Some Deja Vu and some not so Deja Vu

Trip Start Jan 21, 2013
Trip End Apr 05, 2013

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Where I stayed
Lilac Relax-Residence Bangkok
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of Thailand  , Krung Thep,
Friday, January 25, 2013

Thought I better drop a line and say I arrived in Thailand OK with only a day's delay (more on that later...) My second trip to Thailand and am having some deja vu experiences and some new ones.  The former being the floral smell in the humid air and latter is the excellent airport train, cutting down the time to travel to the city from over an hour to 15 minutes on airport train to connect to the Bangkok Sky Train. The new experiences include people do not seem as friendly as before though and I don't know if it is an issue of my memory or if people have been through so much stress (ie flood, more political unrest, rising Baht) that they are more stressed.  The traffic is horrendous but not as bad as Vietnam, and I cannot help but think the Skytrain to airport has got to cut back on the traffic, as the stops along the way transport workers to further out of the city. I notice that motorbikes are lined up at each BT station along the way, as people ride to the nearest train station - must be a real change from before the train, and I wonder how long then it must have taken to travel to work.  People are very tired at the end of the day, evidenced by their demeanour on the train at 4 p.m. and  i wonder what they have facing them at home at the end of their work day. NOTE to self been a couple of days now and busiest time is when uniformed school kids leave class at 3 p.m. and flood streets, malls and sky train!!!
Anyway to back up at little - I was to leave at 5 a.m.January 21 from Regina to Calgary and then to San Francisco to Tokyo to Bangkok.  THerefore I had to leave Sunday for Regina a.m. flight on the Greyhound from Broadview to Regina (my usual drill), a two hour trip. The bus leaves at 5:45 p.m. daily so my dad was going to drive me in from the farm (also my usual drill!)  Well it was bitterly cold that Sunday (Jan. 20) and dad's truck wouldn't start at 4:30 p.m. when he went to warm it up. So he backed the car out of the garage, to take it instead, and there was a huge big hard blown in the wind snowdrift that hadn't been there earlier, in the path of the car and he got it stuck. So he comes into the house and phones my brother to come an dboost the truck and/or help get the car out of the snowdrift.  Brother Ken's vehicle wouldn't start either! So dad calls my uncle Sid, who was ice fishing, but my aunt MaryAnn was home so she drove me to the bus!  Thank goodness for relatives all around.  The neighbours would have been next haha..
Anyway got to Regina a little early as it was Sunday night on the bus, at 7:45 and Noreen picked me up and after a short sleep (up at 2:30 a.m.) I was at airport by 4 a.m.  About 4:45 a.m. before 5 a.m. departure, Air Canada asks for 4 volunteers to give up their ticket as they need to add more fuel due to strong headwinds to Calgary! Well this took some time, and more coercing announcements and finally I guess 4 did ($100 cash on spot of $200 future trip value, plus rebooking on next flight to Calgary).  Since I had two connecting flights, I did not volunteer otherwise would have thought bout it.  Got boarded, and then since it was snowing, plane had to be de-iced.  So got to Calgary 45 minutes late and since I had to connect to US flight, I had to collect my bag in a special area and go through US Customs and screening again.  Got to Gate for San Fran flight, and they said 'too bad' you're late, plane has been loaded and you cannot get on!  Well, it was right on the dot when plane was to leave, and who heard  of planes taking off on time anyway? This was United Airways, a Star Alliance partner, not Air Canada Jazz.  Anyway the guy was polite, even though he asked me if I heard them paging me, and I said no, I was just going through the system and didn't hear anything and even if I did,. there was nothing I could do about it as I had to get my bags etc and this all took time.  Anyway I said I have a connecting flight from San Fran to Bangkok, now what? he booked me for the next day from SanFran to Bangkok and later that morning for San Fran. Meanwhile I had to cancel my hotel at Bangkok airport as I was arrive at midnight. thank goodness for WIFI and my tablet.  I asked about a hotel in San Fran then and he said Air Canada should handle that as it was their delay.  OH BOY Air Canada eh? That will be the day.... anyway he phoned Air Canada customer services and they agreed to put me up in SF overnight but I had to deal with that in SF.  Again OH BOY.  I checked iwth a United Manager later on and she concurred AC quote unquote should put me up, and put a note to my file that this had been confirmed with AC staff in Calgary.  
Well got to SF, my bag was nowhere to be found, although I had asked if it got off the plane that I couldnt board in Calgary and stood at counter while agent talked to baggage dept and even got a new baggage number and was assured it would go on plane with me.  So by this time, 3 p.m. California time, 4 p.m. my time, and after being up since 2:30 a.m., I had to go report my plight to nearby United baggage counter near my luggage carousel.  They were the most unsympatheic, unresponsive and patronizing United baggage customer service agents that I have ever had to deal with.  and of which I am going to write a letter to the company outlining their staff need some training.  They blatantly told me that i should wait longer for my bag and if I didn't like that advice, go to Air Cnaada counter! (I came in on United flight!!) Totally demoralized by this time, I went to Air Canada counter and first of all reported that I should be getting a hotel.  They had to phone  Toronto for the OK - talk about lack of empowerment!  I got approved for a hotel and meal voucher for the Radisson at the airport in San Fran.  So that worked out,  they also contacted United for me and found my bag , although they were not familiar with going that route and I thi8nk since all part of Star Alliance there needs to be communication.  I had to go to United counter (SF is a huge airport) and explain situation all over again, and I had lost the baggage number which did not help. It was close to their end of day but I asked for the Manager as per AirCanada's advice and she knew wht to do but her staff didn't in trying to retrieve my bag. It indeed had come on the plane that I didn't come on, in total violation of flight rules I thought.  Anyway am trying to type this in the hostel in Bangkok and it is such a long convoluted story but bottom line is that Air Canada came through, WHO KNEW?  I ended up having 3 seats to myself! on the San Fran to Tokyo flight (11 hours) and on 6 hour flight from Tokyo (4 hour wait in airport, found a Canadian dime (inside story) on the floor in airport, not totally surprising given most of the passengers were Canadian i think) to Bangkok, chock ablock - three no so big people squished in.  It would have been almost intolerable on the first leg.  Gotta publish this now so all know i am here and ok. Have called dad a couple of times but just got voice mail.  Again did this a.m. but it would have been 10 p.m. FRiday night there! 
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Sandra Ecklund on

Glad to hear you made it ok. Have a great time and see you in a couple of months. Hugs and kisses from the girls and Alexsa wanted to let you know she learnt her first song on the guitar...Frere jacques ....spelling??? lol
Take Care Love
Sandra, Gary and the girls

Cleo Prellwitz on

That was quite the journey! But at least you are there and beginning to enjoy your trip. Glad to hear you arrived safely.

Janet on

Some trip hu? The dime is letting you know you are looked after.
Enjoy the sun and all the people. Wish I could join you!. Hugs

Sharon Cronk on

What a story! You are an experienced traveller - how would it have goe for someone who wasn't? Glad you are there in one piece and will look forward to further news. Hope all goes well from now on1 Love, Sharon

Yvonne Pinder on

My goodness what an experience Linda. Keep us posted. Hope the rest of the trip goes better.
Yvonne and Doug

Diane & George on

Great to hear you arrived safely. Did not know you were traveling again this year.

Let me know if you will be in the states again

Dianne Paterson on

Wow Linda. Glad you are there in the end. Hope all goes well for your flight into Nanning - and for mine too haha. Looking forward to some time together.

Patricia on

Such a journey. Hope all is well and now enjoying the time there. I don't suspect you are missing the cold. Take care and enjoy everything.

Lu on

Ah! Lovely to receive emails again from your travel blog!! Safe travels, Linda. You keep me inspired :)


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