Second Time Around travel blog

First day in Thailand


I was thankful that I didn't get hit with pigeon crap until our last day in Athens. A little thing, for sure, but annoying none the less.

Our subway ride to the airport was uneventful. Turkish Airlines gave us the easiest check-in so far. I was secretly relieved as the Turks are not happy with the US because of a recent visa freeze and disagreements over the conduct of the war in Syria. But these things don't come up unless one brings them up.

While waiting for our Athens-Istanbul flight, we were approached by a very shy and uncertain passenger. She turned out to be a Columbian on her way home. She spoke only Spanish. She needed reassurance she was waiting for the right airplane. With the help of a translator app we learned she was making her way back to Medellen by way of Istanbul and Bogota, a 16 hour air trek. I had her follow us.

Of course the flight was late. It was a little tense when we landed in Istanbul, and we hoped our gate wasn't too far away. We found our Columbian friend's gate first, and in time. She was so relieved that she turned and threw her arms first around me then Mo. We waved and went to find our gate for our 1 A.M. take off. We were there just in time to board.

It was eight and a half hours Istanbul to Bangkok. We agree that the chicken was good and that the "Turkish salad" was suspect. Mo watched three movies. I more or less slept most of the way. There was fairly decent turbulence across India. The biggest hit was while approaching Bangkok. We had a huge drop that elicited screams throughout the cabin.

After our slightly bouncy landing, the heat and humidity hit as we left the plane. Totally groggy, we almost got in the "on-arrival visa" line until I remembered Americans don't need a visa for Thailand. Passport control was not horrible, aided by a relatively cheerful agent at the end of the very long line.

Our transfer agent was easy to find. Bangkok traffic is as bad as any, though we noted minimal honking.

Prominent along the airport road are billboards exhorting visitors not to get Buddha tattoos: highly disrespectful and against the law.

Also against the law is any disrespect shown against royalty. This includes stepping on paper money blowing in the wind. Better to let it go than risk arrest and a fine.

Yes, it's hot. I'm wondering why our trip notes recommended sleeping bags. More on that later.

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