We made it. Barely. It was a long trip.
We started by driving the girls to Buffalo for their winter stay. Then Tim drove us to the Toronto airport. From there we flew back to Montreal – fancy that! – for the flight to Beijing. After the flight – 15 hrs only – we missed the connection. We were offered a flight to Chiang Mai via Bangkok or else via Kunming six hours later. We settled for a night in an airport hotel, then a direct flight the next day. Steve lost his passport. After he made a big fuss, I found it in his pocket. I lost my temper. I found it eventually but it was frayed.
Did I mention that all this happened in crutches/wheelchair?
Alcohol helped. So did the food, the most memorable being a lunch like no other at a Hot Pot Japanese restaurant in Beijing.
The hot pot, also known as Shabu Shabu is a setting in which you get your own personal pot of broth boiling over a fire – spicy or not – as desired, as well as a ton of meats, fish, shrimp, vegetables and the abomination that is Tofu. You cook it by yourself using only chopsticks. It’s lots of fun, especially when you lose the objects of your efforts in the boiling broth and can’t fish them out again. The shrimps especially, slippery little buggers. It’s delicious and reasonably healthy. Really low carb too if you forgo the noodles that you’re supposed to add – and eat – at the end.
As a very special treat, Steve also got a raw egg that he didn’t know what to do with. Maybe because of the crutches? He wanted to drop it in the broth but I recommended against it. He eventually asked the waitress who signaled that he should beat it with the chopsticks. He did. Now what? Eat it, she signaled. He did.
We eventually made it to Chiang Mai and to the condo, which was basically new to me.
I had bought it in September and had it painted after I left. Steve went there in November and fixed it with the musts of modern living: Internet, AC, TV, fridge, induction hot plate, and even a funky microwave/toaster combo with Thai instructions only. Oh, and floor lamps and a mop and a drawer organizer to organize our 2 spoons 2 forks and the chopsticks. Why? Because he’s an engineer, that’s why.
Be prepared to be cold here, our friends told us. Down to the 70s at night. They even had to wear socks! We had left Plattsburgh at minus 12.
Eventually, after about 5 days of travels we walked in by midnight to find a soft breeze coming through the open windows, fresh flowers and bananas on the table, passion fruit and eggs in the fridge thanks to our friends here, and of course rum, gin and Thai spicy sausage in the freezer thanks to Steve.
When daylight came I finally got to see the paint job I commissioned. It’s not for the faint of heart. Walking into my studio is like jumping in a pool of Mango sorbet, just warmer. Peachy.
The journey wasn’t short and it wasn’t easy, but boy, was it worth it! Let’s talk again after the jet lag settles, shall we?
Stay in touch.