So first a little surprise/disclaimer....
I've been home for 3 days!
Sorry to all those I've been misleading, but I came home a week early in an attempt to surprise some of you (hopefully I've been successful). As an added bonus I'm now able to put together a coherent sentence. As you'll see below, that is an achievement.
When we last heard from me, I had returned to Bangkok and picked up some more clothes during a rainstorm. Later that night I was able to catch up with a friend of Steph's (actually the teacher she replaced; I had hung out with her a fair amount in Udon). It was fun to talk to a fellow backpacker; with traveling with mom and then a week on my own, it had been a while. We ended up planning her travels to India until nearly 12.
Which didn't seem late except I never really got sound asleep and woke up at 6am, and due to motorcycles and a hard bed, didn't fall back asleep. Which was probably good since Steph called at 7am asking which room we were in! I knew she was getting in at 7am, but I thought that was the bus station not my room!
After waking up a bit, the 4 of us (another one of the teachers I'd met before had come down too) went off to a palace (one of several in Bangkok) which included a huge wooden mansion that had been constructed as a 5-yr temporary house for the royal family. This thing was HUGE! And kind of unique because it was built in a Victorian style, but with Thai influences. And the whole building was constructed with out a nail; I was impressed.
Next up was heading to a massive weekend market. We're talking 35 acres of absolutely anything you could want. The prices were pretty decent and while there was a bunch of poor quality things, a lot was also pretty good. I managed to finish off my clothes shopping (minus shoes, but my feet are definitely not Asian-sized!). It was fun just walking around and it was really good to reunite the Duo!
After a little nap time we headed out. We had a lot to celebrate, Steph's b-day was the next day and it was my last night in SE Asia. The highlights (that I'm going to share/can remember) were going up to the top of the highest building in Thailand (thank you Steph's dad for the tickets!), and then heading back to Khao Son Rd for some drinks and dancing.
Apparently it was a little too much drinking and a little too much dancing because the next thing I knew I had missed my bus to the airport! Yeah, that's not good! But luckily, with a huge amount of help from Jemma and Steph, I got another bus and managed (I don't know how) to get to my flight to Singapore where I promptly passed out. My time in Singapore was mostly just riding the transit to pick up my bag (I swear that thing got heavier) and then back to the airport where I spent a night trying to sleep on a cold concrete floor (all told maybe 1.5hrs) before checking in around 4:30am. I was greeted with the news that I had to pay $250 because my ticket was moved, though my travel agent assures me he already talked to United and I wasn't supposed to. It made no difference to me though since I was going home!
My flights were: ~7hrs to Tokyo, enough time to get to the next gate and then 9hrs to San Fran (managed maybe an hour of sleep there), followed by a mad dash through the airport that got me to the gate for my PDX flight, only to find the gate was closed, but because they were waiting to fix a seat I made it on and got home to Portland about 5 hours after I had taken off from Singapore (crossing the dateline does wonders!).
So all told, I traveled around 10,000miles, in 3 days, on less than 10hrs of sleep! Now you see why I haven't been calling all of you to talk just yet!
I suppose I should do some big wrap up about my time abroad, but that will need to wait for another time.