My flight left from McGhee-Tyson airport in Knoxville, TN where I had been staying with In-laws for the Holidays and training with Samuel Braga and Crew at Gracie Barra, Knoxville.
A few days before take-off I had been visiting my team in Columbus, Ohio and took in a seminar with Professor Jorge Gurgel. Jorge’s seminars are always a lot of fun and Jorge is a great coach. this seminar was no exception until, somewhere along the line I pulled a muscle (or bruised a rib) near the floating ribs on my left side. Once back in Knoxville, I really tore it good training with a tough blue belt at GB Knox. He was making for a knee-slice pass and I was working for a reverse De La Riva defense when I gave a push with my shin and felt the tear let loose in my left side. I let out a yell and took a couple of rounds off, sitting on the sidelines watching the rest of the guys roll. I tried to do some light rolling with one of the purple belts, but it was no use, whatever I did it was not going to shake off easily.
The rest of the week I went in and just did drilling (lightly) and stuck around to watch Samuel and his crew do work. My last day there I did some light rolling and had a really good match with a pretty technical blue-belt. I was happy that I was able to start doing some rolling and was hoping that, with the couple days I would have off due to travelling, my ribs would be back together in time to train a little once I got to Thailand.
At 6:00 am my plane lifted off and the marathon journey began. Five hours later I was in L.A. for a three hour layover. We left L.A. at around 3:00 pm PST and after 15 long hours we hit Taipei for a measly TEN hour layover. I had gambled on this one thinking that it would be difficult to leave the airport, get a hotel room , get some sleep and then be back in time to catch the next leg of the journey. I decided that with some luck we could sleep a bit on the plane from L.A. and be ready to go for the final leg. MISTAKE.
I may have slept a combined four hours on the flight over and once in the airport in Taipei there was not a wink to be had.
At around 9:00 am Taipei time (whatever that might be called) we lifted off on our last leg…the 2 hour flight to Bangkok. It went off pretty smoothly with a quick breakfast service to-boot! We got off the plane, grabbed our bags and caught a taxi to the “Train Guest House” near Hua Lamphong station.
Let me tell you, travel days can be some of my least favorite days. it’s exhausting and yet, I haven’t accomplished a single thing. I feel like I have just wasted days of my life away before I can even get somewhere.
Although it was Friday in my head, due to crossing the International Dateline, it was already Saturday in Bangkok. I knew that Arete Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (Where I had arranged to do some training) didn’t have any evening classes on Saturday which, if I am honest is a relief because I was totally exhausted, so we went out to grab some dinner and then get back and have a rest.
We caught dinner at a small sidewalk eatery across from the station and it was delicious. This was my very first meal in Thailand and it did not disappoint! It was just a dive little place on the side of a busy street but it was really good and my wife and I both had a huge serving of rice, noodles, and some lightly spicy chicken plus beverages (beer for me please 🙂 ) and the grand total was just about $5.00 U.S.
This was a confirmation of all the things I had heard about Thailand: Cheap, delicious food! BTW…It was around 35f when we left Knoxville, TN and it was sitting around 80f here in Bangkok. Pretty awesome! Next up? Sleep!
I’ll write more tomorrow and then finally get some training in on Monday night!