After much handwringing and fussing about, I finally booked tickets to Bangkok this weekend. I couldn’t wait to do it at home in peace and quiet – no, I had to call United and be on hold for twenty minutes at a stretch right in the middle of a family reunion celebrating my mother-in-law’s retirement (Hurray Ann!!).

In any case it was worth it. I watch plane fares compulsively when I know I have a trip coming up, and like a travel agent obsessed, I flinched when fares soared and cheered when I found a $874 LAX-BKK roundtrip on China Airlines. That’s about as cheap an air ticket as I’ve ever found to Thailand. I found the cheapest dates to leave, and return, which was tricky because Bella and I are returning separately.

Then my brother offered to let me us his frequent flyer miles as an early Christmas present.

After lots of phone time with United, my mission was accomplished.

My ticket: $75

Bella’s ticket: $75

Christian’s ticket: $379

Total: pocket change

I’m thinking about the banana pancakes made near the end of Sue’s street, with condensed milk dripped all over it; the steaming hot salty noodle soup at nighttime, the fresh fruit along the soi

and coconut yogurt every morning for breakfast!

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