A Travel Day: Tempers Left at Check In.
Gazillions of Italians, Germans, Swedes and Brits, each family with numerous squawking children,
numerous over-sized bags, all starting their Easter vacations, all exhausted from their connecting flights from all over the world, converge on Gates 8 through 10 at Bangkok International Airport. Some are headed for Chiang Mai, others to a destination we have never heard of. Most are on the 1:00 flight to Phuket with us. It’s a Travel Day: deep breaths.
Our morning has been relatively quiet, packing and repacking for the 10 days away from Bangkok, leaving our big suitcases at the hotel in Bangkok until we get back. Today we are heading to Phuket for 5 days, and then travel north to Chiang Mai in time to celebrate Songkran there. Songkran is the Thai Lunar New Year water festival when Buddha images are bathed, and monks and elders receive the respect of younger Thais through the sprinkling of water (sometimes throwing and squirting with water cannons) over their hands. We understand that a lot of water is generously splashed about and that the parade in Chiang Mai will be attended by thousands.
Our flight is over 40 minutes late in taking off and we ascend into a major lightning storm. But the hour and ten-minute flight to Phuket is uneventful, except for the most efficient service of a complete meal we’ve ever seen on an airplane. The tourists on vacation do the typical hand clapping at touchdown and John and I laugh to each other, having accomplished 11 flights since we left Toronto. Travel day. Keep. Judgements. In. Check.
We are staying at Patong Beach and for those of you who don’t know Phuket, it is busy, gregarious and raucous. We are staying at the Club Bamboo, a 5 minute, 100 baht (approximately $3 CDN) Tuk Tuk ride to downtown. We are out of the loud, honky-tonk center of this typical beach town. Our ultimate goal here is to do some diving and we head into town to check out the dive shops and book a day out on Tuesday. We find a $5 CDN all-you-can-eat buffet of scrummy and spicy Thai curries and rice and a couple (several) Singha Beers in the Paradise section of Patong then grab a brightly lit Tuk Tuk home.
Travel day accomplished! No frayed nerves, no mishaps, no end of a marriage!