God has done great things for us! He moved us half way around the world!
We needed that extra week. All the paperwork was acquired, corrected, copied and gathered for travel. Bags were packed bit by bit until the last minute push when it was “it fits or it stays behind.” Sunday was probably the longest day I’ve ever lived. We emptied and cleaned the travel trailer for the new owners, really sweet people, who have also done multiple mission trips to Indonesia and elsewhere. Cleaned the yard, wrapped up and winterized the water system, emptied the garage of tools, tidied the yard and finished packing.
Margaret, a friend of 30+ years, took us to the airport in Seattle on Monday. A huge blessing to not have to drive after an exhausting day. Our original tickets were booked with baggage fees totaling $400. When we rescheduled we were booked through an affiliated airline reducing the fees to $200. We were delighted until we got to the airport and were told "the airline that books the tickets sets the rates,” making the fees again $400. After some discussion they offered to waive the extra $200 fees. God is good.
Our first flight to Korea was not full, maybe 2/3 full. The seats in front of and behind us were empty and many others too. We slept lots. The transfer in Korea to our last flight went smoothly. Same size plane and 2-3 dozen passengers got on! From our seats I could see 3 passengers, walking to the bathroom I counted 10. We were able to each take a row of 4 center aisle seats and stretch out horizontal for a couple more hours of sleep.
We landed at BKK and entered the terminal armed with our extensive array of documents. We were directed through five or six check points for temperature checks, document examination and approvals (adding more papers to our fistful,) and finally immigration and the official stamp of approval. We claimed our luggage with the help of one of the employees and headed to the exit. One more stop where we identified our “Alternative State Quarantine” (ASQ) hotel and were directed to a woman who led us outside to three lanes of vans and buses. She called our ride forward and we were off to our hotel. (And we didn’t have to dress in plastic scrubs like the pictures we’ve seen…whew!)
It was a delightful trip because we covered familiar territory, (plus the curfew meant the streets were empty at midnight.) We drove near our previous address, down a street we’ve walked many times, past a favorite department store, a beautiful park, the hospital where my Parkinsons group met, and the Central World Mall (which after the early Covid lockdowns was re-opened to limited customers, based on square meters per person, and only allowed 94,500 people to shop at one time!)
Our hotel looked through more papers and showed us to our room. It is clean and comfortable, but not new. We have a king bed, TV, fridge, blow dryer, shower with hot water, WiFi, and a little table with two chairs, plus a desk and chair. It comes with bottles of water, two cups, two glasses and a metal spoon and fork each. They provide 3 meals/day - Thai, vegetarian and another.
We crawled into bed about 1:30 AM Thai time = 11:30 AM Pacific time. I got up with the sun and sat on the deck in the sunshine to help reset my body clock. We have a corner room facing north, but the balcony also gets the east sunrise. And, in His mercy God put us in a place with green trees outside. Pictures below were during and after a rain storm. Pray for Thailand. It is on the brink of major flooding; they are opening some dams to release water so they don’t burst, allowing them to flood cities downstream. Jim assures me we’re safe; we’re on the 7th floor! :-P
We took our first "field trip" Wednesday at 11:30. We were escorted to the roof top to get our first Covid test by the nurse. A quick little twist up the nose to about…the eyebrow, I think... and it was over. Until Thursday afternoon when Jim’s results came back ‘negative’ and Irene’s came back with ambiguous results, so the specimen was forwarded for a repeat test to the Thai NIH. A positive test would result in an ambulance ride to a nearby hospital for covid isolation until recovery! I thought a little about what that might be like and what I would want to take with me, but God gave me an amazing sense of peace. So thankful for that. Four hours later the nurse called and said the test was negative. Thankful for that too! Two more tests to go during our quarantine.
We’ve made contact with some of our Bangkok friends. They are so thankful for our return… they sent us a love gift. (see pics) Our meals so far have been shy of fresh fruit and veggies. Hannah and Jonathan called our first morning and are sending us a package of fresh foods, bread, and even some shoes… hope it arrives tomorrow. ($5.00 shipping for a 25# package!!)
So thankful to finally be in Thailand. Excited to see how God leads us in the days ahead. Appreciate your prayers and support.
Jim and Irene