What really happened on March 1. First, we flew from Siem Reap to BKK at 11 AM. Since this was the first time we had landed in the day time, it was the first time we had seen the Bangkok Airport Golf Course. Strategically placed between runways 2 and 3, this 18 hole course (half of the holes are on the other side of runway 3), the course is only accessible by government officials and visiting dignitaries. I think they need some thing like that at SFO, although I think people would be a bit cranky about having to remove their golf shoes to get through security.
Joel and I are headed for Koh Samui, the second largest island in Thailand, one of the most developed and a fantastic little tropical paradise. Only about 23 square Kilometres [the whole thing can be circled in 2 ½ hours with no traffic....but that is unlikely], it is a very warm friendly place with many different beaches and styles of vacationing to choose from. There is the action packed Chaweng Beach, the nightlife center of the island. There is Maenam and Bohput, the quieter, more upscale north section. There is Lamai, to the south and then west of Chaweng, which is supposed to be a bit seedy [we didn't go] There are also many developing beaches in the south after Lamai. Everything you could want is here from 5 star hotels and spas to "back to nature" bungalows and everything in between.
We arrived at The Bangkok International terminal at 12 and made our way to the domestic terminal (which is quite the shlog). Our flight to Samui was at 7:45 PM and we were assured by the Bangkok Airways staff that we would most likely be able to get a standby flight much earlier. So, we waited for the 3,4,5 and 6:30 flights to no avail. In the mean time it donned on me that I did not have the name and address for the only place we were actually able to make a reservation. Usually, this would not be big problem as most hotels have very different names and I only look at 1 or 2 before making a booking. I had looked at at least 15 and called or emailed most of them. To make things a bit more complex, they almost all have "Chaweng" in the name. I spent a good couple of hours searching for an internet terminal and making phone calls to no success. Finally, the women at the tour office in the airport took pity on my and let me use their computer. I didn't know people in airports still used dial-up. I found the name of the hotel in my email and verified that we were supposed to be picked up at 9:10PM.
The rest of the day was spent sitting around an airport terminal with very few uncomfortable chairs, bad food, no internet access and not a lot to do but wait. On top of all that, we were down to very little money and, for some unknown reason, my ATM card was not working. I know I am a bit of a princess at times so, needless to say, it was not so much good times.
After being a bit cranky for while, we decided at 7PM to check in for our original flight. You can only imagine how happy I was to discover that, while we had been waiting outside the gate area, after we checked in, we found the Bangkok Airways gate area was plush, full of chairs, free drinks and popcorn. Oh yeah, there was also free internet access and place to charge my phone (which was almost dead from calling hotels).
Our flight to Samui was fairly uneventfully except for the captains announcement in English as we made our slightly bumpy decent. Although you really needed to be there, it went something like " we are beginning our approach to the Samui Airport. Our expected arrival time is 9:15, I hope.....long pause......you have enjoyed your flight. Thank you for flying with Bangkok Airways." Good times.
As expected, there was no one to pick us up at the airport so we took a cab, leaving us with the cash equivalent of 4 USD. After a few misunderstandings upon check in, we settled into our bungalow. I went across the street to see if my ATM card was working yet and, it still didn't. I was lucky enough to be able to cash advance my Visa in order to by phone recharge cards, water and beer.
Back in the room, I called BofA to see why my card did not work (at considerable cost). I was informed that they had decided to shut it off after seeing suspicious activity. Mind you, I have been gone for months withdrawing money overseas with it working just fine, I am tired and cranky and slightly intoxicated. Obviously, for those who know me well, you do not want to be a customer service rep on the phone with me at that point. Needless to say, after a few "disconnected" calls, we resolved to problem and I will be sending BofA a bill for all charges incurred. We went to bed hoping tomorrow would be a better day.