Saturday, August 14, 2010

I am the Circus at the Airport

All right, I'm going to be making two posts consecutively; this one is obviously the first one. The next one will detail my first day in Thailand, while I try to explain to all of you the gong-show of my plane travels.

Alright, I left you all with the description of my transitions from Fort Nelson to Vancouver. Well, afterwards, I packed up and went to the information desk just to see where luggage storage was so I didn't have to keep my eyes glued on it for the six hours. Well, she told me that instead of midnight, I could actually check in at nine, and I was like "oh, yaaay. I love you, lady~". She then told me that the luggage storage was bottom floor, and I did all that jazz. Btw, four dollars per hour for luggage isn't as cool as I thought it would be. -.- Twelve dollars!

Haha, checking in was actually very confusing for me. There were three lines: first class, business, and self-check in. However, I knew I was in economy, and it was completely empty, so I was soooo confused. After trying to wait in the line, I decided it was a waste of time and so I joined the self-check in line. That was the right place to go, haha! The lady was very kind and curious about my exchange, so I shared some information about that with her, and she told me that even though I'm using a different airline when I get to Bangkok to go to Chiang Mai, she could check my luggage all the way through so I wouldn't have to worry. That turned out to be a huge help, but I'll explain that when we get to Bangkok.

So, finally I went through security, easy breeze, and found a comfortable spot by subway where these adorable Philippine kids were sitting beside me. I stayed on the computer to keep myself entertained, as many people in the airport are very grumpy, haha. I would just like to note that I could not stop smiling, even when I was over-tired!

Anyway, the six hours passed quickly and soon I was boarding my Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong. Let me just say this: WOW. It was huge, and all of the flight attendants were dressed in these chinese outfits with the hairstyle. It was just phenomenal, and they were very, very pretty and friendly. (However, their outfits were red, so my red blazer made a lot of people think I was a flight attendant, despite me wearing jeans.) So, flight to Hong Kong was 13 hours. There was a baby in the row across from me, and she was so adorable! I guess I'm just not a crabby person when it comes to babies crying, haha. I was very lucky that no one was sitting next to me, so I sprawled out and slept for nine hours, which by then my body desperately needed. It would have been perfect, if it weren't that four times during my sleep one of the attendants had to shake me awake to put on my seatbelt because we kept hitting turbulence. The last four hours passed with me attempting to watch Kick Ass (I love superheros, but I was not comfortable watching this movie), and absolutely loving How to Train Your Dragon. TOOTHLESS IS ADORABLE!

When we landed in Hong Kong, it was five in the morning local time. I was refreshed and smiley, and I met a very cool girl named Grace who had shared my flight. She just returned from a year of school in Vancouver, so we spoke in English and that was really nice. She was going home to Changsha~. Again, security was easy and then I said goodbye. Finding my gate wasn't difficult either (I got to take a train!) and the airport is definitely larger than Fort Nelson! But China was so gorgeous~! I remember flying over it and thinking "man, I wish I could spend a few days here".

My only troubles within the airport was trying to find an outlet. When I eventually did find one, it was a Chinese one, so I was doomed. I then found a telephone booth, so I tried to use my credit card on that, but it failed on me, too. By then, I was just laughing at myself. You can't get angry over things like that. So, I then decided to try and find me a currency exchange so I could get some Chinese change and make a phone-call to my mom just to let her know I was safe. The lady there, again, went beyond my expectations, and sold me a phone card plus some change. (Chinese coins are so cool!).

I had 7 mins 28 secs to talk with my mom, and we spoke right until it clicked out. There was a guy standing beside me who apparently knew English and thought my conversation with her was hilarious. I'm funnier than I realize, haha.

Anyway, I returned to my gate and just curled up with my DS for the next two hours. I met a lady there (I can't remember her name) but she's a handbag designer from London was on her way to India for some business. It was very nice to talk to her and hear about her experiences. This time, when we boarded the plane, it was much crappier than the gorgeous one I had had originally. I suppose because it was a long flight they had these amazingly comfortable seats, but for only three hours you get a very sore butt. I had a Chinese couple sitting beside my this time, and the woman seemed to be terrified of me. At one point I really wanted my camera, but when I reached down to get it, she freaked out and jerked away. I straightened up and decided I didn't need it that badly. And sure enough, for the rest of the flight I had to make sure I barely moved. I'm lucky I didn't need the bathroom, and I was very thankful when we landed in BANGKOK~!

Wow. Flying over Thailand had me almost in tears, because I was just too excited for words to describe. It is just beautiful, even when you're 40,000 feet above the ground.

However, BKK airport is an entirely different story. The Thai workers were very smiley and friendly, but it was so huge and a tad confusing to navigate. I had to keep running back and forth to get my ticket for Chiang Mai and then when I did, I had to fill out this residency card and go through passport check, and I was just trying not to fall asleep, haha.

When I finally was in the domestic departures sector, I decided I was starving and wanted to eat some food. Unfortunately, all of the Thai restaurants were on the other side or something, because I only found Burger King, again. It wasn't too bad, but I was hoping for some authentic Thai food. Anyway, finding my gate was a HUGE battle. I walked around that airport for two hours. I was so exhausted and my feet were cramping, but I kept smiling and trying to ignore all of the stares. Being white and wrapped in a red blazer is just not normal for them, hahaha. I finally found the gate and sat down to relax. I did a quick fresh up in the bathroom. These two little girls who spoke French kept staring and saying how weird I was. Yeah, I can understand you, children, but I smiled at them anyway.

Anyway. This time, I could actually plug in my laptop, but I couldn't just connect to internet like in Vancouver. I had to purchase it from an information desk, and by then it was only two hours until my flight. I decided I was too tired to make another step, and just used this phone to call my mom with some baht I received through Burger King. Again, we had an interesting phone-call, and I assured her I was alive and well. This time, I met a 21 year-old woman from Korea who I was so sure was my age. She's living in Chiang Mai with her aunt, so she and I exchanged information so I can contact her. She's very, very sweet, and gave me perfume as a gift. I felt so embarrassed that I literally had nothing on me. We couldn't sit together on the plane, but we did wait together and took some fun pictures which I will eventually get to posting.

Afterwards, my flight to Chiang Mai was only an hour! My heart was so erratic at this point and I kept taking pictures of everything as we started to descent. I actually flew over a lot of places that I eventually drove by, and that was exciting. As we landed, a huge bumblebee swept past my window. I only mention this because it really was HUGE.

Anyway, I stood up immediately to grab my belongings and say goodbye to this nice lady I talked to who had been living in Chiang Mai for six years, though she's from the UK and US. I eagerly left the plane and grabbed my luggage, and this is what really made me annoyed: it was totally trashed! Brand new luggage set, and both of my tags with my contact information have been ripped off, one of the zippers missing, one of the locks is broken, and there's dents all around it. Not happy, Cathay Pacific or local Thai Airline. Not happy with that.

However, customs took about two seconds. Once again, I was very fortunate with security, though they did want to search my bag with all of my gifts, but after a quick glance, they let me go. During all of this, my host family was standing right at the entrance, waving and shouting my name...

I will tell you all of this in the next post. :)

Sawat-dee ka~!


PS: I calculated how long it took me: 38 hours!

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