There were signs posted all over the Panda House advertising flights to Bangkok for 1950 baht (about $56.00 USD). This was twice as much as the train, but we decided to do it. I talked to the girl at the travel desk. The earliest flight she could get us on was 15:20 on Air Asia. It arrived at the old Bangkok airport at 16:10. Good. We took it. She also arranged for transportation to the airport.
I liked going to the old airport because it was so much closer to town. We could take a cab to our guest house for about $7.00 USD vs. $30.00 USD from the new airport.
I booked a room online at the Sawasdee Bangkok Inn on Khaosan Road, the same place we stayed before. Then we took a walk through a nearby Wat where Sea prayed at several
places. After that we crossed the moat into the historic district of Chiang Mai for a while. About noon we returned to Panda House for a bit of lunch, and to await the van to the airport.
About 13:00 we left for the airport, arriving about 13:20. It was too early to check in for the flight, so Sea indulged in a Dairy Queen banana split. I had an expensive cup of coffee. Finally we checked in and walked to the gate area. There was a band playing Thai folk music on traditional instruments there. It was a pleasant change from the usual airport music. There was a massage place at the gate, but Sea thought she would be ticklish, so she declined the chance.
Our boarding passes showed a certain gate number, but at that gate there was a different flight. The monitors agreed with our passes. I asked the girl at the gate what was going on. She said our flight would leave from the gate on the passes, but later. Luckily I kept my eye on the monitor and suddenly the gate for our flight changed.
We walked to the new gate just as
it opened. We were the first to board the plane. It was an ancient MD-80. I have always thought these were the smoothest riding planes I ever flew. I don’t know why the design went away, but it did. The interior of the plane was in pretty good shape, making me feel better about flying on a 40+ year old aircraft.
We took off right on time and the flight was smooth and uneventful except for the landing. We were almost on the ground when the plane started going back up. I felt the landing gear retract as we climbed. We started making a wide circle. The pilot came on and told us we had been waved off the original approach and were going around for another try. He didn’t give a reason, but said there was no problem. A few minutes later we were on the ground.
We gathered our bag and got a cab. I had written Khaosan Road on a piece of paper to show the driver. He looked at it and kept asking what hotel. I told him Bangkok Inn, but Khaosan Road is a pedestrian only thoroughfare. I told him he he could
drop us off at either end and we would walk to it. After what seemed like a too long ride he pulled up the the Bangkok City Inn, not the Bangkok Inn. I told him no, and unpacked a map to show him where Khaosan Road was. OK, now he understood. He blamed his error on my mispronunciation of “Khaosan.” Never mind that I had it written down, and never mind that it had to be one of the most popular and well known destinations in Bangkok.
Finally we got to Khaosan Road and out of the taxi. The meter said 271 baht. That was probably 71 baht too much because of the driver’s error. And he kept asking for 300 baht. I did not understand the reason why. Sea gave him exactly 271 baht. I was afraid he would make a scene, but he didn’t. Often taxi drivers are a person’s first encounter in a city or even a country. You get a bad one and it colors the rest of your visit.
We walked to the Bangkok Inn and checked in. The clerk remembered us and gave us an upgraded room with two beds on the
first floor. I guess in a tourist area you don’t get a lot of return business. I thanked him. We went upstairs.
When we walked in the room Sea went ballistic. I misunderstood her and thought she was angry because it was smaller than our other room. I pointed out it was the same size, but might seem smaller because it had two beds instead of one. This didn’t mollify her. “OK.” I said, “If you don’t like it go downstairs and see if the clerk has one to your liking. I’ll wait here.” I wheeled the bag into the hall and waited. In a few minutes Sea and the clerk returned. Sea was speaking in Chinese. She kicked the bed. The clerk was speaking in Thai/English. I was looking for a rock to crawl under. I could tell the problem would not be resolved. Finally, I said the room was fine, and apologized for the trouble. I took our bags back into the room.
Sea was still pissed. I said let’s go out for a walk and dinner. She refused. I said “OK, I’ll go alone.” I left, stopping by reception to apologize again.
to a cafe that had tables on the sidewalk. I had a couple of beers and did some people watching. A food cart came by selling fresh steamed corn. I got a cup with butter and salt, one of Sea’s favorite foods. I took it to the room. Sea accepted it, but was still angry, so I left again.
I walked around for a couple more hours, pausing from time to time for a beer. I had a nice pizza for dinner. It was on paper thin crust, just like I like it. And it had fresh basil, another favorite of mine. At about 23:30 I returned to the room. Sea was asleep. I went to bed.
The next morning I told Sea I thought she was out of line the night before. The clerk gave us a better room on a lower floor for the same price as the one on the third floor. A light went on. She thought the clerk was going to charge us more for the better room. She didn’t realize the upgrade was free.
Embarrassed, she went to look for the clerk to apologize, but his shift was over by then.
We went down for breakfast. Later that day she found the clerk and told him she was sorry for misunderstanding. The clerk was a good sport about everything.
Sawasdee Bangkok Inn
Home of abused clerks