Sunday, April 7, 2013

Thailand - Last Day

Ben and my last day in Thailand was absolutely miserable. I woke up nauseous, achy, and congested. Ben woke up with a cold. Neither of us are very surprised that we got sick, we’ve been exhausted for almost a month, and Thailand is a terrible place to test your immune system. Ben packed our bags, and I did laps to and from the bathroom. We checked out of our hotel room just before noon, and had the hotel hold our extra suitcases. We stopped at the ATM just outside our hotel to grab enough money for a lunch and a dinner, and then proceeded to head out into the city. It was windy and drizzling, so swimming didn’t seem very appealing, and we had read about a mall, where we planned to walk about in air conditioning for a few hours, to kill the time until the transport to the airport picked us up at 10pm.
                The mall was not indoor, not cool, and aggressively in your face. There was no option just to browse the goods, store clerks shoved things into your hands, shouted at you from other stalls that you wouldn’t get a good deal at the stall you were at, and heckled you when you didn’t buy anything. I couldn’t handle the culture shock, after I had spent the past year pampered by Japanese shopping experiences. We found a big fancy hotel, and decided to lounge about in the lobby until they figured out we didn’t belong. We decided to eat lunch at a nice looking middle eastern/Indian restaurant. The food was excellent but slow, and the waiter was very pushy, and tried to insist on us getting way more than we wanted. When it came time to pay the money we had anticipated covering lunch and dinner didn’t cover the cost of lunch, and I had to ask if they accepted visa cards, luckily they did. I went to grab my card out of my wallet, but it wasn’t there. I’m fairly certain I left my card in the ATM, but in the two hours between getting the cash, and dashing back to it to see if anyone had turned it in, it had gone missing. Ben and I spent the next two hours canceling my card, which filled the time, but was a miserable activity.
                We had dinner at a buffet using the remainder of our money, the food was terrible, and the staff was annoyingly insistent that we wanted to eat spaghetti with cheese which did not look even remotely appetizing. After dinner we spent some time on the beach, this part of the day was nice, a cool breeze came in from the ocean, and Ben and I talked about what we had wanted to be when we were kids, and what we would do if we won the lottery. We passed the time until we had to go back to our hotel to meet our airport transport.
                We got to Phuket Airport at 10:30, too early for our 2:30am flight, but there wasn’t anything we could do about it. We waited around until we could check in for our flight. A group of about 40 tourist all raced towards the line as soon as it was open, they were not well prepared, rude, and very slow, they held up the line, and were so loud that Ben and I had to shout to talk to each other less than a meter away from each other.
                We got to our gate at about 12:30, exhausted. Ben and I both tried to fall asleep, but I was hit with a wave of sickness. I spent about an hour bent over the nasty airport bathrooms, wondering how so much food could come out of me, as Ben took a nap. My skin itched everywhere, I was dizzy, and very nauseous. I went back to Ben, thinking there was something he could do for me, unfortunately despite his incredible desire to do so, there was nothing he could do to help. We waited near our gate for our 2:30 am flight, which got delayed to 4:00 am. This meant that our transfer in China, during which we would have to recheck our bag, and go through security again would all have to be done in the impossibly short time slot of one hour.

                All that being said, will I return to Thailand? No, I like traveling to observe and participate in foreign cultures. I cannot say I saw any of Thailand’s culture, as everywhere accessible to us had been so deformed by tourists, that it was impossible to go anywhere without being bombarded by dozens of types of tourism. The traffic in Thailand is scary, and it is impossible to go anywhere without having to jaywalk half a dozen times. Ben and I were most excited for the food in Thailand, as it is one of our favorite types of cuisine at home, but the only “Thai” food was either outrageously expensive, tasted terrible, or made me very sick. The beach was packed, and vendors walked up and down the beach constantly, shouting about their wares, or standing right next to you shaking their wares in your face until you either pushed them away or somehow verbally let them know that there was no way that you would be buying anything. The tours were fun, though it was very frustrating that the guides would stop at various times during the tour to pull out their poorly made jewelry, and try to guilt you into buying it, while you’re sitting on the back of their elephant.
                Thailand is beautiful, and I went to the country with my loving, and wonderful husband, so really truly I had a wonderful time, I do not regret going, but I will not be returning, and would not recommend our trip to friends. I think there are much better ways to spend your time and money.

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