Red Lion Seatac Hotel
We are finally out of the flying oyster bed. Never did sleep -- except for some uncomfortable dozing between Bangkok and Tokyo. Seems ages ago that we had a beef curry for breakfast in the first plane (beef inedible, unchewable) -- watched Steel Magnolias (sound scratchy and irritating above the jet roar) -- ate snack of cheese and mystery paste sandwiches.
Bangkok customs. We checked bags. They were x-rayed on the spot. As we joined the check-in line, we saw J's suitcase being brought back and they signaled him. "Buddha!" they were saying with big grins. "Buddha!" J unlocked suitcase and unwrapped the biggest and managed to convince inspector that it was Burmese. They really are uptight about their old statues. Our handbags were searched at the gate.
Arrived in Tokyo as our next flight was boarding, then a wait for 25 people from Osaka. Dinner of chicken/rice (chicken mystery parts -- not eaten) -- movie Glory, excellent, but again a strain to hear over the engine roar and through cheap earphones that gnaw on your outer ear. A continental breakfast.
We fussed over how to declare our goods at customs. I developed a vice-grip headache and found no comfortable position for snoozing. Wonder why I can't sleep on airplanes anymore?
Seattle. Through immigration (passport stamped -- officially home) to customs. As we waited for our luggage 2 officials reviewed our declarations (I-94s). They were slipping them into color-coded folders. Most people got blue, which meant they were waved through the inspection part. The first officer declined to judge our "antiques." The second put our forms and passports together into an orange folder and told us to prepare to show our authentication certificates and invoices (what?!). (Red folders must mean definitely dutiable.) The customs officer carefully inspected J's suitcase, asking how did he know the stuff was old, unwrapping items that J was not volunteering to show him. Then waved us both through. We were giddy with relief and weariness.
At the Seatac Hotel we managed to eat a pancake breakfast before collapsing into bed. It's 7 P.M. now and we're breaking out the Mekong Whiskey for happy hour -- or is it an obscene 6 A.M. indulgence? My achy body is saying morning. It is 50 degrees -- freezing.
Final note: don't forget Spirit Houses. Build to house the spirits that occupy the land upon which a house is to be built. Equip with man, woman (servants), donkey and elephant (transportation), place outside the shadow of the house.