. He provided me with so much advice for my trip it would be difficult to summarize. Mario is embarking on a 5-week vacation which will start in Bangkok, and then bring him to Singapore, Malaysia, Bali, and then back to Thailand. He will be meeting a group of friends during this trip, and traveling solo for a good portion of it. Most of his friends were people he met while traveling. Unfortunately we won't be in Thailand at the same time, but I got his contact info and will be sure to email him if I am looking for more advice.
I'm staying at the Hotel Rainbow in Tokyo right now, and honestly this hotel is kind of a dump. They put me in a smoking room last night (which smelled awful) because the nonsmoking rooms were sold out. This will happen to you 90% of the time when you check into your Japanese hotel. For an extra $40 I upgraded my room to a massive suite today because it was the only non-smoking room available. They served breakfast this morning...it was seriously just toast with orange juice and coffee...ugh. At least now I have a pretty nice view and a big room that doesn't smell.
Ok folks, well I am outta here. I only get one day to explore so I gotta make the most of it. More to come soon enough.