*extremely picture-heavy post
As mentioned in the previous post, I had to stay for two more days in Thailand to attend another set of training. Only about sixteen of us stayed.
I almost arrived late during the first day on, Thursday, which was a bad thing because the venue was at the same hotel. But on my way to the meeting room, I bumped into Asuka. She was looking for me because she will be on her way to the airport to go back to Japan. I thought she was staying for another day and I forgot that she had to leave so soon. This is one final encounter worth getting late for!
Bye bye Asuka!I got inside and saw a familiar face. The one training us was in Manila last year. I worked in close collaboration with him for the logistics that time. I also attended that training as it was required.
For two days, I had a reinforcement of things that I should be aware of within my own department. I love that I can also sneak in my hotel room during breaks to change footwear and other stuff.
On the last stretch now
For Friday afternoon, I was already nervous. I was eager for the course to finish because Mon will be arriving in Bangkok. We agreed that he will follow me to Thailand as soon as I finish the course. However, he will coming in from Don Mueang International Airport and not from Suvarnabhumi.
I had been reading on directions to go there since the night before. What if I get lost? Unlike in Korea where I can more or less survive because I can read characters, I did not have a single clue of how to read Thai.
Then a Thai colleague saved the day. Bert was in the Philippines around September and he was sitting in front of me for two weeks. I was happy to see him because it means I could finally ask somebody how not to get lost!
He asked from his colleagues on the directions to go there. While I do not obviously read Thai, Bert helped me with explicit directions to go there. I generally do not have problems with maps but the language was indeed a barrier.
The moment we said our final goodbyes to each other (some of my colleagues will be flying out the same night), I immediately went back to my room, changed clothes and rushed to Phloen Chit station.
This is where the real adventure begins – how to reach Don Mueang International Airport.
The wonderful about my almost fainting spell at Chatuchak Market was that I became familiar with the area. So I already knew how to go to Mo Chit station but there was a million bus stopping there. I approached a guy (who looked like a student) to ask if he knew where the A1 buses going to the airport where. While he understandably responded with a hint of disclaimer that he might be wrong, he had pointed me out to the right direction.
Around 10 buses stopped in front of me. It was bad enough that I didn’t know if the correct bus was already there, but I had to be extremely discerning because I either do not stand a chance with the crowd on a rush hour or I take the wrong bus just to get moving.
I usually do not like asking directions, but this was not the time for that. Mon was to arrive within the hour and I was still deciphering the sphinx’s riddle of a bus. There was a traffic enforcer nearby and he managed to let me know that he’d tell me if the correct bus was about to approach. Thank you, Sir, for being so helpful!
Standing on a cramped bus, I did not know how far along the airport was. So I just observed closely everyone on the bus and looked for people with big luggages. Surely most, if not all, of these were en route to the airport.
I made it in one piece at Don Mueang Airport!After about 20 minutes, everyone fidgeting, getting ready to leave the bus. I managed to arrive at Don Mueang! The airport was not so bad, actually.
Then 30 minutes of waiting, Mon’s flight finally arrived! I was so happy to see him and we haven’t seen each other for two weeks already.
Welcome to Thailand!As it was already around 9:00 PM, we really had to eat dinner. During my several days in Thailand, I did not eat a single pad thai. I promised that we will have our first pad thai together, and the first place I could think of were the eateries at Ratchathewi.
It was a fairly straightforward trip back to Bangkok from the airport. An A1 bus arrived the moment we got out of the arrival area. His first traveler photo was with the Mo Chit sign! =D
There are several options where to eat in Ratchathewi, and it was no good choosing one. We entered the first place we saw from the corner and immediately ordered our first taste of pad thai.
After the very late dinner, we headed back to the hotel to rest for the weekend ahead. Now that the training is finally over, I could finally fully assume tourist mode in Bangkok.