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Mike's daily update: Live from Bangkok

The almostEverest trekkers have made it to Bangkok! After chasing the sun west for 32 hours, Mike's ready for some R and R. But first he brings you Thai tales of hotel curses and meeting other IT trekkers.


4/10/00
Kathmandu, Nepal
10:40 P.M. local time (12:55 P.M. EDT)

Greetings from the almostEverest trekkers.

I wanted to catch you up on our trip to Bangkok. Tomorrow we'll have a longer update for you.

We arrived in Bangkok after approximately 32 hours in the air. I know that yesterday we said how much we enjoyed the food and the free liquor. But I have to say, all the free brandy in the world can't help you get through those last hours of a long flight. We chased the sun all the way west, and, until refueling in Tokyo, never saw it dark. We were about as disoriented as birds in a confused migration.

It got so we couldn't remember what day it was or what time zone we were in. The in-flight movies played on for hours. Every time I woke up from one of those neck-breaker airline catnaps, I saw credits rolling from yet another movie. They served meals, snacks, and drinks in a constant flow, much like an in-flight I.V.

When midnight arrived for the third time on our flight, I simply gave up setting my watch to local time. We've traveled over 7,500 miles to bring you our adventure and IT news. I hope you appreciate it! ;-)

The marketing folks will be pleased to know that their predictions about IT pros and extreme adventure were true. Standing in line at the Amari hotel across the street from Bangkok's airport, we met the first trekker—another David, who's doing a route similar to ours. He's high up the chain in an IT consulting firm in Washington, DC, and is taking a long time off to recover from burnout. We met a second IT guy on the flight to Kathmandu. He's a former CEO of a communications company and lives in San Francisco.

The check-in line was trekking central, with men and women wearing their Patagonia and Mountain Gear best. We heard French, Chinese, Hebrew, English (of course only with the queen's accent—not much of the president's accent), and unspecified tongues.

David's hotel curse held up—they made a mistake with our room again, and we had one bed instead of two. Since fate was putting us close enough already, we opted to go back downstairs and were able to get two single beds.

By 3:30 P.M. local time, we were ready for bed. First I played IT admin and got the Palm modem to work by setting up the right international dialing codes, unplugging the room phone, and switching it with the modem plug. Then we sent out the first articles and dispatches from foreign shores, written en route.

(When we checked out, we had a scare: our calls cost us 4,540 Bhats. That's about $150 U.S.—still steep, but better than four figures. And it's all expensible! Or it better be.)

As we took off from Thailand, we still didn't quite have the feeling of being in a strange land. Perhaps getting to fly executive class for this leg (with roomy seats, smoked salmon, and pate for appetizers) helped keep the foreignness at bay. But the exotic and the strange hit us with a jolt as we landed in Kathmandu.

But that's a story for tomorrow's dispatch.
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Mike Jackman is an editor-in-chief of TechProGuild, an editor of PC Troubleshooter and Windows Support Professional, and also works as a freelance Web designer and consultant. Together with his co-editor-in-chief David Bard, he is traveling to Nepal to report on high-altitude technology and to climb 20,285-foot Imja Tse. In his spare time (when he can find some), Mike’s an avid devourer and writer of science fiction, parent to two perpetually adolescent cats, and a hiking enthusiast.

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