My honey didn’t make it. 😦 I am absolutely gutted and annoyed with myself that I packed it into my hand luggage and not the check-in suitcase. I nearly cried when I discovered it wasn’t there. I know it is just honey. But it is Manuka honey, a special honey with magical ingredients to heal every illness you may have… 😉 And Andrew got it for me. Dammit – silly me.
Sydney was literally just a touch down and taking off again. I arrived at 8pm, managed to check into my hotel room (by the airport) at 8.45pm and to race into the city to meet with a friend by 9.45pm. It was great to catch up with her, we went for a delicious meal, tried to catch-up on an eventful year and finished the evening with a walk to the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Because yes, I had to go to the waterfront and see those icons again and take a picture to have proof that I was there. 🙂
Then on to Bangkok. I miss New Zealand. There are too many people around. It is quite a shock to the system. I stayed in a fantastic hotel in the city centre, close to the river, room on the 27th floor with fantastic views over the city. The metro station is directly linked to the hotel lobby. I decided against hiring a taxi from the airport, as the traffic is mental and instead took the train and metro into town. Not sure that was a great idea either, given that I had to change trains twice and that I have an oversized suitcase, a hand luggage suitcase and a rucksack to manoeuvre through the crowds. And crikey, those crowds are impatient. One person pushed into me on the escalator and I nearly fell down the steps, hadn’t it been for a guy who caught me and my suitcase. The relief when I finally arrived at the hotel… Phew. Instead of going for a walk as originally planned I opted to stay in and ordered room service. I was absolutely exhausted! Then a friend texted me to say, he is in Bangkok as well, he saw my Facebook post, so we agreed to meet up the next day. Yay – I was so happy about this, more than I dare to admit.
Just one more public transport anecdote: buying train tickets was interesting. I couldn’t pronounce the street or station where I needed to go to, so I had to point on my map. The friendly and smiley people at the ticket offices (i had to go to another office halfway through, when changing lines and train operating companies) explained in detail where I needed to go, only I didn’t understand a word. LOL! Then I couldn’t figure out how to operate the turnstiles, and the guard just kept waving his hands – how embarrassing, felt like a tourist idiot. At one station everyone stopped in their tracks because the national anthem was played (not sure why, maybe because it was 6pm?). Everyone stopped what they were doing, the ticket office staff stood up in their little cabins. Once the anthem was finished everyone rushed on. A little surreal.
This morning I woke up again early (my body clock is completely screwed now), I was very excited to see my friend. Also, because this city intimidates me a bit, I feel better having someone around (I don’t care if this sounds silly). We met at a metro station nearby, found a nice park, chatted, laughed. Exactly what I needed. Isn’t it amazing that we now meet friends all over the world, as if this is the most normal thing to do? He is a guy I know from home home, last time I went back home we didn’t manage to catch-up but here, at the other side of the world, we do. I love it. Citizens of the world!
Words from Andrew? Yes, he has been in contact a few times since I left New Zealand :-). It is weird not having him around…
Now I am in a car on my way to Koh Chang, an island on the East coast of Thailand, it will take approx 6 hours to get there and includes a ferry transfer. The driver is very quiet, does not speak much English and doesn’t want to play music, instead receives phone call after phone call and keeps brushing his shoulders with is hands, a bit OCD. The thought of getting into a stranger’s car on my own (don’t worry, I booked it via a company, so all is good) made me a bit uneasy, I must admit, but there is no other way to get to the island and I didn’t fancy a bus transfer.
The cold that rattled my group in NZ finally caught up with me. Now sitting in this car, I am not sure if it is deemed impolite to blow your nose ‘in front’ of someone… I mean, I am in a car, so don’t really have another option, but I don’t want to upset the driver. Gosh, why am I even thinking about this? Shaking my head…
We just stopped at a petrol station. It was a serviced one. One person opened the tank cap, one person put in the fuel and then there was the supervisor! Ha ha – well I guess, at least all of them have a job.
Looking forward to some relaxation (although I can’t guarantee that I will be able to sit and do nothing for long).
Links: Koh Chang transfer arrangements (individual, bus)