Current Location: Bangkok, Thailand – Khao San Road
Current Weather: 91° F (feels like 104°F)
Days Gone: 2
Days Remaining: 213
I’ve had a hell of a time getting to Bangkok. My route was supposed to be Louisville-Chicago-Tokyo-Bangkok and my total travel time was supposed to take about 24 hours. For those curious, the flight was purchased from CheapoAir.com for $1160 (pretty cheap to get to the other side of the planet) and, of course, was non-refundable and non-changable. After a delayed flight out of Louisville (SDF) caused a missed connection in Chicago by approximately 73 seconds – I was told I would be stuck in Chicago for the night at my own expense (weather-related delay). The next flight out was the following day at the same time, 24 hours later exactly.
So, I needed a few things. First, a place to sleep for the night. Second, food to sustain me. Third, something to occupy my time to maintain sanity. Keep in mind that I am now in backpacker budget mode, a terrible mode to be in while still inside the United States. But all was not lost, I managed to stay fed, sleep in a hotel, and contact home for under $20. First, I made a friend with a phone, a girl in the complaints line missed the same connection as me for the same reason. I then found us a free way to get wifi, the complimentary Westin shuttle; the McDonald’s near the Westin offers free wifi (and a dollar menu to boot).
From McDonald’s I checked sleepinginairports.com to discover that the O’Hare airport actually has a chapel in which people have successfully slept in the past. This was my backup plan, but I didn’t want to sleep on a floor the night before boarding 18 hours of international flights. I found a hotel that offered free wifi, shuttle service, and hot breakfast for $70 (the Quality Inn) and booked it using a $50 BRG coupon dropping the price to $20 + $9 tax (read more about how to get these at http://bestrateguarantee.blogspot.com/). My new airport friend also needed a hotel so we split the cost and that made my night in Chicago a mere $14!
My flight the following day was then delayed by five hours due to mechanical problems. At least this time they gave everyone meal vouchers, so I couped up in Chile’s for a couple hours with some more airport friends. To all people who shared my pain dealing with United, I give a special shout out to Vanessia, Melvin O., Katie of Indonesia, and Jessica of seat 57K.
My flight to Tokyo was successful and I did manage to take some cool photos of some mountain range near Alaska. In Tokyo I was greeted with vertical scrolling marquees of Kanji and very high-tech toilets complete with bum-washer and deodorizer buttons. I also had to go through security again where they took my scissors. My Tokyo-Bangkok flight was brilliant because I somehow got an exit row for free and nobody was sitting next to me. Once arriving I made it through immigration with little delay and customs consisted of a nice Thai man waving me onward with no baggage checks. I found an ATM and pulled out 10,000 baht (about $308) to get me started (ATMs will give you the best exchange rate, take out large sums to avoid acruing lots of international charges). I also found a vendor to break down a few of my 1,000 baht notes so that I could pay for my taxi with exact change.
The taxi from the airport was metered so no haggling was reqired, and the roads were clear as it was 4 AM. The 40 minute ride cost me 450 baht ($13.87) and left me on the corner of a dirty street where the driver pointed and said “walk rest of way.” I confirmed that the road I was on was actually Khao San Road before letting the guy leave. After a bit of walking and an offer of prositution, I found an English speaking hotel worker with a map. Thus, I made it to my hostel where they actually had held a bed for me! I’m currently staying at NapPark Hostel. I fell asleep at about 5 am, woke up to sun shining in after what I though was a long night’s sleep only to discover it was only 2 hours later. This time change stuff is weird.Now it’s going on 10 AM and I’m going to go grab a shower and some breakfast and head out to explore the area by day.
I need to buy a power adapter, scissors, a knife or multi-tool (mine tiny multi-tool was taken at Louisville airport security), and a razor or beard-trimmer. Finding these things and remaining awake until a “normal” bedtime are my goals of the day.
Last thing consumed: Chicken Teriyaki (airplane style)
Thought fragment: I must remember that I can no longer drink tap water nor flush toilet paper.
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