Christmas in Bangkok
Bangkok Travel Blog› entry 1 of 9 › view all entries
The lead up to Christmas is always hectic. Although I absolutely love the Christmas period - everyone is rushing around like a maniac, but at least they're always in a good mood - except in shopping centre car parks when you trawl around stalking shoppers laden with plastic shopping bags to wait impatiently as they load all their shopping from their trolley and neatly pack everything away so excruciatingly whilst you wait patiently (or not so patiently) for them to shuffle away.
So Christmas Day started off in the normal fashion except this year I was up relatively early to finish off packing my clothes and then heading off to church for some last minute carolling and spreading goodwill to my fellow man :-) Had Christmas lunch with my family which served as a double celebration for my brother whose birthday also falls on Christmas Day. After the obligatory over stuffing of food as if we were on a diet until the next Christmas, I then waddled off to the airport on a much anticipated trip at Christmas. I think I am going to try and get the hat-trick next year....this will be the second year in a row that I have been fortunate enough to be able to travel over the Christmas/New Year period and to spend New Years Eve in another country. Bonus this year for me was that I was travelling with two friends which was even better!
I'd never been on an air flight on Christmas Day and was wondering if I'd see air crew, pilots and the like with reindeer ears, be carolling as passengers boarded the flight, if we would have a visit from Santa on the plane etc I was sorely disappointed - it was just like any other normal day. No mention of Merry Christmas or anything.......the only reference to Christmas was a mince pie that was included in the delicious airline dinner (?!) which was served.
The flight was uneventful and when I arrived in Bangkok late in the evening, I had to do the dash to the hotel to meet with of my friends VB who had arrived a few days earlier. I was getting very excited now, as even though I had seen her only the week earlier whilst we were doing our last minute planning, there's something quite novel about seeing your friends or people you know in other places out of context - makes everything seem even more exciting.
Grabbing one of the registered taxis from the airport to the hotel, found that the driver had already started to try to rip me off by asking me for the ticket that I was issued and he then told me that the fare to the city would be 800 baht flat fare and was that OK. I then quickly glanced over at the meter and realised that he hadn't turned it on. Damn - I've been lucky enough to have travelled to Bangkok a few times now and know that you need to make sure that the meter is turned on otherwise it can get tricky arguing with taxi drivers who may be out to rip off the unsuspecting tourist. I then looked over to his government issued ID with taxi registration and pretended to note this down in my notebook in a feeble attempt to make him think that I was onto him. I then said to him that I wanted the meter turned on, to which he responded that it was broken. Again, I persisted and said I wasn't going to pay 800 baht and he would have to take me back to the airport if he didn't have the meter on. The taxi driver tried to justify that he had to pay a toll (true) but I knew how much it was and knew that he was just basically ripping me off. He kept saying 800 baht so I just ignored him. So then, I thought I would just have to pay him when I got to the hotel with the 400 baht (which I still think I had slightly overpaid) which I was prepared to pay. Anyways, I got to the hotel in one piece and jumped out. I gave him 400 baht and told him that I knew that the journey was not more than that and that I wasn't happy to pay any more. He gave me a look that would have killed me if he had a loaded gun, but didn't say anything - just shook his head and walked back to his cab.
Never mind - at the hotel and glad to have made it before the end of Christmas Day, I caught up with my friend VB and we happily chatted about what she had in her past few days in the city. It was her first trip to Bangkok and had managed a little bit of shopping, some sight seeing to the Grand Palace and a day trip to walk with the tigers and to the Bridge Over the River Kwai. In the next two days, we had an agenda which included shopping, eating, shopping, eating, and a little bit more shopping.....