Unexpected flight change. Communication so bad Mercury isn’t in retrograde, I’m pretty sure the Winged Messenger going backward in time. SFO Southwest greeters cheerfully announce weather-delayed flights. The miracle of BART. 11-hour layover in Incheon airport in Seoul. The surprising grey of Korea’s snow-topped mountains. Thailand’s 80-degree night. The city of Chiang Mai is a chiaroscuro of traffic and the night still dotted by floating fire-lanterns carrying New Year prayers aloft.

The taxi driver tells us how the area our hotel is in a hot new suburb. We pass a massive lit stage with a 3-story picture of the godking of Thailand. Next to it is a hotel that has been closed and sealed up behind a corrugated aluminum fence. Suan Doi – I’m not sure what it means in Thai, but to me it means jungle and mina birds inside the city. Great shaggy pots holding still water and fish that eat mosquito larvae.

The tiny frogs bark at us from the foliage, as if to call us out of our haze. As if to say, “You are here. Now what?! This is *Thailand* (which means the Unconquered Kingdom).” In the background, the mosquitos are quiet.


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