Thailand Tour: Day 1

This series of posts will be a travel diary of sorts, providing updates about our time here in Thailand. We arrived in Bangkok early this morning (Friday), after 20+ hours of flight time. Other than the extreme length, both of our flights (Houston to Doha and Doha to Bangkok) were quite pleasant, with excellent service and food provided by the staff of Qatar Airways. The biggest concern with the first leg of the journey was trying to stay awake for as much of the 14 hour flight as possible (to hopefully reduce jet lag). This task was made easier by the presence of individual monitors on our seat backs, along with numerous movies, games, and reading material. Here’s a shot of my monitor, showing a map of our location at the time (near Frankfurt, Germany).

20120601-192102.jpg We made sure to stay hydrated, and took frequent walks up and down the cabin to reduce stiffness and swelling. Our layover in Doha, Qatar was very short, and we began boarding the second flight almost immediately after disembarking from the first one. The 6 hour flight from Doha to Bangkok seemed short in comparison, and we arrived in Thailand tired and grungy, but generally in very good spirits. By necessity much of today was spent settling in to our surroundings. Our host Daren Robbins met us at the airport, and we departed for the campus of Mahidol University, which will be our home for the next 8 days. After dropping off our luggage at the on-campus hotel, we spent a good part of the morning touring the College of Music’s wonderful facilities. Mahidol has a beautiful campus, with gorgeous landscaping and traditional Thai buildings dotting the area. Here’s an example.

20120601-193207.jpg The College of Music is in a period of expansion, with a new concert hall currently under construction.

20120601-193434.jpg For lunch we sampled some delicious Thai cuisine at an on-campus restaurant. The food in Thailand is very inexpensive, and almost everyone eats out for most of their meals. We returned to our rooms this afternoon to get some much needed down time, and to do a little practicing. For me, everything was a little stiff after the long flights, but things were starting to limber up and feel closer to normal after about an hour or so of practice. We will be rehearsing our program tomorrow afternoon, so it was important to get the horn on my face for at least a little bit today. The 12 hour time difference is starting to catch up to me now, so I’m going to bring this post to a close. Tomorrow’s activities will include our trio rehearsal, as well as attending a performance by the Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra. On the program: the Symphony No. 1 of Brahms! Stay tuned for more updates.

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