2005 #1: In Which I Experience Another Country For The First Time Ever

Well, I made it to Bangkok. The plane ride was very, very long, but fascinating. I had a great seat by the window, just in front of the wing and I made total use of it. Sort of like a goldfish in a bowl without water. I didn’t quite realise how squishy the seating situation is on planes, and it was definitely one of those times when I was grateful for being vertically challenged. Actually, I felt a little sorry for the guy sitting next to me on the plane. He was vegan and they kept feeding me pork. I had to wonder what he was thinking about that.

Bangkok airport is enormous and I realised when I got there that I didn’t have a clue what to do next. I just kept asking people and gradually fumbled through it all. It took a while to find the person who was meeting me and the ride back to the hotel was slightly alarming, but I was generally too tired to care.

I checked into my hotel at about 11.30 last night, had an interesting and frustrating time with the chap at the front desk, resisted strangling him (rather proud of that) and finally found my room after going to 3 wrong floors. I thought I was on the 3rd floor but it turned out I was on the 16th. I’m so glad I don’t have a problem with heights.

A bit of a learning curve with the room “key”, which is an electronic card. It let me in, I turned on the lights, dropped everything and the lights went out. After a bit of fumbling and dropping of a few unwholesome french words, I finally realised I had to leave the card in a slot by the door if I wanted to use anything.

The shower was pathetic, but it was wet, so in I went. Afterwards, of course everything was closed in the hotel, so I felt it was a justified moment to open my bottle of duty-free Malibu and do some quality control on it. Fortunately a little Thai Airways glass had found its way into my bag somehow, so I put it to good use. After being folded up into a little pile on an airplane seat for 12.something hours, it felt pretty*fabulous to stretch out on the poolside lounger and relax and let it sink in that I was actually in another country. Wow! After a while, I braved the lifts again, actually found my room the first time and crashed out on the very hard bed.

This morning I watched daylight arise – no, not a beautiful tropical sunrise in an exotic location, just daylight arriving in an unspecific and ordinary way – and wandered off to see the world around me. There are shops galore in the 2 bottom stories of this place, plus stalls everywhere outside. Thank God they have bridges slung in the air for pedestrians to walk across or else I doubt I wouldn’t have lived long enough to have lunch. It’s Sunday here and most of Bangkok appears to be out shopping or selling. Nobody’s really hassled me though and I certainly don’t feel in any kind of danger, even down the little alleyways, etc.

I did have some Thai lunch – something-dori chicken. I chose not to look too hard at the meat before they cooked it. Nor at the strange-looking creatures in glass cases on the counters. It was a very nice meal and I thoroughly enjoyed it and it’s been an hour now and I’m still okay. *I’m now off to see what else I can see – reluctantly, as this is an air-conditioned cybercafe. A little later I shall fling myself upon the mercy of a taxi-driver and see if I can get back to airport alive. I’ll be spending 4 hours or so there before taking off to Delhi. That’s only 4 hours away by plane, thank goodness, and I’ll be in Delhi late tonight.

Okay, I’m out of here. Wish me luck.

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