Okay, after many well wishes and far too many going-away parties, i am now sitting in the Hong Kong Airport after a 14 hour flight from SFO. Only one minor bump so far and that happened when the Cathay Pacific reservation woman told me I would need to have a plane ticket or itinerary out of BKK within 30 days to get into BKK.
After a quick (and minor) panic attack, I regrouped, went downstairs to the business center and purchased a one-way ticket from BKK to Ho Chi Minh City for January 25th and printed the confirmation for my arrival in 4 hours now in BKK where the weather is 81 degrees at 7 pm. :-) I don't think I'll be needing this thermal top and wool sweater for long.
I will probably not get to my hotel room until 1 am but am so looking forward to a bit of rest.