as a baby world traveler, i'm certainly not used to this many hours on a plane

Phuket Travel Blog

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our new bff gerwyn
welcome to the travel blog the urging of rich, i've created this here travbuddy blog so i can keep you all up to date on the adventures during my week in phuket. did i say keep you up to date? it's possible i also meant make you insanely jealous. either way...i can't believe this is the first time i've been out of the country since, well, ok, since going to canada in 2004...but really, i kind of count since i went on my 2 week crazy whirlwind trip through europe in high school. so really, this is my first go at world traveling as an adult...i think i could get used to this.

general trip details: LAX to Phuket, through hong kong on cathay pacific. leaving just after midnight on saturday, march 7, arriving phuket sunday march 8th around 11:30am.
monica ad i early on in the flight - you can tell since we still look like humans
one full week at the marriott phuket beach club in a 2 bedroom condo. leave phuket sunday march 15th to hong kong. 23 hour layover in hong kong where the goal is to not sleep. home march 16th. that's the rundown. onto the trip (backdating since it is now tuesday and i'm just now finally catching up...)

monica and i headed out of san diego to LA about 3pm and make insanely good time up to the la area. seriously, under 2 hours. this gives us time to walk around a very windy, chilly venice beach and also meet up with some of monica's friends who live right in the area. a walk by the water, tasty sushi at the canal club, and then a few hours of hanging out with some really cool people is an excellent way to start the vacation off on the right foot.

checking in at LAX of course proved to be an adventure in and of itself.
reading the menu
while in line to check in, along with a few thousand other people who have opted to bring every single item that they own, we are told that both flights to hong kong leaving that evening are overweight and will need to stop to re-fuel. seriously, this could have been because people decided to bring along what could only have been their washer and dryers. an astounding amount of baggage/boxes/giant containers to check. this news that an additional 2+ hours will be added to the trip does not make either of us happy. the cathay pacific folks are offering $100 to switch to the earlier flight (which leaves an hour from the time we were in line - yikes), but would get in later than our original arrival time in hong kong. this leads to a few moments of freaking out because our layover time in phuket is wayyy too short as is.
sneaky over the seat pictures
long story, a bit of anxiety, some poorly translated english, and about 30 minutes later, we opt to stay on the original flight - they've now convinced enough suckers, i mean people, to switch to the earlier flight, lightening our flight enough to go straight through. score - not only do we arrive before the earlier flight, the plane is now emptier. brilliant.

in line to board, we meet an excellent british bloke, gerwyn, who becomes our trip buddy. i wish we could have taken gerwyn with us all the way to phuket. alas, he was headed to kuala lampur for work. we are, however, now the very best of friends on facebook. monica and i have a 3-seat row to ourselves and score the empty row ahead of us for ger - this works heavily to our advantage later in the flight when, after unsuccessful attempts to stretch out within the same row, we take turns sleeping in the empty row.
landing in hong kong...this is what happens after 16 hours on a plane
this allowed me to stay actually quite human. i believe i managed to get in about 5 hours of sleep total on the 16 hour flight...3 of those in a row. impressive!

yes, this was a very long plane ride...16 hours. by far the longest flight i've ever been on...the strange thing about it was that i somehow managed to trick my brain into never expecting to land or something because it didn't actually feel endless. granted, i watched 3 movies (vicky christina barcelona, slumbdog millionaire, and the secret life of bees), ate a few meals (very tasty meals too - five spice chicken with veggies and omg good cheesecake, a "midnight" snack of cup o noodles, and then a frittata for breakfast), did some laps around the plane, slept, wrote in my journal (a tiny bit), read (an even tinier bit), and talked with monica, and my new BFF, ger. seriously, in some ways it was strange to think that the vacation was going to get even better..

upon arrival in hong kong, we were whisked by a very very fast walking cathay pacific employee to another terminal to catch our flight to phuket...we made it to the flight on time...we would learn later that our bags, unfortunately, did not. (however, do not be dismayed...they arrived eventually). flight to phuket was fairly uneventful...and marked the first time on the trip i listened to my ipod. yes, i seriously went 16 hours on a plane without listening to music. i credit this to the fact that cathay pacific had about 3 million movies to choose from on their so super snazzy little on demand tvs for each seat. meal on this trip - dim sum. oh yeah baby! i'm sure not as excellent as the dim sum we'll have in hong kong, but still tasty. i'm impressed with airline food on this trip. and we know that food is important to me. so life is good. the 3.5 hour trip from hong kong to phuket seems to last forever. it's that final countdown aspect. between listening to music, dozing off and reading, we finally arrive in phuket.

flying into phuket is amazing. like being in a movie. the water is so incredibly clear and the runway feels like it was just plopped down in the middle of the jungle. mmm, yeah, i guess it kind of was. well a jungle right on the edge of a beach. the trip so far, with the exception of the slight anxiety/uncertainty/craziness of checking in at LAX has gone incredibly well. monica and i (as well as another woman who made the hong kong-phuket connection) realize that our bags weren't quite so lucky and i start kicking myself for not bringing a complete change of clothes in my carryon. (i know!!! i should have! i actually intended to go totally carryon, but cathay pacific only allows one carryon plus a tiny personal item...i didn't think i was going to cut it with my backpack and piece of luggage...though maybe they wouldn't have cared since they allowed people to pack up their houses and bring all earthly possessions along). in any event, i defied every piece of advice i received, and only had some cotton shorts and a change of undies with me. no bathing suit, no flip flops. i am now in a very hot, humid phuket in long cotton pants and sneakers. to be fair, this was the comfiest set of travel clothes ever. we fill out the lost luggage slips, get our rental car, go back into the airport because we have no idea how to drive to the hotel (slightly helpful), pull some money out of the atm and are on our way.

the adventure begins...

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our new bff gerwyn
our new bff gerwyn
monica ad i early on in the flight…
monica ad i early on in the fligh…
reading the menu
reading the menu
sneaky over the seat pictures
sneaky over the seat pictures
landing in hong kong...this is wha…
landing in hong kong...this is wh…
photo by: Aclay01