My Pride, My Thai part 3: The Arrival

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

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

It’s very early morning, and TG955 has just unloaded the few passengers it landed with. Finally, on Thai soil again! But, even with my feet firmly planted in Bangkok, I hadn't quite emotionally left the airport in Trondheim yet. The flight was so enjoyable, it felt just like a normal commute to work. It was so amazing to feel the heat again, to put my feet on Thai territory and to hear the announcements at Bangkok Suwarnabhumi airport read out in Thai language. Waiting for my suitcases at the baggage carousel in Bangkok is almost like waiting in line in front of the pearly gate to heaven. I know, most people wouldnt consider Bangkok to be within the grounds of the pearly gates, but that moment in time represented all the cool things ahead. 

What I feared the most before my actual arrival, was that the heat would be too much for me. I knew it's an El Nino year this year, and that it therefore would be hotter than usual, but it wasn't too bad at all. Warm as expected but not hot as I had feared. There would be days in the weeks ahead however, that the aspahalt in the streets was frying me from the feet up. 

I had ordered a car to be ready for arrival at the airport, but in it’s usual Thai time, waiting for the counter to first open for business, and for them to get the actual car ready, took quite some time. It appears that pre-ordering isn’t any faster than just walking up to the counter. The wait was really annoying to be honest, after having spent a long night in the air. But after watching the counter staff tediously applying their make-up, eating a local snack, stretching, emptying their purse, adjusting the chair, checking their pocket mirror once again, checking their facebook-profile, AND posting a selfie to their Snapchat, they were ready to check my passport, travel documents and finding the car key. And this was naturally supposed to be an efficient, world famous  International car rental company (read AVIS). With a big load of their own local flavour off course. 

I thought leaving the airport would be simple, but, it wasn’t. Gawd! I did a couple wrong turns and ended up exactly in the same spot 15 minutes later: outside the car rental company! hahahaha.... I guess I had to concentrate harder, do some recalibration getting my compasses properly aligned, noticing the sun in the sky, and do some old fashioned reasoning. On the second try, I managed to leave the airport and head for downtown. 

Driving in Bangkok doesn’t bother me at all, but I do remember my first attempts 25 years ago at negotiating the traffic there. Very stressful as the soup of motorcycles, cars, trucks, buses, signs and pedestrians floated in a river like a torrential waterfall outside the windows. I will admit, I was a bit apprehensive the first five minutes, after all, I hadn’t been driving here for a while now. But, past those five minutes, it was all nothing but a joy-ride again. 

With my sense of orientation and intimate local knowledge of Bangkok, once I got out of the airport area, the drive to town most likely outclassed the best times of any taxi driver. Arriving at Centara Watergate Pavillion Hotel way before check in time is always another minus point, but having notified the hotel about my earlier arrival in advance, the room was ready immediately. That is the feeling you love: it’s like arriving at your home away from home: you never have to wait to check in at home, no matter what time you actually arrive.  

Centara Watergate Pavillion Hotel is located right there in my part of town, Pratunam (literally meaning WaterGate). The hotel is absolutely superb, a bit pricy, but clean and very comfortable. Staff here is very hospitable and welcoming. The ice cold Lemongrass tea at arrival was perfectly served as soon as I stepped out of the lift. They have the most amazing beds and this is the place where sleeping is a joy. The only negative comment about this hotel is their roofto bar and restaurant, which was kept closed on my only night there. I wouldn't mind it being closed if it was actually pouring rain, but they had clsosed it "because of rain" with not a single rain cloud in the sky for the whole afternoon and night. The weather forecast might have predicted a tiny bit of rain with some certainty, but the rain had not yet arrived (nor would it ever arrive that night). No worries though, I guess it would be their loss because Bangkok has many other equally, if not perhaps better rooftop places to wine and dine. And so I did.

But that is a story for another, perhaps next time. 

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