Monday, June 29, 2009

Exploring China - Back in Bangkok

The trip back to Bangkok was entertaining, and also immediately showed us how inefficient and cumbersome Thailand is. Thai Air Asia was over an hour late, which made us arrive at 2.30am Bangkok local time.

At Subvarnabhumi, we arrived at the Domestic Terminal and had to leave the building to get into a bus to get into the International Terminal. Why could we not go there straight away?

Then, at immigration, only 3 berths were open. We waited over 4o minutes for our turn...so slow!!!

On the plane, there was an old farang who kept STARING at a Thai boy with a huge afro hair-style, and I really mean staring. Staring as in looking at the poor boy for a minute from close distance. The farang was travelling with his ex-moneyboy boyfriend who sat behind him (don’t ask me why BEHIND, there was a free seat next to him) in turn kept boasting about his newly-acquired Australian passport (received courtesy of the farang I suppose) to a teenage French-North African traveller.

Ex-moneyboy was telling the French-North African Teenager how he could not enter France with a Thai passport because his hair is long. Now with the Australian Passport, everything “so easy”. French-North African Teenager wanted to stay in Pattaya for the night with a friend (never mind it was 3.30 am by the time we left the airport) Ex-moneyboy let him graciously call from his phone. It’s easy to offer services if someone else (the farang) pays eventually, isn’t it?

Then, the bf and I took a taxi from the departures floor. We always do that. There were only 3 waiting though. The driver was extremely happy, I quickly discovered why. The meter was not on, which I only discovered after about 1 km.

I told him to use the meter. Taxi driver found an excuse. I told him very firmly to use the meter. He turned it on: 61 baht already. I asked him: Why 61 and not 35? He found an excuse. My voice got firmer and I told him that I wont accept this. He put it back to 35 and his mood dampened.

I only had a 500 baht note in my wallet and knew he would make trouble, so I told him to stop at 7eleven just outside my condo. He DID make the trouble I expected so I went to 7eleven to buy water.

The bf waited outside with the taxi driver so he wouldn’t drive off with our luggage. He demanded I give him 50 baht more, because he has to bribe the policeman. I wasn’t prepared to finance his bribe but eventually gave the man a little tip, which I normally do for taxi drivers anyway.

Both of us were happy and we managed to save our faces. It was quite relieving to get out of this situation unscathed. He was a rough guy, and these guys can get violent if you make them angry. I suppose showing a little bit of cultural sensitivity is the way to go in these situations.

Make it appear like both gave in a little bit. The “Western way” of standing up for your right and argue will not get you far here. You may spend slightly less money, but people will look down on you.

At 3.30am, we were finally back in bed, exhausted but happy.

4 comments:

Prkmk said...

what's wrong with domestic terminal at the airport? Last month when i arrived Subvarnabhumi at night, it landed in some area and made us take the shuttle buses to get into the terminal building!, even though all the gates were empty and not busy at all! I'm sure Guangzhou airport has a better system that this!

BB said...

prkmk. yes I wonder why they park there if we need to take a bus from the dom terminal to the intl. very strange organisation. guangzhou airport super modern and huge but expensive!!!

by the way, where can I eat good food at suvarnabhumi. I always eat yukkie food and pay a lot...:(

prkmk said...

I sometimes ate before getting in the terminal. There are few good restaurants/cafe one floor below the check-in floor. they also have starbucks which I think (not sure) they do not "up" the price as others inside terminal.

BB said...

one reader told me that the ramen place is yummy. I shall try...and I dont go to starbucks, that's too farang for me.:)