Bangkok Travel Blog

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The balcony overlooking the Soi of the Near Eastern hotel ($20 a night). I got this room to grab a few hours of much needed sleep after I missed my flight!
So the title gave it away! I look at my ticket and it says 1:04a when I think it says 10:04a. I go to the desk and I realized in a moment with my 100 pounds of luggage that I missed my flight!

If this was America, there would be a $150 charge to fix it all....but I'm in Thailand and Thai Airlines is the single best thing going for Thailand! They re booked me on the next flight leaving tonight at 1:04am, they even changed my American connection from New York to Baltimore! I asked, "How much for the flight changes?" and they say, "What do you mean how much?" "You already paid, you're done"!  WOW! (note to self- avoid all American owned airlines, they're completely lacking in service and they nickel and dime you for food, movies, drinks, etc).
Only a Thai airport has a Buddha thingie in it!
Thai airlines is 5 star service, 20 movies to watch, computer games, language lessons, music (un a multi entertainment center) and free drinks and juice--all you want for free!

Completely exhausted, I check my bags into the "Left baggage" center for $9 a bag, take my carry on bag back to a hotel to take a much needed nap (I'd been up for 2 days)!  I found the Near Eastern Hotel back in the Muslim neighborhood. It was $20 and reminded me of New Orleans with a porch overlooking the street. It was balmy and hot and I took a great 4 hour nap. Feeling quite refreshed, I went down the street and had some green chili curry chicken on rice. The bill was about $4. I saw a black man sitting a few tables down from me and I realized he wasn't speaking with a Sudan accent.
This is a small portion of my collection of booty and swag smuggled successfully back to the US! (I forgot to take a photo of the piles of pearls and gemstones). ANYONE WANT TO BUY LOOSE RUBIES AND SAPPHIRES?
I said, "Are you an American" and he said, "Yes, I am"  WOW! My first American in a week and a half! Turns out he works for the US embassy and gave me advice how to get my goodies through customs. Since I failed mailing, I better declare it all.

I left there and some ladies were saying "massage, massage"! I was thinking it was another tout for some porn or seedy scam game but since this was my last day and everyone recommended a massage (and I was still frazzled and exhausted), I said, "OK"!

The massage was pretty good. Not that I've ever paid for a massage (but I know I can give a much better one)! It did the job and the price was about $8. Since they were good by my rule and didn't scam me, I paid quadruple to which they jumped up and down in their shop like they won the lottery! I walked out smelling like baby oil back to my hotel to rest, take a couple pictures (it seems they HATE cameras around here) and head back home for try #2!

At 10pm, I went out in the street to hail a cab and go home (this time).
...If you don't go to the store, the store will come to you. Outside of near east hotel New Orleans style balcony (the only place I could get away with taking videos)
An Egyptian guy and a Sudanese guy were also hailing a cab. We ended up splitting the fare and I learned all about the sports clothing lines they sell (businessmen) taking advantage of the inexpensive goods in Thailand supplying sports stores in their countries. We climbed into the car and the Egyptian guy says, "you got a massage!"  LOL!

I got my bags out of hock and waited to board the flight (advice- don't show up to the airport 3 hours in advance)! 80 minutes is plenty despite the longest lines!
I knew I was in the American destination waiting area because 1. There were obese people in line (and I hadn't seen any the whole time). 2. When we were frisked a second time before getting onto the airplane, one American (obese) man tried to cut in line and the Thais told him, "Sir please get in back of line".
View from off the New Orleans style balcony of the Near Eastern Hotel
He started shouting WHY, WHY, WHY! Like some deserved spoiled brat. At that moment, I wanted to turn around, smile and say, "I was just pretending to be from his country but I'm really....uh..Canadian" and leave!  The thing is, he didn't stop yelling and demanding his question be ansewered in his 3 second -r-else alloted timeframe...so he started in again....WHY, WHY DO i have to be frisked again! The poor airport workers were taken back by his yelling and demanding over and over why....(I couldn't help myself, trying to break up the tension, I leaned out of line over to the most disturbed young lady working for the airport and said "Baby, Baby" at which point she couldn't cover her mouth because she was laughing through it (while fighting the guise of politeness)! I was so glad I seemed to have made her day because she was telling her friends over the walkie talkie and walking over to the other airport workers making fun of him as they all laughed (me included)!

I hoped this ended right there and then.
I guess marking the end of the new year a dragon was paying homage to the mini Buddhist altars along the shoppes
..but my luck would have it that this large human food compacting machine made it down to the secure waiting area two rows behind me....his VOICE! Oh no! Not again! He starts up a conversation on the world economy, war, nationwide business strategies, how to make money on cheap labor, taking advantage of workers and getting away with labor laws...Practically ruling the world economy right from his bench in the airport! THe unfortunate who engaged in his conversation suddenly found themselves trying to stop it as soon as it started. If we waited 5 more minutes, I am convinced
Barney" (I imagined him painted purple like the children's character barney)...Barney would have stood up and recited his highly intelligent, no-one-thought-of-this-before views on mastering the human race! (Wow, the antichrist, Barney and I'm in his presence)!

I prayed I'd never see or hear him again...Boarding, he got on first class, Whew! I went to the back and got an empty row where the armrests would raise and I could make a bed out of the entire 17 hour flight!

so badly wanted him to shut the hell up (he was absurdly obnoxious, as were many of the other Americans)..I am sometimes completely embarrassed to be an American!

The flight home was great (except that the computer/game/movie entertainment center wasn't working). but I did get a good 9-10 hours of much needed sleep (and the service was phenomenal, again)!

I got into New York at customs and they saw I declared $3600 in goods being brought back (1/6th of the real cost). I said most were Christmas presents and maybe I'd sell a few things. They asked what I had and I said, "Cheap jewelry and nick-nacks for home decoration" Unfortunately they inspected my antiquities and contraband first (they didn't even find the jewelry)! I panicked! All my contraband lined up on the table! She said, "And what's this?" I said, "Just a table decoration- it's a reproduction" She said, "Are you sure"? I said, "well it's not a crack pipe if that's what you're looking for" as I smiled (oops, I shouldn't have said that)!.  Uh oh!...She called a second officer over and I tried to lighten up the conversation telling them I was grateful to speak to Americans and see a 100% woman (as I told her there were these transvestite things all over Thailand and it's perfectly fine with their culture)... telling them again I was so glad to be home and after an hour of questions, they finally got tired and waived me through (Whew)!

The male customs officer also helped me by telling me how to breeze customs next time. I finally made it back to Baltimore at 12 noon. I missed my dogs (they didn't even recognize me), wishing already I was back in Thailand!

Next trip I hope to go along with a TB and go SIGHT SEEING!
Update! I'm not kidding. I'm planning on going again in a month!  :o)
arlene0725 says:
Sawasdee ka. So that was it? You told them that it was home decorations & knick knacks and you got thru customs? Wow! I guess, I need to buy more 'presents' the next time I visit. My budget for jewelries is just less than $300 anyway.
Posted on: Mar 11, 2008
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photo by: halilee