My flight left at 10:30 a.m. on the 23rd, going from Casa to Doha, Qatar. In-flight service from Qatar Airlines is excellent, but they seem to be having major problems on the ground. This wasn’t the first delay, as you’ll read. We made a stop in Tripoli, Libya to await a connecting flight. Unfortunately, they wouldn’t let us off the plane, so I didn’t see anything of Khadaffy’s Kingdom. The connecting flight was also delayed by about 45 minutes.

So, we didn’t arrive in Doha until quite late, close to 10 p.m. The airlines put me up at a 5-star hotel, the name of which I cannot remember, and gave me vouchers for dinner and breakfast. The restaurant was closed when I got to the hotel, it was so late, but I had eaten well on the flight, so it wasn’t a problem. I got to bed about 12:30 a.m. and had to get up at 6:00 a.m., run downstairs for breakfast, which wasn’t being served until that time, gulp down lots of coffee and some food and leave for the airport at 7. The guy who took me in the hotel shuttle is from Nepal. I asked him if he got homesick; if he had any other Nepalese to hang around with. He told me that there are about 200,000 of his countrymen working in Qatar. It seems that most of the menial jobs in the Gulf States area are held by foreigners, doing tasks that the ordinary Arabian won’t do. Sounds a lot like the U.S.

When I got to the airport, I found out the flight to Bangkok was delayed by two hours, leaving at 10:30 instead of 8:30. It wound up not taking off until 11 a.m. So, I didn’t get to Bangkok and checked into my guesthouse until near midnight. Walking out of the Bangkok airport was almost like coming home, as my friend Eugene said when he returned to the City of Angels. I was immediately hit by a wall of very warm, humid air, and I began to sweat like crazy. The smells of charcoal fires burning, food being cooked and vehicle exhaust fumes competed with the noise of all the traffic and the mass of people, an immediate and almost overpowering assault on the senses. I don’t know exactly why I like Bangkok, but I do. You either love it or hate it. I was talking with a young Irish couple later in Vientiane, and they absolutely hate Bangkok, maybe for the same reasons I love it. Crazy.