So, after a year of staying in Europe I’m boarding another long distance flight. This time to Bangkok (or BKK as regular Thai travellers and expats here call it), Thailand via Muscat in Oman.
The flights aren’t even worth mentioning (as planned: 1st flight sleeping, 2nd flight watching films so my sleeping pattern is already used to Thai time). Except for that when we were descending to BKK (I am a regular Thai traveller now) we turned our backs on an amazing sunset to fly into a pitch-black cloud, only lit up by thunderbolts around us.
Thanks to my brain being as soft as the best english mushy peas I mixed up time tables and time zones and landed in BKK at 19.00 instead of 10am as I had told my couch surfing host. Luckily, he had figured out by himself that if I e-mailed him in the morning from Muscat there was no way I could make it to BKK at 10am unless I was on a rocket or spaceship instead of a regular plane.
The next slight catastrophe awaited when I tried to get money from the ATM. One card broken, second card inaccessible. Deep breath. Finally success, with getting money through my credit card (which doesn’t work at ATMs) from a money exchange bureau. Phew, so not a night at the airport.
The moment I step out of the airport building warm humid south east asian weather embraces me and I know that I’m back- a great feeling of immediate relaxation. I haul my medieval almost 30 years old (!) big red Samsonite suitcase out of the airport and a very kind cab driver heaves it into the trunk of his cab.
Because of my ‘limited Thai’ (after this e-mail you know exactly what I can say in Thai) I can only find out that ‘traffic very bad in Bangkok!’ and tell the driver that I’m from Germany. Luckily he finds the place I’m trying to get to. Which according to my kind swiss couch surfing host is a little miracle.
We cruise through nightly Bangkok. It’s around 10pm and the city is still wide awake and every light seems a promise of adventure. After a nice chat, with a beer next to the rooftop pool I sleep like a log. After waking up at 8.30am (in your face jet lag) I unfortunately have to leave my nice host and his amazing double bed guest room because he will leave BKK for a few days so I get into another cab.
This time the driver gets lost on the way to pick me up and then tries to drop me off at a construction site and a police station. I kindly refuse each time and we drive on. When we finally reach my hostel he tries to charge me an extra 50 Bath for having to call the hostel because he got lost on the way there. Eventhough that is only around £1 I give him a sweet smile and wave him goodbye without paying anything extra, which would be ten times the amount of the call to the hostel. Long years of travel experience have hardened me to paying extra.
When I enter my single ensuite fan room I’m greeted by a humid wave of heat and mold. The hostel guy who was kind enough to carry my suitcase up the stairs gives me an apologetic smile. He is probably used to the looks of terror by innocent travellers who, like me only see the cleanliness rating of 52% AFTER booking and paying for two nights.
Well, I would say 52% is quite accurate. The bed has fresh linen, though with an ink stain, but the floor is… Well, let’s say the last time it was swept is some time ago. I’ll just try to focus on the 52% clean space of the hostel (the chairs downstairs, most of my bed and the ceiling) and ignore the dirty 48%. At least it’s cheap (the expression dirt-cheap becomes a whole new meaning now) and I’m hoping to find an apartment tomorrow that I can move in to on tuesday, the 22nd of May 2012.
So much for now, after my second fresh fruitshake of today I’m gonna see if I can still get into the temple next to the cafe I’ve been sitting in just now.