Live life to discover
That is the slogan of the Marriott Renaissance hotel chain. We stayed there in Johor Bahru, Malaysia for 6 days. On their channel one they go over pictures of their 150 properties across the world and their slogan seems to sum up the first part of my retirement.
Malaysia is the second cousin to Singapore but I have to tell you the people there really go all out to make you feel at home. It was a great place to start my rehab on my pulled calf after the Marathon in Tokyo. We went on a lot of tours while in Tokyo and that continued when we got to Kyoto which called for a lot of walking but next three week I was able to take it easy and take care of my sore leg and swollen ankle. I don’t seem to heal as fast as I use to learned a valuable lesson. Follow my own advice.
Over the years many people have asked my how I have been able to run so many marathons for so many years and I simply tell people that I don’t run if it hurts. That was not true of the Tokyo marathon. My calf gave me a warning sign on the 12 hour flight over but I did not listen to my body. The calf screamed and cried right from the start of the marathon and I just kept running. Turns out after much research it was a side effect of a new blood pressure medication I started taking. The one this replaced gave me a very bad cough. Strangely neither of these side effects were brought up by my Doctor when he prescribed them. I digress.
In Malaysia, Singapore and Bangkok I was able to walk when I wanted, swim when I wanted and lift weights to build up my core while the lower parts continued to heal. They say Singapore is the most expensive place to live in the world and they are not exaggerating. I have not experienced anything like that in my short life. Everything in excess. I am sure shop till you drop had this place in mind. Took what we usually call the big red bus tour of the city and learned something interesting facts. One is why there are no old cars on the road. Because of registration and taxes it is cheaper to by a new car then to keep the one that is perfectly fine past 4 years. They are the largest exporter of used cars in the world. No traffic problems. All roads have electronic tolls and they change the fares depending on how many cars are on that particular road at the time.
The cost per day cash burn rate was the major reason why we spent 6 days in Malaysia and only three days in Singapore.
Bangkok is a different story. Everything is cheap there. Food, transportation, hotel, entertainment and everything else. Not only that the people bend over backwards to make sure you are happy. Every meeting is with hands together, a big smile and a bow. How could anyone be in a bad mood with a greeting like that. One thing I did not experience was street food. It was everywhere. Every street was full of carts selling anything to eat. They are serious about their food. The malls have just about equal number of stores to places to eat and no fast foods allowed. Our favorite was where you would walk in and get a card. They had food from around the world. You filled up your tray with what you wanted and took your first class seat to enjoy. When finished they would scan your card and pay on the way out. Great food and did I say it was cheap. Yes it was.
On the other end of the spectrum I fell in love with an Irish beer called KilKenny, love their British upbringing in Asia. You can always find an Irish pub. Really came in handy on St. Patty’s day.
I also opted out of the Thai massage. They were shops every 50 feet but with more sore limb I decided, maybe next time. Cant do everything.
I did run in to a fellow UPSER. Recently promoted ANC Chief Pilot that was sitting in the pool area in Bangkok at our hotel. What a huge and at the same time small world. We met for dinner and he confirmed that it was time for me to retire.
Now here is where it really gets small world. I was on Face Book and read a post from a old friend, Walter Shah. We use to fly together back in the 80’s at a very small commuter airline, Wheeler Airlines. He posted a short video of how he was going be taking off for Bangkok, he now flies for Federal Express and have only seen each briefly a couple of times since our Wheeler days. He left in the late 80’s for Federal Express and I for UPS. I added a comment that I was in Bangkok and we ended meeting for dinner there a few days later. Turns out his friend there was a singer and brought a fellow singer to join us for dinner. To make the world even smaller, that singer we had just gone to see at a nearby hotel two days earlier. We often cry about how technology has taken over our lives but to be sitting at dinner in setting like that because of a social media tool is great in my book.
Presently en route on a 12 hour flight from Bangkok to Paris, 2 hour layover then another 2 hours on to Rome. They say we are somewhere near Kaboul Afghanistan. at 32000 feet. 2500 miles and 5 hours behind us and 3400 miles to go. I could be in my living room if I still had one all I know. Laptop in my lap with headphones on just waiting for them to come around with some more wine.
Something to think about.
The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.
That is my plan