December 30, 2018

What continent is this?

Dateline: Phuket Thailand, Incheon South Korea, Atlanta Georgia, and Birmingham Alabama-

I woke up this morning… or was it yesterday morning? The last forty eight hours is all a bit blurry. Anyway, I woke up some morning earlier this week to two things. One, not a great nights sleep. I had again had some troublesome dreams that had had me sitting bolt upright about 3 AM. It wasn’t the actors nightmare and none of the details stayed with me more than an hour or so before they faded. I find if I am truly going to remember dreams, I have to journal them. Two, I had developed a painful blister on the bottom of my right foot, probably from my walk into town in flip flops the day before. Between those two things, I decided it was a message from the universe to take it easy my last day in Thailand and not go too far afield. And so, I had another quiet day poolside just soaking up sunshine, dousing myself in the pool whenever I felt too hot and having a beer or two at the swim up bar.

I had a light supper, and then it was time to pack. I brought my large suitcase with me and everything fit into that and my newly purchased backpack without too much trouble. My car showed up to take me to Phuket airport as scheduled. It was only about 20 miles but the crazy traffic on the island made it a nearly two hour drive. My driver seemed to know all of the windy back roads to skip the worst of the traffic but at what point I could swear we were going in circles and passed the same 7-11 half a dozen times. It was probably six different 7-11s (they’re about as ubiquitous as Alexander Shunnarah billboards in this part of the world) but there were other vaguely familiar looking things creeping past outside the windows that made me somewhat suspicious.

Eventually, we got to the airport about 10 PM local time. (Flight time to Seoul was 1 AM). I had a snack, spent the last of my Thai Baht on a few things, and braved the sublime weirdness of the Phuket airport international terminal in the small hours of the morning. There seemed to be a lot of red eyes heading all over Asia. I napped on the flight, was fed a fairly tasteless omelet for breakfast and landed in South Korea where the temperature was something below freezing, quite a change from the balmy tropic night I had left six hours before.

Korea Airlines had only left me a fifty minute layover at Incheon airport so it was a bit of a mad dash through Passport control and to the gate for the second flight from Seoul to Atlanta. Both I and the luggage made it with minutes to spare and it was on to the wide body for the trans Pacific flight. Here, I had a stroke of luck. An empty seat beside me allowing me to stretch a bit and not be quite as cramped as usual. I put all three The Lord of the Rings movies on the entertainment system as I could zone in and out without being confused and they occupied most of the flight.

Eventually, we landed in Atlanta, around 8:30 this morning, about half an hour after we had left South Korea. Through immigration and customs and, for some weird scheduling reason, a six hour layover in ATL. My bag was able to make the 10 AM flight to BHM. I had to wait for the 3 PM flight (no seats on the 10 AM) which was, of course, delayed for an hour for cockpit communication glitches. I did, finally, reach Birmingham which is grey and wet and cold and taxied back to the house to find it still standing, the cats alive and well and everything more or less as it has been.

It’s now about 7:30 PM. I’ve had some dinner and feel like it’s midnight inside. I’m trying to keep myself up until at least 10 and then I’ll try to get a good night’s sleep and hopefully have my internal clock reset tomorrow. If it’s not completely, that’s OK as I don’t go back to work until Wednesday. The plan for the next two days is to unpack, organize life, and get everything on track for the next few months.

I’m trying to set up 2019 so that I have something different to look forward to every month, whether that be a performance gig or a trip. Here’s what there is so far.

-January: Performance – Carmina Burana with the Symphony
-February: Trip – RSVP Caribbean Cruise with friends
-March: Performance – Tosca with Opera Birmingham 
-April: Performance – Man of La Mancha with Virginia Samford Theater
-May: Trip – Seattle
-June: Performance – HMS Pinafore with Birmingham Music Club
-July: Trip – Rhine/Danube Cruise Amsterdam to Budapest

The last part of the year is still in flux. I’m open to suggestions. Probably a NYC trip sometime in the fall.

This is the last part of this travelogue. I’ll do an intermittent post or two over the next six weeks, then pick up the daily commentary cruise week which is February 10-17.

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