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The fact that the first song I heard after touching ground in Thailand—played in the bathroom in the Bangkok airport, no less—was the theme from The Godfather was, I figured, probably not a very good sign.

And it did turn out to be something of an omen of things to come. First I left my brand-new Swiss-made one-sheet-of-aluminum water bottle, which my best friend had given me as a going-away present the day before, on the plane. When I realized this, I had to ask at least five airport and airline personnel (miming ‘water bottle’ each time) before I found the one person who could help me. She radioed the cabin crew but no luck. The report came back over the walkie talkie: no sign of it. Read the rest of this entry »