Last Trek to Bangkok (for a while…)

The flight out of Thailand I’d originally booked was for September 27– three days before my visa expired. On account of bringing the mangy pup along with me (the process for this will get its own post, also jokes about my disparaging tone, I love that little pup  and miss him like crazy right now!), I had to be in Bangkok three days before my flight to get him checked out at airport quarantine. So we were alllll set to leave on the night of Sunday, the 23rd and… then that itty bitty accident happened and we postponed by a week. Meaning I was going to end up overstaying my visa by four days, at 500 baht (nearly $20) a day, but no matter. Priorities!

So instead, the evening of the 30th Wayne and I were hopping our train (in quite a frenzy, I might add) with help from lots of friends and neighbors to figure out which train to get on and how to get there (who knew Thung Song had two platforms?) and how to get Ollie situated and then… before we knew it we were in Bangkok. First order of business was to get Ollie in and out of quarantine and kenneled (and again, I’ll do a more detailed post on this later). We found one cab driver who would help us run all our errands; a very nice man with an interesting name.

(and his last name actually means ‘nice’)

Mister Bandit did the whole circuit (including the hour+ long wait at quarantine and another long wait at the kennel) for 1200 baht, $40, which I don’t suppose is too bad a deal.

First order of business on Khao San Road, as always, was lunch at Ethos. This involved a veggie burger, a tempeh burger, and one of the loveliest pots of chai tea I ever did see.

It started raining so we ended up booking a room in the very inexpensive guesthouse next door. Wayne napped and I worked on my accident essay, and then I think we walked around Khao San a bit. Our plans for the evening involved grabbing a pizza (also very standard travel practice for us) and then catching The Dark Knight Rises— on Imax at the Siam Paragon shopping center. It was a really cool movie to watch on Imax but plot-wise I must admit I wasn’t blown away. I’ve accepted that a more recent viewing of Batman Begins might have improved my viewing experience (I was all, “League of what?”) but in any case we had fun.

how could we have turned down such clearly authentic mexican food?! there’s a dancing, guitar-playing cactus and everything.

ran into this guy at siam paragon

siam paragon

The next day we– surprise!– walked around Khao San. In fact, the next few days were pretty much a blur of walking around Khao San, shopping on Khao San, getting massages on Khao San, eating sushi on Khao San, and making one hectic trip to a pet store to get Ollie some special dishes that clipped to the door of his kennel.

at taketei sushi, a place that didn’t get the greatest reviews but that we enjoyed considerably. (bonus! lady-in-wineglass)

sated

last reggae bar stop-in, last leo beer!

walking around on the last day, saw a little hedgehog in a bucket on the street.

So then Wednesday night rolled around, and it was time to head back to the airport. Though my flight wasn’t until 2:40 on Thursday morning, Ollie’s kennel closed at 8:30 pm so we just had to accept we’d be spending a good few hours in the airport that night. It’s worth mentioning that people from Qatar Airways knew that we were in the airport, and that the dog was with us. So it was a bit of a shock and a bit disappointment to be approached as soon as we entered the check-in line, at midnight, and told, “Oh… you are taking your dog?”
“Yes, and I’ve spoken with representatives in your Bangkok office numerous times over the past week. I have all his paperwork here.”
“Yes, well, there is a problem. We didn’t know but… there are human remains on this plane and… dog and human remains cannot fly together. Do you have to fly today?”
“Well, yes… I’m already overstaying my visa…”

Well, as many of you already know, human remains take precedence over dogs and I did not, in fact, fly that day. I had to work a little harder than I think I should have had to to get my hotel comped that evening (initially they were essentially telling me to sort myself out and keep my receipts and then maybe I’d be covered… I finally had to be like, “No. What I want is for you to find a hotel where my boyfriend and I can sleep tonight, and where my dog can stay tonight, because this is your mistake, not mine– well, I mean, not specifically yours, but… you know, your company’s– and because it’s midnight and I’ve been here four hours already and am tired, and then I want to be put on the next available flight to Washington because I haven’t been home in a year and a half.” “…okay. Let me see what I can do.”), but they ended up setting us up in the airport hotel (heralded by the airport shuttle as the “Fifth Best Airport Hotel in the World!”) and gave Ollie a nice little spot in the security office and let me eat free from the buffet the whole next day so. In the end not a big deal I guess. Wayne and I got one more lazy day together.

view from our window

ooooooh

ahhhhh

final family pic. in retrospect we probably should have chosen a different photographer

As it turned out it was Wayne leaving me, as he had to depart from the hotel to catch a train before it was finally time for me to really check-in. The airport experience wasn’t that fantastic… Ollie, who’d been just so good the whole trip, was finally getting freaked out by the whole experience and started barking and growling like crazy as he was being checked in, the stupid security people took my brand new thing of body butter Wayne’s mom gave me for my birthday (total First World Problem, I know, but it was an emotional time…), and I got charged in full for my visa overstay, including the extra day that was in no way my fault and which Qatar Airways also claimed was not their responsibility. But hey, water under the bridge at this point I suppose.

big ol’ ticket from the overstay office

And thus ended my time in Thailand! Shed a few tears as the plane was taking off for sure and still don’t think I’ve fully processed that that chapter has closed, but I know endings just make way for new beginnings and I’m excited for the next adventure (and have definitely enjoyed my time at home so far, reconnecting with old friends and family).

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