My Travels

My Travels
Koh Phangan, Thailand

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Feel the Anticipation- my going to Thailand journal entry!

While I am off exploring Bangkok on my first full day here, I thought I would share with you my feelings (random musings included) with going to this oft-talked about city and country of Thailand. Here, for your viewing and reading pleasure is my journal entry (with slight editing and enhancements) written on the plane to Bangkok. I traveled from Seoul to Guangzhou, China and then to Bangkok. The total flight time was 6 hours 50 minutes. Ten hours, fifteen minutes if you count the layovers (I do) :



I am on my way to Thailand! I will be there in less than two hours if I have the time difference down right- it is 6:27pm according to my computer which is still in Korea time. (Thai time is 2 hours ahead of Korea, 11 hours ahead of New York.) Find out the time difference between Bangkok and your city here


I was having lunch with my friend before I left and was telling her how I don’t think it has kicked in yet that I am actually going to be going to Thailand- it’s like a dream, I don’t believe it yet. When we were getting ready for take off, though, I felt a burst of excitement. I then was amused with a foreign guy's antics (or lack thereof-foreign meaning non Asian. Since I had moved to Korea, I started using the term 'foreigner' to describe myself and other non natives of the country, sometimes this confuses/amuses my friends when I refer to myself as a foreigner. In Thailand, foreigners are called 'farangs' which is used mostly in the same way foreigner is and rarely used in a negative sense.) So anyway, this foreigner sat with the two Thai girls in front of me, only to shortly later get kicked out, because it was not his assigned seat. His smile in response to this was cheesy in my book, but to him I think it must have been an award winning cute, oh-look-you-caught-me smile, as he turned around and flashed his pearly whites to the girls who looked at each other and giggled (nervously?).  He cheerily explained to his bouncer, the Asian guy who owned the seat, that he thought the seat was empty. He then moved forward to his rightful throne seat in front of them.

New Experiences: free as a bird or learning why the caged bird sings?

As I sit watching this take place, more serious concerns fill my mind. I might not even be allowed in the country, as I don’t have what is apparently required: a return or outward ticket anywhere. So I thought I would go online at the airport or on the plane when I realized this and buy a cheap bus ticket or train ticket online to the nearest country. It’s not meant to be though. No internet. The airline attendant didn’t understand me at first when I asked about it. Some flights do have internet, so I thought it was a sure bet. It’s international from China, after all. I hope this doesn't mean I will end up in some type of tourist jail.



The attendant checking my bags in Seoul told me that China might give me some problems, so it would be up to me to solve it if they let me through. China didn’t give me any problems. (Did she mean the airline or the country?) The country didn't give me any problems anyway, Thank God!
But the Thailand entry cards they handed out hint to me that it’s a rather serious matter. They ask for your entry and return information- down to the flight (“or other vehicle: number).


A loudspeaker announces they are giving us the option to buy things while in the air. We can’t use internet to get a way out of the country, but sure we will let you shop in the sky. How do people get what they buy? I was wondering that on the first flight to China- and figured they wouldn’t keep everything on board. But my seat mate just ordered cigarettes. So maybe they do have some stuff available. I was thinking about the big and fancy items that you could buy from a plane. Now my seat mate is singing in quite a funny way, I must say, in a scratchy voice and a weird tune, as if he’s singing some mix of punk, and sad romance song. Not sure if I am into it. Followed by a phlegmy cough and a not so discreet spit into the airline barf bag. Maybe he shouldn’t have those cigarettes?

Okay, so I really can’t wait to get off the plan and into Thailand! Maybe I can make a run for it? Doubtful, as my luggage is way too heavy. Not to mention the heat. I really must pack lighter. Maybe some training would help too.





On the flight to China, we got off the plane and went down the stairs to go outside, which threw me off a little (along with no sleep the night before) as I don't think I had ever done that before in my limited flight experience (which consists of about ten planes to get to the jungles of Brazil and almost 30 hours total to get to Korea by 3 planes. Although on second thought, I may have. All those planes and switch overs in the Brazil jungles kind of blur together).

I don’t know if they had the cigarettes for my seatmate, I must be in luck. Not so for my seatmate? At least he will live longer?

I am scared about the heat, so I put shorts on underneath. It’s the hottest time of the year now in Thailand and it doesn’t get any cooler in the evenings. I booked a hostel for the first night in Bangkok.


I was thinking before how I felt a bit like the crew in Lost on the plane when they had to get rid of stuff to get the plane lighter as it was running out of fuel. I felt like that myself, having to take most of my stuff from my apartment with me, so it was very heavy and awkward to carry, which definitely will not bode well with the heat.

Here's to some trekking of my own- maybe a jungle trek?



So I was thinking of what I don’t need and was slowly trying to get rid of it. Left my umbrella at the airport bus stop- it was pouring out so someone will need it and I already got my use out of it- going straight to the airport so didn't need it anymore. Then I left my book that I was planning on giving away on BookCrossing- great site for readers/travelers on a bench in the airport- I know I know, that will not help me get into China if they suspect me of suspicious activity at the airport. But the fuel was running out and I had to drop things fast.



I changed the coins I had into bills since the banks apparently closed by 4pm  or so, which caused me to lug all the coins with my already packed luggage and carry-on. Not so good. Especially when it broke the paper bag it was in, sending all my stuff crashing to the floor of the bus as I was getting off. At least I was the last person on the bus. The bus driver was kind and tried to find a bag for me but only found a little plastic baggie type one. It worked for a few things, the rest I shoved into other bags.

 Now I am numbering off the items I will get rid of, looking forward to a lighter bag, even it if it a slow process- item by item , bit by bit, kind of like leaving a trail of breadcrumbs. I had brought stuff I might take home, stuff I might use to volunteer and/or donate in Thailand as well as stuff I would need in Taiwan to teach and live there. But I must have the mindset of the Lost crew- if you are running out of fuel- what can go?

And believe me when I say carrying almost 20 pounds on each arm and on your back definitely makes you run out of fuel fast.

It makes me look at those massage chairs at the airport with a new sense of wonder and curiosity, that I might actually try one.
So looking forward to the beaches and the island and meeting the locals and learning the language and the full moon party and the Thai New Year (Songrakan) big water fight blow out!

I have been learning a little about the culture, and I'm ready to jump into the water with both feet. to dive into the water. to go deep sea diving. To get my diving instructor license!

But really, I would love to see if teaching here would definitely be something I want to do in the future! Right now, maybe not, because of finances. But definitely once I get those finances in order!  Imagine living and teaching on this beautiful country of islands and beaches and jungles? I can only imagine this and cannot wait! And I may just have to get that diving instructor certification while I'm at it!






5 comments:

Amy said...

SO loved reading about your trip to Thailand! So did you wind up making it ok? Hopefully they didn't give ya any trouble getting into the country since you didn't have a planned return trip. What other things do you plan on giving away? I was surprised to hear you had so much, since I thought you'd already condensed your stuff. Loved the picture of Thailand! You'll hafta scope out the teaching scene and let me know what its like! Looking forward to more posts and was so happy and excited to see this one in my email! :D

martina said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Alena

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Jenifer said...

Amy, we still should look into teaching there together or at least visiting! My time there was so amazing and definitely would love to return soon!

Martina, I am glad that you are enjoying reading along! Thank you so much for taking the time to visit and comment! There will be more to come soon :) Where would you go if you could go anywhere?

Amy said...

haha funny story...i was just googling pics of thailand beaches and the pic you have on this blog post was the first one that showed up and when i moved my cursor over it i saw it said "Jennifer S. Monsoon Mind: Musings and Migrations" and i was like OMG that's Jen's blog..so i read this thailand post again and enjoyed it very much, its been quite a long time since i read it so some it was like i was reading it again for the first time, wondering what was going to happen w/ the flight situation and just picturing you losing all your change on the bus..haha so you Jen! And also its funny that we talked about back in april visiting or teaching in thailand (at the time i didnt think it'd be happening) but now am so psyched that it is actually going to happen!! its so surreal! I can also relate to not believing its actually gonna happen like you talked about in the beginning of your post..i still cant believe that we'll be going to thailand this summer!! well anyways hope to ttys (now that i just wrote a book!)

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