Held hostage in the Bangkok aiport!!

Trip Start Apr 10, 2006
Trip End Jul 02, 2006

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Flag of Thailand  ,
Monday, May 15, 2006

I was almost sad to leave the Bangkok airport. In fact, so complete was our Thai-experience (exclusive to the confines of the Bangkok Int. airport) that I hardly missed not being able to see anything outside the glass door threshold to the 'real' Thailand that patiently lie beyond. You can imagine our reactions when finishing the queue at immigration. My blue book stamped with the day's date, 'Thai-entry,' and a sincere, "hab nice tlip." Next, stepping forward from the yellow line is my lovely wife - nationality, Argentina. "Solly, you need visa; only getting in Algentina, so solly."

*Ooops! ! !

*Mariana did research this ahead of time, and was apparently misinformed about this minor detail.

You see, due to the 'crisis' in Argentina some 4+ years ago when their economy crashed, this landslide event provoked a massive exodus and transmigration for many Argentines who'd 'had enough.' Many countries which had previously listed Arg. on the privileged list of those nations exempt for visas now require the 'Che's' to solicit the dreaded document before their entry - from their country of origin. In short, we were screwed, especially when the immigration agent assigned to our 'case' informed us that we needed to immediately return to Africa (don't forget we had just arrived from Africa via 2 different 8 hr. flights).

"You must be kidding me."

"No, they seem to be quite serious."

Ok, we're resourceful, we've got some travel experience and don't take 'no' for an answer very easily - time to come up with an alternative solution, and quick! Fortunately, being the full-service southeast Asian hub that it is, there are 'dayrooms' for rent, and we're supposed to fly out tomorrow anyway.

As it turns out, we can spend the night in a 'dayroom*.' "Whew!"

*the 'dayroom' is paid by the hour and cost us twice as much as any accommodation we had paid up until this point on our trip - still 4 times cheaper than the other options presented to us by our 'case agent.'

Suddenly, we're excited; the rest of our trip stays on track, and we don't have to spend an unplanned $800 on absurd get-out-of-dodge airline tickets. Not only that, but the Bangkok airport suddenly looks like a lot of fun! This, knowing we'll be there for the next 20 hours until we can fly to Bali via Singapore the next afternoon.

"What's this (?), we'll be here for more than 12 hours?"


"What (?), we need to have a special security guard assigned to us AND pay for him out of OUR pockets to follow us around." Hmmm. "No extra charge (?) for his handcuffs, c.b., whistle and special hat - ok."

"Really, let's make the best of this."

Alas, despite minor defeat upon arrival, I was able to accomplish everything* (well 3/4ths, at least) that I had on my short Thai-checklist from within this sterile, regulated, neetly-packaged terminal.

*editor's note: we honeymooned in Thailand and had a wonderful visit 6 years earlier

1) Acquire several of those eucalyptus, nasal inhalers - ahhhhhhh!

2) Thai maaassaaaage - check.

3) Pick up Indonesia 'Lonely Planet' - payable in Thai Bhat, Euro's or U.S. dollars

4) Purchase pirated, Tag Heuer, wrist watch - foiled!

Unfortunately, the only real disappointment lies in the fact that it seems the Duty Free shops in the Thai airport (unlike their street-side counterparts) aren't fond of illegitimate replications.

In the end, the moral of the story is:

"I'll have to look somewhere else to get my hands on some quality overseas booty!"


Asi es! una mas que le debemos a la crisis Argentina es que en el 2002 hayan cambiado la legislacion de inmigracion para los argentinos que ahora necesitan visa para entrar a Thailandia, lo cual no fue necesario cuando vinimos de luna de miel en el 2000... Asi que llegamos desde Casablanca luego de 13 horas de vuelo con un transbordo en Dubai y muy cansados,para enterarnos que no podiamos salir del aeropuerto ya que yo necesitaba tramitar mi visa en Argentina! Por supuesto que yo habia llamado a la embajada alla en Bs Aires y me habian dicho que no necesitaba Visa y lo mismo dice en su pagina de internet, pero por mas que protestamos largamente no se hicieron cargo de la informacion desactualizada que habiamos recibido! Nosotros teniamos que pasar la noche en Bangkok ya que hay un solo vuelo a Bali que lo tomabamos recien maniana, asi que estabamos en problemas... Eso si, la chica de la aerolinea que nos daba las malas noticias nos tuvo mucha paciencia ya que casi la liquido con mis propias manos cuando nos dijo que teniamos que volver a Dubai y sacar nuestra Visa en la embajada de Argentina ahi antes de embarcar hacia Thailandia, imaginense nuestra cara de espanto !!! yo insistia que era su falta por dar mala informacion a los visitantes y ademas la falta del aeropuerto de Marruecos que nos dejo subir al avion sin fijarse si necesitabamos visa, es mas, nos dijeron que no la necesitaba, en fin... La chica de la aerolinea que nos estaba ayudando nos estaba averiguando la posibilidad de salir en otro vuelo hoy para Bali y el costo era de $600 dolares, cuando gracias a mi inteligencia innata se me ocurrio preguntarle si no nos podiamos quedar en el hotel del aeropuerto en transito hasta maniana (sin pasar por migracion), fui a averiguar el precio para pasar la noche aca adentro y salia $160 dolares, mucho menos que dos pasajes nuevos a Bali, eso si, como solo se permiten 12 horas en transito en el aeropuerto y nosotros vamos a pasar unas 20 horitas aca, nos informo la chica que teniamos que contratar un guarda del aeropuerto para que nos siguiera a donde fueramos, si, escucharon bien, un guardaespaldas! jajaja! y de nuestro bolsillo, asi que otros $25 dolares mas y aca estamos, con un thailandes de uniforme que nos sigue a todos lados, a distancia prudencial, me imagino que para asegurarse que no salgamos del aeropuerto y para asegurarse de que embarquemos maniana en nuestro vuelo al mediodia. Todo una aventura thailandesa!!! Por suerte habia un hotel dentro del aeropuerto, asi que vamos a dormir bien y con intimidad sino imaginense a este guarda durmiendo en los bancos del aeropuerto con nosotros! hubiese sido de pesadilla, jajaja! El hotel esta bastante bien, basico pero al menos vamos a ducharnos y salir fresquitos maniana para Bali, con escala en Singapore. Recien llegaremos a Bali a las 9 de la noche y tenemos el hotel reservado, esperemos que no nos reciban con cambios en su legislacion inmigratoria para nosotros los pobres argentinos... Hasta la proxima entonces, vamos a ver si nos sacamos una foto con nuestro guardaespaldas asi lo conocen, jajaja :)
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