Oh the humidity!!!!
Trip Start Aug 17, 2009
43Trip End Jul 20, 2010
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Where I stayed
In the original plan I was to fly from Dublin to London-Heathrow at 1:30 on Tuesday, arrive in Heathrow by 3pm, have 6 hours to bail my suitcase out of jail (aka - the left luggage desk), then repack suitcases, ship a box home with stuff I wouldn't need in Thailand, then hop a 9:30pm flight to Bangkok, arrive in Bangkok 3pm the next day and check into our hotel downtown. That was the perfect-world plan. Reality was way different.
In reality we discovered on Monday night that our flight from London to Bangkok on Tuesday night was canceled because of the ash cloud. Interestingly my flight from Dublin to London still went without issue. We were automatically re-booked on the same Bangkok flight just leaving on Wednesday instead, but it was a whole process and headache to actually confirm that we were re-booked, but it did happen. Unfortunately, this meant Rebecca and I had to shell out $40 a piece for a hotel close to Heathrow. We landed at Heathrow, headed for the hotel, got horribly lost and turned around, finally managed to flag a cab (after nearly 20 minutes waiting), checked in to the hotel, then turned right around to go back to Heathrow to get our big suitcases from lockup. Hauled everything back to the hotel and proceeded to pull EVERYTHING out of our suitcases and repack to get our luggage under the weight limit. EVA Air allows 20kg of checked baggage. Thats 44 lbs!!! 44 LBS!!!! On an international flight!! The overweight charge is then 35L per extra Kg. When we did the math on our overweight bags, which on any normal flight would have been only slightly overweight, this charge meant we would have ended up each paying $1200 for overweight luggage. (I'll pause here while you all pick your jaws up off the floor and stop screaming WHAT?!?!?! ............Better?) So we spent several hours Tuesday night repacking our checked bags, tossing things that we hadn't planned on tossing, packing bags to ship home and packing a bag to ship to Thailand through the excess baggage people
Well we got up on Wednesday, finished packing, checked out at noon and headed for the airport to figure out how to spend the 9+ hours until our flight took off at 9:30pm. We started out heading back to the baggage place to ship suitcases to Thailand, only to discover that they could only ship from Heathrow to Bangkok Airport, rather than to the hotel. This will become an issue in about a week, which I'll get into in a moment. Well, I gave the guy my bag, he xrayed it, said I had to take out the batteries (huh?) which of course were at the bottom of the bag. There was a ton of paperwork, I was already getting cranky because it just seemed like the guy wasn't hearing me. Well, we finally get to the part where I pay, I give him my debit card which I know has enough money on it to cover this, he runs it through, and its declined! Runs it again. Declined! Well now I'm starting to panic. I'm about to leave for Thailand, I have only about 150L on me, and its too early to call my credit union at home. So I try the ATM. Declined. Now I'm really in panic mode. Quickly do the math, figure its 6am at home, silently apologize to the parents, and call. Thankfully mom was up already, she answers, and in the middle of the airport I lose it!
Next stop was to drop off luggage with EVA. So, standing in line at the counter, there are 2 people manning the desks, a man and a woman. We can tell the woman it being really strict with weights, including weighing carry-ons, so inside I'm thinking "please let me get the guy." I did! Tossed my suitcase up there, all 23kg of it (which made it about 1/2 full) he checks it in, slaps a tag on it, gives me my boarding pass, asks if the seat is okay, says have a nice day. Whoo hoo!!
Well, by now I've dropped off all my luggage, money issues are mostly resolved and we head for the concourse and chill for the flight. Flight leaves on time, 11 hours and some turbulence later we land in Bangkok. Met at the airport and driven the 3 hours to Hua Hin, which is south of Bangkok. Because of all the political issues the school finally decided that they wouldn't have us stay in Bangkok, at least until things are under control. Of course, this all probably has something to do with the fact that my school is right off the square where the main protest area is and my hotel was inside the "live fire zone." We arrived in Hua Hin about 7pm, checked into the hotel, ate dinner and went to bed, A/C blasting away. I hate humidity.
I had to get up early the next day, no sleeping in to recover. We were off to a nearby summer palace of the royal family. Built in the 1920's the palace sits on the beach and was quite lovely. There were also wonderful breezes, which made the heat and humidity a bit more bearable. After the palace we stopped at a market for lunch. Definitely one of the "yep, I'm in Asia" moments, sort of iffy looking, but I had some delicious Patthai.
After lunch we were taken to a farm established in the 1970's by the king. I don't really have much to say about it, it was an interesting idea, but jet lag, heat, humidity, and an early morning made me less then enthusiastic. I did find a new snack though, dried Jack fruit. Very yummy. Sort of like a potato chip, but better.
The rest of the weekend was pretty uneventful, with the exception of my experience grocery shopping at 7-11. I don't really have a kitchen, so cooking isn't really an option, thankfully its cheap to go out to eat. On Sunday I also had a $14 head, back and shoulder massage and a pedicure.
Class started today, with our first class being our capstone class. The campus here is very nice, but pretty far from where we are living right now. Webster has a bus that picks us up though, so thats nice. I also had a chance to explore the rest of Hua Hin today, and found the mall and the grocery store. No more shopping at 7-11.
So here we are, beginning of week 1 of the last term. Only 8 more weeks and I will be done and home. Start the countdown, I'm sure it will go fast!