30 October, 2010

Another Night in Bangkok…

I arrived at the Bangkok airport at 9:30pm and prepared myself for my 13 hour layover…although visions of a lonely vacant airport quickly were diminished. I stared in awe at a 4-story monstrosity complete with a ‘temple’ coffee shop.

I adjusted my backpack and began to walk. I walked and walked around this airport that could rival the greatest of malls and which had the cleanest nicest bathrooms in the history of airport bathrooms!

I rode up and down escalators, walked up and down seemingly endless corridors and viewed shop after duty-free shop.

I passed up a Starbucks (realizing the last thing I needed at that hour was a coffee!); shed a tear at the burger king; opted out of the free suitcase you would get if purchasing 3 bottles of Johnnie Walker liquor;

And the life-size cement dog. 

I was taken aback at the Eminem soundtrack blaring from one of the electronic shops. Not being a fan of the rapper and knowing he is far from the “melts in your mouth; not in your hands” candy, I relied on my Microsoft Word program which promptly spell-checked the name for me.

I sat for a spell to get on the computer and was struck by that “I forgot something” feeling…and after complete inspection of my backpack; which I knew all along would not end in happiness, I zipped it all up with a sigh…my power cord was sitting in Kate’s apartment back in Phnom Penh. I remember distinctly thinking that I mustn’t forget to pack it, but, alas…I did.

I figured it wouldn’t hurt to look around and see if I could buy another one; although also knowing it would probably be more expensive than the computer. I found a Computer shop and to my delight they had a multipurpose power cord that can power anything using a USB port or one of the many plugs it comes with. As I looked at the price tag which was around 4,000 Bhat the guy informed me that it was around 200 USD and my heart sank. Realizing by the look on my face that he was not going to make that sale, he produced another version of the cord. To me it looked identical and since there was no point in comparing the two after hearing the 68USD price and verifying that it worked, I promptly bought it.

I then asked the guy if there was an outlet I could charge my computer with. He said they were around the airport and I should look for a metal plate on the floor or a tile that opens. I glanced at where he was pointing and thought; “Are you serious?” I didn’t really want to go around trying to pry up miscellaneous areas of the airport floor. There are many places in the world I simply do not have a desire to visit and a Thai prison is high on the list! I was on the lookout for a charging station which I have seen in other airports, but after 20 minutes of walking and none in sight, I started glancing at the floor. There were big screen TV’s everywhere which had to be plugged into something so maybe the floor thing had some merit. I found a couple but it looked like someone (who’s now serving 20 years) had tried to pry open.

I saw one of the tile opening things, but still bogged down by “homeland security” fears, I passed on by.

About ready to give up, I leaned up against a window to rest and low and behold, the computer guy was right! I saw one that was open and it did indeed have an outlet! Unfortunately there weren’t any seats nearby and there was a huge air vent blowing arctic winds on me, so I knew I wouldn’t be able to stay there.

As I walked away with a new knowledge of understanding, I saw the official plug station I was previously looking for!

By that time it was 2:00 AM and while my computer charged; I amused myself by taking photos of in the glass ceiling

…that didn’t last long, so I dozed on probably the hardest metal seats in the airport; surely put there to discourage people from hogging the plugs for hours by dozing. After about an hour and freezing cold, I moved on for no other reason than to get warm blood moving throughout my body. As I walked, I saw that many shops were still open although the airport was clearing out of travelers walking around. As in a maze, I trudged on turning this corner or that; walking up or down. I was completely and utterly over stimulated at that point and walking like a zombie, but once a vision of coffee entered my mind, I knew I needed to calm down and find a place to get at least a couple hours of good sleep.

Eventually my 10:30am flight made its way on to the digital flight lists and I headed closer to gate C4. As I got near, I stumbled upon a sleeping area! Big lazy-boy type seats that reclined! I settled down in one of the chairs and to my dismay, the chair I was in did not recline…obviously why it was empty…because it was dark and I didn’t know that there was 3 more areas of chairs further down the way and at that point I was too tired and almost physically unable to move by butt out of the chair, I curled up best I could and crashed!

Around 7am the place started hopping and as I rubbed my sleepy eyes and sat up, I was startled by all the new faces sleeping in the chairs around me. The words of Dorothy Gayle “People come and go so quickly here” crossed my mind as I set my IPod alarm for 8:30 and went back to sleep.

After freshening up and buying a $7 coffee and bagel (both were quite good – not really worth 7$, but oh well, what’s a hungry girl to do?), I settled down once again, this time at my gate. My flight was uneventful and I arrived in Kathmandu at 12:30p, took a taxi to HVP School and was met at the gates by Jagannath. As it’s a holiday in Nepal (a month long!) the only one at the school, Jagannath, showed me to the room I would be staying in. I took a short snooze then went upstairs on the roof deck to enjoy the last bit of sun before it started to get cold. Ahhhh…..chia at last……

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