Did wake up a few minutes after 5 in the morning – a few minutes before the iPhone would wake me up with Soul Finger. Outside – Bangkok is still sleeping. At last where my guest house is – next to the river in the old part of Bangkok. A Quick shower and final “Pack the Bag” and off i went to the travel agency that sold me the ticket for the airport bus. A few people are up in the street. The guys from the ice factory work 24/7 and some are having a smoke outside. As good as no traffic here so i reached the travel agency at 5:42 – way to early. Still people walk home with beer bottles in their hand. The fun never stops here.
If you are in Bangkok and need a taxi – you never wait long – not even at this time of the day. Only – I do not need one. But now every taxi driver thinks i stand there and want one. Even when I do not try they slow down and honk. Great – so it is counting taxi driver that honk on my site of the street and on the opposite site. At the time the van arrives the opposite site wins with 19:12! But that was easy since the other site has 2 lanes.
After a extra round to collect one passenger that we did never find we drove through Khao San Road. Still a few street sellers selling beer and the first tourists are shopping for t-shirts and stuff.
When i was here for the first time in 1989 Khao San was quite different – not a big shopping basar. It was all about guest houses and restaurants and a few street stalls with t-shirts and stuff. And since Don Muang was open 24/7 as well new travelers did arrive all the time – coming from all over the world with the body clock still in different time zones. People had breakfast on one table and dinner on the other while on the next table space did run out because of all the beer bottles on it. It could be 9 in the morning or 3 in the afternoon or 3 in the morning. The street was busy!
Well well back to now – we had to drive an extra loop around the barricades – some parts of the city are still in “Bangkok Shutdown”. The driver did his best to scare the old folks in the last row as he tried to get close to the top speed of the van whenever possible. And he made it to the airport at 6:58 which I never thought is possible with the traffic congestion because of the shutdown.
Sure Philippine Airline has the check in at W and the driver die stop at B – lets walk the line. Only 5 people in front of me – great. The bag was 21,6 kg – but here in Bangkok it is usually never a problem. A smile and that is that! – I was off to immigration.
And that went quick and than boarding was at D8 – more than half a kilometer to reach D and than the last exit – 1 kilometer to walk – you pass all the big labels from the fashion magazines to brands that you never heard of. So at last you can look to the left and to the right while walking and walking and walking – still better than Dubai Airport…
The flight was as smooth as silk – apart from my vegetarian menu that was somewhere in Bangkok or cyber space but not on the plane. So they found 2 salads, 2 little breads and nuts from business class and more nuts, bread and butter from economy for me. Later the purser came and brought some chocolate and apologized again. Nice!
The service on that plane was very good – the people ver friendly and they went up and down with the drink cart 3 times on that 3,5 hour flight.
The plane circled over the mountains and went into the final decent towards the capital of the Philippines. Less forests and less mountains and more and streets dotted with houses.
Touchdown a few minutes early and out of the plane we went. But what is that – all the nice immigration to the left walkways where closed so we had to walk and walk and walk again all over the airport but finally i made it to immigration. Got my bag after that and smooth sailing through custom. Than up to the departure level to score a white taxi. That saves you on the spot 70 pesos that the yellow taxis down at arrival charge you extra. The driver did put the meter on as soon as i did close the door – great!! Than i showed him the note on the phone and off we where into the crazy traffic of Manila. Quite different here as there are less motorbikes than in Bangkok, Phnom Penh or Hanoi but plenty of Jeepneys – the local mini bus. In the end the fare was 197 and i handed him a 1000 and told him 250 – he had no change for that – so i did ask the staff at the lobby but they had no change as well. 1000 is less than 17 € – well well – so i left the luggage at the lobby and off we where to the next 7/11 – got 2 bottles of tea and than the driver got his 250 and a cold bottle of tea – he was a happy man. I walked back towards the building and went into a bank to change some money. The friendly lady in the bank asked my if i know the rate? I said no and than she looked at me and leaned a bit forward: “You know that our rate is not good?” Uh – no i have no clue! “You go down the street to the black market – it is much better there!” Ah oh thank you very much!
Back to the lobby i went. Did only wait a few more minutes and Alex arrived. I am his first couch surfer and he left work to let me into his new place. He still stays at his sisters place because he has a dog and there are no dogs permitted in the house. We did put my stuff in his place and since he is usually not here there is no wifi as well. So i went with him to his office to catch a few signals and connect to the world.
Than we went for dinner with a friend from Belgium and after that Alex left for work again. I stopped at the mini market downstairs and got me some Red Horse Beer and sitting in the studio of Alex now – writing that blog post.
Thank you Alex for having me here and trusting me with your new studio!