My Pride, My Thai part 18: Departure for Norway

Eventually, it was time to head for the airport. It had been so wonderful spending my last meal(s) and a large part of the last day with a beautiful woman that has been a very good friend for nearly 17 years or so. We laughed a lot all throughout the day, and had a lot of good talks. I tried not thinking about the fact that I was about to leave Thailand, and trying to remember reminding myself that I would also be back again in less than two weeks.†

Since most flights leaving Thailand for Scandinavia are departing some time after midnight, I have through the years learnt to make hotel reservations for an extra day (the following morning), so that I without any tiring discussion and begging at the reception for a late chack out, can keep the room until leaving for the airport around 8 or 9 in the evening. That way, I can still relax at the hotel, in my room, and still enjoy the†amenities†and more importantly, have a shower before leaving for the airport.†

To read:†My Pride, My Thai part 1: The Preparation†(opens in a new tab).†

To read:†My Pride, My Thai part 2: The flight†(opens in a new tab).†

To read:†My Pride, My Thai part 3: The arrival†(opens in a new tab).†

To read: My Pride, My Thai part 4: The first morning (opens in a new tab).†

To read: My Pride, My Thai part 5: Big C (opens in a new tab).†

To read: My Pride, My Thai part 6: Bangkok (opens in a new tab). †

To read: My Pride, My Thai part 7: 200 THB to heaven (opens in a new tab).

To read: My Pride, My Thai part 8: Bangkok - Ubon Ratchathani (opens in a new tab).†

To read: My Pride, My Thai part 9: Being a celebrity in Thailand (opens in a new tab).†

To read: My Pride, My Thai part 10: From Sisakhet to Sakon Nakhon (opens in a new tab).†

To read: My Pride, My Thai part 11: Sakon Nakhon (opens in a new †tab).

To read: My Pride, My Thai part 11-B: Coffee Love at Sakon Nakhon (opens in a new tab).

To read: My Pride, My Thai part 12: The long drive to see the King (opens in a new tab).†

To read: My Pride, My Thai part 13: Hua Hin Inbox (opens in a new window).

To read: My Pride, My Thai part 14: Returning to Kanchanaburi (opens in a new tab).†

To read: My Pride, My Thai part 15: The luxurious resort (opens in a new tab).†

To read: My Pride, My Thai part 16: LiT Bangkok Hotel (opens in a new tab).†

To read: My Pride, My Thai part 17: Nearing the end (opens in a new tab).†

I had arranged for a proper local transport to the airport: one of something like a hundred million taxi cabs of Bangkok, operated by a driver that had just been taken out of a Formula 1-race. I tried keeping an eye on the speedometer but found it best not to look at that exceptionally high, three digit number. To put it this way, he drove so fast that the paint peeled off the bonnet of his taxi. With the brakes glowing red, we eventually arrived at the airport to stand in the first of many lines to come.†

First in line to check in, then in line for security, then in line for immigration and later on, in line to get to the boarding gate holding area so that I could also wait in line for the correct boarding call. Airports are all about the wonderful waiting.†

My wonderful friend left as it was already close to midnight and she had to work the next morning. We said our goodbyes and hugged. Saying goodbye has never been one of my strongest sides, especially to people who have meant a lot to me over so many years. I really had to work hard to hold back my tears.†

After the customs and immigration procedures had been completed, it was time for some light shopping and some final eating. It had been a long day, and I really felt I was ready to find my seat on the plane and get to sleep.†

After a quick wander around the airport, and finding my gate holding area, the boarding procedures had just started. Naturally, those that pays way more than others are invited to board first, then they board by seat row numbers starting in sections towards the back. This is to make the actual boarding time as little as possible. But, as always there is a but, this time a big but, when they call rows 65 and higher, why does people for example in row 23 try to board? When they get rejected and told to wait, they stop dead in their tracks and block the other boarding passenger. I was amazed at how selfish some people are at times in their life. For crying out loud, if they listen to the announcements, we ALL get to take off much faster and possibly also on time.†

I wasn’t too worried about the boarding procedures, and intended to be one of the last to board. I was seated in seat 14B anyway, so I could have boarded any time I could have liked. But I wasn’t in a hurry, I was busy texting some friends that wanted to ensure I was actually leaving their country. I make no lie, I was indeed the very final person to board the aircraft.†

This night, a fine looking aircraft of Thai Airways, a Boeing 777-3D7 Extended Range with call sign HS-TKU and the name ACHARASOBHIT ( อัจฉราโสภิต ) would take me to Oslo. I’m not a hundred present sure what the name of this particular aircraft means, but “achara” I believe means angel. That is probably more than enough for me, knowing I’m flying on an angel tonight. The aircraft was delivered just two years earlier, in 2013.†

Because of the B in 14B, I was initially a bit apprehensive I had been assigned to spend the night in an aisle seat, but arriving on board, there was a strange cabin lay out to say at least. The first row, and the foremost seat on board, row 11 was A. Then the seat behind was 12B, and one more row behind 13A, then 14B. My seat was a “standard Royal Silk Business Class” seat and very comfortable. I would have no problems enjoying my flight. More important to me this night, was that my flight could not be delayed in any way. At time of boarding the aircraft, I had to be reporting for work at the ferry-dock in just 20 hours or so.†

A small glass of champagne in hand, we departed right on time, if not a few minutes ahead of schedule. The flight was living up to it’s expectation: the food was great and I slept like a child in the seat which could be laid down to make my own personal flat bed. I have to admit though, that I very rarely saw the air hostesses and air hosts share the heart-warming Thai smile during the entire flight, apart from the time when they said good bye at the debarkation of the flight at destination. Don’t get me wrong, the service was superb in every possible way, but it almost looked like the whole crew had just arrived back from a strong reprimand and was running on low motivation batteries. The smiles 3 weeks earlier heading down to Thailand was way bigger, way warmer and friendlier. Perhaps they were so sad they were flying away from Thailand as opposed to heading back to Thailand?†

The next morning, after a good nights sleep, and breakfast on board, we landed 5 minutes ahead of schedule and was ushered in to immigration. Having been seated in Royal Silk class, we were let out of the aircraft first and was well beyond immigration when the rest of the passengers started forming lines. But, and here is the very famous “but” AGAIN, at the baggage carousel, they caught up with us again. As always during any flights I undertake, my bag as sure as there is snow at winter, arrives as one of the last bags on the carousel. †

I really despise flying through Oslo, because after a long flight, you will need to pick up your bags, go through customs, head out in the terminal and scramble at the elevator to get one floor up so that you once again can stand in line to drop of the bags again at the check in counter. I do remember that many years ago, you could do this at a transfer counter just after customs, but not so now. After that whole ordeal, which takes anything from 5 to 30 minutes (this day, it took 45 minutes), you will have to attend to another line again: the endlessly long line at security checkpoint. Undressing jackets and heavy sweaters, putting all your valuables in a plastic tray, removing belt, shoes and other metallic objects, and taking iPAD and laptop out of your bag. It’s all so ANNOYING!†

As I passed through security check I was taken aside for some additional checks, and as that was completed, I saw the tray with my various camera lenses precariously near the table end about to fall on to the hard floor. I leaned over the conveyor to grab the tray just as it started tipping, and the reaction of the security was shocking to say at least. They screamed at me with their highest voice to let go, but knowing how much these lenses cost, I refused. The security guard really got agitated and spoke a language not suitable for children. I was as firm as ever: I told him that I would never let my camera lenses fall to the floor. My interpretation of his very strong and impolite reprimand was that they reserve full right to damage, destroy and break any item on the x-ray conveyor belt if they felt so: in the interest of airline security! What a load of bull-crap!†

Anyway, well through airport security again I had my traditional waffle and coffee before heading to my gate. Sometimes I do miss the old airport at Fornenbu. Oslo Gardemoen Airport has a very typical modern Norwegian/Scandinavian design, meaning it’s basically littered with lots of wooden surfaces and stone floors. It was probably really nice to look at when it was brand new in 1998, but nearly 20 years later, the design is in my mind “outdated” to say at least. I also have a distinct feeling that it’s a nightmare to keep clean on a daily basis. The restrooms around the airport In Oslo are almost always in a terrible mess, very much the opposite of the super clean spaces in for example Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport the night before. As I can say nothing about the conditions of the women’s restrooms, there is definitely a certain problem with excess spilled water around the sinks and on the floors in the men’s restrooms, as well as some people do not put much effort in aiming at the wall mounted …. ehhh…. you know, where we relieve our excess water. Whenever I have to pass through Oslo Gardemoen Airport, I always make an effort in planning ahead so that I do not need to use any of the restrooms there. †

The onwards flight to Trondheim was delayed by 30 minutes, then 45 minutes, but arrived at Trondheim only slightly behind schedule. Thankfully, my travels were at the end this time, and I had very little time to spare. I quickly needed to head home, to put my suitcase aside, and get a very refreshing shower. I’m always so impressed at people arriving at their destination, and that still looks as fresh as before they started their long flight. I don’t have that quality, so a quick shower, scrub and clean up was necessary before I had to get going again, and report for night watch duty on the ferry dock.†

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Very much like a bad omen ahead of my flight, the North Eastern Thai†“armband”, which have been on my wrist for 7 long years, since 2008, fell off during the last shower while preparing for my flight.†

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Final moments with my friend, awaiting to check out from LiT Bangkok Hotel.†

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Almost like a ritual, many people leaving Thailand stops up to photograph this stunning display as soon as immigration procedures have been completed at Bangkok Suwarnabhumi Airport.

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The stunning OTOP-pavilion (One Tamboon, One Product), at Bangkok Suwarnabhumi Airport.

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The wobbly earth as seen though my iPHONE heading from Oslo to Trondheim with Scandinavian.†

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