Off to Thailand
Trip Start Oct 21, 2006
115Trip End Mar 21, 2008
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The flight to Bangkok is short and sweet and lands us at the 'new' airport at around 4pm. The "foreigners passport control" line is probably the slowest line I've ever been a part of. Every single person seems to take at least five minutes to process, requiring numerous forms, probing questions, conferring with supervisors, and so on. To make things worse, our particular line is by far the slowest of the 15 or so queues, so people from later planes are waltzing up way after us and breezing through while we are rooted to the spot. Finally, when our turn comes, the girl looks briefly at our passports, stamps them and we are through.
From the relative calm of the 'passengers only' section, we enter the chaos of the Bangkok Airport arrivals lounge. The place is shoulder to shoulder - a few passengers and hundreds of assorted Thai people seeking their custom. Our taxi driver is clearly working on the theory that the faster he drops us off the faster he can be back at the airport for his next fare, so he rips through the traffic with impressive dexterity. He seems to have a number of shortcuts that whiz us past expressway tollbooths via dodgy sideroads and the rush hour traffic seems to be no obstacle.
Big John's Hostel and Aussie Meat Pie Shop is run by a big Australian bloke named John who looks like Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons. The good thing is that he speaks English but this is offset by the sometimes surly attitude that he speaks it with. Legitimate questions such as "what time is breakfast?" are met with a sigh and an exasperated "from six to eight, of course" as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. He is also very relaxed about checking us in, leaving us standing with our packs on while he berates his Thai staff for all manner of housekeeping misdemeanours, then shakes his head and gives us knowing looks. The hostel itself is quite good - clean rooms, a bar and restaurant and a telly that shows the cricket.