Sunday, 23 December 2012

EuroUS Trip 2012-13: There

As I start this entry I am about 45 minutes from landing in Bangkok and feeling pretty tired. Local time at home is 1am and the flight has been less restful than might have been ideal. This plane is packed, noisy and the entertainment system is on the fritz. It took them two attempts to get it going and my screen still refuses to stick with English. Fortunately I am a little overprepared to entertain myself. I am carrying a phone stocked with audiobooks and podcasts, my tablet, an external hard drive with various media on it and my kindle. I even supplemented this with an issue of APC for the take off and landing.

I have spent a lot of time planning this trip with my girlfriend, organising hotels and flights, packing, sorting out trains, stressing over whether or not things would arrive in time and yet travel plans always feel a little unreal to me until I am at the airport and checked in. Then it starts being concrete. I still worry a little about having made a stupid mistake somewhere in the planning or execution but it feels good to be on the way.

For the first roughly 6 hours I read through Captain Vorpatril's Alliance by Lois McMaster-Bujold which was a fantastic read, makes me want to reread the rest of the series to refresh my memory at all of the call backs to previous Vorkosigan saga books, which do get a little heavy at times. The story overall is equal parts comedy and romance whilst still keeping the political machinations that I find interesting in the series. I found Tej and Ivan's interactions pretty adorable at times, frustrating at others as so many of these stories revolve around characters not communicating. At least here there reasons for not doing so seem pretty clear.

After that my planning kind of fell apart a bit with fatigue, started charging my phone from my tablet as I had drained it somewhat at the airport, fitting in the most internet I could before the flight would cut me off and I need it at the end of this days travel, it has the address of the hotel and the map of Stockholm cached on it. I somehow expected a USB port on the plane but thus far have been sadly disappointed. Really glad that my tablet has a ridiculous pair of batteries it can share power from.

Bangkok Airport was okay, you can get an hour's free wifi if you give them your ame, country and passport number, but this wifi is terrible. I spent most of the time tiredly waiting for the gate to open then waiting for boarding to commence. My hopes for a plane with a better entertainment system were dashed as the next plane the old school set up with one screen for everyone in a given section of economy. This meant I couldn't even get flight information. At least the plane is less full.

Spent most of the flight sleeping, took my fleece out of my bag and used it as an improvised travel pillow. Unfortunately I would wake up every to often to find my hands partially asleep, I just couldn't fine a way to position my arms to prevent this from happening.

Arlanda Airport in Stockhom was pretty straightforward, used the wifi whilst waiting for my bag to arrive then caught an express train to Stockholm C and walked the 1.1km in the dark to my hotel where I was surprised to find I was able to check in rather than just hand over my bag and go for a walk.

So now I am there, time for a shower and a nap until my girlfriend arrives and then the holiday really begins.