A Report on My Recent Travels: Around the World in Eight Days

In case anyone is interested, here is an update on my recent travels.

Around the World in Eighty Days is an adventure novel by the French writer Jules Verne, published in 1873. In the story, Phileas Fogg of London and his newly employed French valet Jean Passepartout attempt to circumnavigate the world in 80 days on a £20,000 wager set by his friends at the Reform Club. Traveling around the world in 80 days was quite a feat in 1873!

Luckily, today’s travel is easier and faster. Yesterday evening, I returned from an eight day trip around the world. I spent 5 days in Bangkok, Thailand plus a day and a half traveling to that city and another day and a half returning home. In any case, I am now back home and am working on new articles for this newsletter.

The 12-hour time zone change was a killer! I returned home last night about 6pm local time, went to bed about 10pm, and slept until 10am today! 3pm here on the east coast of the United States is also 3am in Bangkok. At least it was easy to figure the time difference before calling home!

Luckily, voice calls are free on several of the Internet services if both parties have the same app installed. My relatives and I use the Signal encrypted communications app and I was connected via the hotel’s free wi-fi. I experienced two-way video calls with several relatives and friends and we talked as long as we wished at no charge for toll calls. You have to love today’s technology!

If you ever get to Bangkok, I strongly recommend a visit to the royal temple Wat Pho, which houses the Reclining Buddha and the ashes of King Rama I who ruled from 1782 to 1809. A short walk away is the gilded Grand Palace, a conglomeration of temples, courtyards and gardens. Also, take a cruise along the Chao Phraya River.

Bangkok’s Grand Palace

Finally, you might spend a few hours at the new and ultra-modern IconSiam shopping center.

IconSiam

I’m not a fan of modern shopping centers but it was quite a contrast to the open air markets that are almost everywhere in Bangkok. The IconSiam also has all sorts of restaurants to choose from. I found there’s a lot to be said for a shopping center’s air conditioning in Bangkok’s tropical climate!

A typical Bangkok shopping area

Make sure some of your travel is via a tuk-tuk, a three-wheel taxi. I will say that tuk-tuk travel is exciting! Bangkok’s traffic jams are some of the worst I have ever seen but the tuk-tuks weave in and out through the traffic easily. Tuk-tuks usually will get you to your Bangkok destination faster than will a 4-wheel taxi! Admittedly, foreign visitors might experience some white knuckles as the drivers cut in, around, and through the traffic!

This was also my first around-the-world flight. Since Bangkok is on the exact opposite side of the world from where I live, it didn’t make much difference if I traveled eastbound or westbound to get to Bangkok as the distance is about the same in either direction. While I didn’t plan it this way, when I went online to schedule the trip, the airline’s default was for me to go eastbound to Frankfurt, Germany and then connect on to Bangkok. For the return trip, the airline suggested continuing eastbound from Bangkok to Taipei, Taiwan; connecting to San Francisco; and then connecting to Orlando. All but one of the flights were red-eye.

In short, I went around the world. Admittedly, I only saw one city plus the insides of several airport terminals. I do think I lost a day somewhere, however.

I did find that genealogy is not a major interest in Thailand. I asked several local residents if they or anyone they knew was researching their family trees. The responses all were negative.

Death certificates reportedly are available from the various government agencies. Almost all other records of interest to genealogists are made and stored by each family. In most cases, a genealogist needs to ask his or her relatives who keeps the records for their family. The availability of those records varies widely.

If you have an interest in Thailand genealogy, I might suggest you start first with FamilySearch Wiki’s excellent Thailand Genealogy article at: https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Thailand_Genealogy. That article states that “Genealogy records are kept on the province level in Thailand.” Apparently, almost none of those records are available online. As you might expect, records are almost always recorded in the Thai language (ภาษาไทย).

11 Comments

Glad to hear you are safe and sound at home, if a little jet lagged! Interesting trip and I’m really glad you got to do the round the world part! I mentioned it to a couple of people I know who visit the east regularly and they are going to try it next trip – never thought about it before! Hope you get readjusted to your time zone soon and then all will be well! Sure do enjoy your trip adventures – I’m just too old for that now, but wish I wasn’t.

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    —> I’m just too old for that now, but wish I wasn’t.

    I find that as I am aging, I enjoy travel now more than ever. I am trying to check off everything on my “bucket list” and am enjoying it.

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We visited Bangkok as part of our own around-the-world trip last year. We really liked all of the temples, too.
We also are traveling a lot as we get older – while we still can. We’ve actually found that adjusting to a 12-hour time difference is easier than 5 or 6 hours.
Glad you’re back safe & sound.

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Glad to hear you got back safely, Dick. If the air traffic controllers stop showing up for work, people might not be able to get back home—or leave for where ever they want to go.

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Enjoyed your travel comments. I love Thai food here in California. How is it at the source?

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    —> I love Thai food here in California. How is it at the source?

    Different.

    I love Thai food as found in the U.S. and eat it often. However, the menus in Thailand (when I could read the menus), listed dishes as “with pandan leaves,” rice noodles, fermented fish sauce, tamarind juice or tamarind paste, cardamom, fermented soy beans, pickled chili peppers, and other things that American palates are not used to. I found most of it to taste delicious. I wasn’t surprised or “put off” by the ingredients. Years ago, I lived in China for a year and in many of the small cities where I went there were no Western-style restaurants. I often ate Chinese food three times a day for weeks at a time. While Chinese food is quite different from Thai food, both contain ingredients that Americans are not used to. I enjoyed the Chinese food years ago and I also enjoyed the Thai food this last week.

    One caveat: If a Thai restaurant’s menu (printed in English) says that a dish is “spicy,” that means it is really, really spicy. I enjoy spicy food up to a point but found that several of the Thai dishes exceeded my pain threshold.

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Welcome back, Dick. Glad you enjoyed your trip to Bangkok.Enjoed the photos and I’m sure to hear more about your trip next week.

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What an interesting trip! I too never thought of going east through Europe on the outbound trip and coming back over the Pacific, again going east on the return. Fun to truly go around the world – now in just a week. Verne would be amazed..

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Hi Dick.

Glad you enjoyed your trip. It took me back almost 60 years when we (spouse and 3 young children) decided to travel by car from S/pore to Bangkok. It seemed good idea at the time. My family had touching faith in their Dad !! In those days roads in Thailand were laterite.

We had great time and certainly saw some of the sights that tourists (even today) never see. The people were lovely and especially enamoured of 3 blond haired little children. Our kids must adorn many Thai family albums (no digital cameras in those days).

A particular highlight was a side trip to Changmai at the time of the water festival. The Thais are no respectors of (farangs) foreigners. Quite the contrary. We got soaked, but they accepted a return bucketful in reply.

You evoked a very fond memory.. Glad you enjoyed your trip. For us it was never to be repeated.

Peter Bridge

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Dick, I wonder if the jet lag would have been easier if you’d traveled west instead of east. I know it is when the time difference is less – to Europe and back, for instance. Or just from the East to West Coasts in US.

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    Well, the jet lag wasn’t too bad. I was very tired when I arrived home after three flights including two consecutive red-eye flights and not having any time in bed in between. However, I then got 12 hours of sleep and awoke the next morning feeling refreshed. In all, I’d say the jet lag wasn’t bad.

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