Wednesday, 26 November 2008

If the airport re-opens today I should be able to get on tomorrow's flight. Same time, same arrival to Boston (I hope), but a day late. PAD was looking to block the PM from returning to Thailand but he's flying into Chaing Mai, we'll see if it makes a difference. Bangkok is relatively quiet except for some military (marching) exercises in the public parks. I'll check in with United at the end of the day today, which will be first thing in the morning for you both.

…The wiser folks will just stay away from the airport. This is either going to be a pain in the side or a day's inconvenience, Thai's can be stubborn. There's talk about allowing outgoing passengers tp board flights but I won't know anything until the end of my day... kind of a drag, but at least I've got my computer and can work....

I'm fine...just trying to gauge when the airport will open or explore taking a train to Malaysia, or Singapore...Trains are full through Saturday, and I don't see the PM stepping down anytime soon.

....I'm not optimistic that the airport's going to open over the next few days so I'm going back to United when they open this morning and see about a ticket out of Malaysia or Singapore. I can get a train to Singapore on Saturday (upper bunk) or Sunday (take both bunks), but I need to ensure a ticket at the other end. That's what the conversation will be with United.

The PM's public message was not one of reconciliation so there you've got it. How's Miss Kamissoko? Happy to see you I'm sure.

…although it's pretty quiet within Bangkok I'm not optimistic that the airport's going to open by Sunday, so I've got a bus ticket heading south towards Singapore. If by 3pm this afternoon the news is such that there's little change then I'll take the bus.

Front seat …I've got a bus ticket to get me started to Singapore. The hotel said the bus is actually faster- go figure. The airport closure could go on through the weekend and if so, I could fly standby out of Singapore.

I was relieved to see that the night bus will be nothing like the night bus to Sharm el Sheik. I hope I'm not wrong on this one!

..I'm headed to Hat Yai by night bus. There's a little bit of a panic at the hotel with people checking in and checking out, trying to hire cars, find the train station. It's either trying to figure out how to get out of here or clueless. In any event, I just hope to return by Sunday with all my luggage... There are some options when I get to the border (train, bus or plane) which I'll sess out when I get there.

I'll keep you posted

Hi- It is 3: OOAM and I can't sleep, so I thought I might be getting an update from you. Pictures - what a surprise! Yes Kami is here and from stroking her, I would say she has been getting a lot of brushing. She is so adaptable - happy to be here under the bed with a friend.

Thailand appears to be in for a long test of strength/will power on both sides. You are best to get out of there, as Omgeo is not going to appreciate your being away much longer. The longer it lasts the more difficult it will be for you. I am sure you will work something out with United - it is in their best interest, as well. Everyone must be scrambling! Just keep us in the loop and I will not worry. I bought my turkey after Dianne left this afternoon. We had a late lunch together (Iron Chef) and she left about four. The table is set and stuffing, salad, and cranberry bead to be made in the morning. Love ya, Mom

Hat Yai Bust Station..Giving Thanks from the Bus- As we left BKK we were given blankets, snacks and juice, and they showed a movie. I seem to be the only caucasion on board, the rest are asians. Later we stopped in Pran Bori for dinner, which was included in my ticket. The drivers seem to stop quite often. I'm not really sure why but once it was for flowers to hang from their rear view mirror and another seemed like an ATM. Even though this is supposedly faster than the train, we could arrive in Hat Yai much faster if they had half the stops. On the upside, I seem to be the only clever one on the bus to recharge my phone off the bus, or the bus clever to use american voltage and plug fitting to prevent Thais from charging their batteries. The bus also has a toilet for which I am very thankful for today- I'v got a bit of dysentry.

I was talking to a Singaporean fellow at dinner. And he's suggesting we get to Penang Airport where there should be a number of flights to Singapore. It seems to make sense and besides, I could use a little help with my luggage.

Seven hours down, and six to go...

4 am window bang from the Japanese on the night bus to Hat Yai. At first I thought that someone was having a nightmare, then a group of them started banging on the window. I thought maybe some luggage fell from the bus, hoping it wasn't any of mine. One of them en thtried to open the door to the driver's cabin. Apparently they thought one of the drivers' for the trip was falling asleep at the wheel. A Thai in the front seat stepped forward and chatted with the driver, followed by a bit of laughter. He evidently takes the trip quite often. Whether or not it was true, I watched the road side ditches for the next couple of hours.

Inaccurate Bus Schedule… Our bus was the first to arrive in Hat Yai. Within a couple of hours other busses started arriving. It gave us some time to figure out what to do next. We've got a bus to take us to Penang and for alittle extra we can get dropped at the Airport. There a fellow I met who has his wife checking flight times- I'll see how much it helps me. Joseph, the person I met earlier, needs to be back for a wedding. He's of Indian descent and businessman- flushless toilets.

Speaking of which, the bathroom is worse than the one in Katmandu. About two inches of water, the sink drains on to the floor, the toilet requires a pan of water to quasi-flush and I lucked out bringing tissue in with me.

For the first hour I was the only foreigner but now a wave of western looking foreigners are arriving. I'm hoping we'll be on the first wave of transport.

I hope this doesn't turn into a madhouse.

A Singaporean on my very jammed bus has had his wife make a reservation in Penang for a flight to Singapore. I should be good to fly out tomorrow morning.

Too soon, Joseph and I got bumped off our bus and have been left at some office away from the bus station and where we boarded. Seats on our minivan were over sold, so we had to get off. The person in this office doesn't seem to know what's going on.

Back to the bus station where we started hours earlier. …There are quite a number of people, all looking for ways out of the country. We're waiting for another van to Penang airport. 9 Irish girls travelling together. Off we go with lots of Irish brill for the next five hours. We stop for lunch at a highway rest area. None of the Irish girls wanted to stop but the driver, Joseph and I did.... as we arrive at Penang Airport we find the Singaporean fellow waiting for us, and had been for the past five hours.

Malay Border Can you check with United as to my option? (Thai anthem being played, much like in Vietnam)...My flight number out of Bangkok was 890, Friday morning. BKK to Logan.

Hopefully there should be good time to make the 9 pm flight.

…With a my case of dysentery still holding strong I toss more clothing, and we have somehow got on to an earlier flight, this was after being told that we lost our 9pm seats. I've got UA flight information and will work on getting on to one of three flights that go out tomorrow morning. There are no evening flights so let's see how luck goes...

..Somehow I got on an overbooked flight (business and first class) and will be returning to Boston Saturday night at 7pm.

What's more is that the Singaporean woman sitting in the bean bag chair next to me is a good friend of Dorji's wife. The newspaper editor of the Bhutan Kuensil.

See you soon, and will try and call. I tried to get a picture of the Christmas train giving parents and children alike, but my beanbag neighbor was rather chatty.

…Leaving Hong Kong, I'm inclined to drive out Saturday evening when I return. Barring of course, Diane getting my truck out of hoc. Apparently it got towed.

I'll call when I get into Chicago. I got a napping bed in SG airport and a great shower this morning. So I'm feeling well rested.

Malasia EZ pass Anyway, good to be almost home.

Dear Joseph,
By now you have enjoyed the fruits of your efforts doing what was needed to return to Singapore, and joyously married off you niece in the warmth of family and friends. It was quite a journey from Bangkok to Singapore, and a privilege to have met and travelled with you. The various means and people that made the journey possible, included are Viktor's acts of kindness as well, serve as a great reminder of how special the people in our world can be, despite ongoing conflicts. I made sure to enjoy my evening at the Singapore airport. There was a Japanese restaurant with beanbag chairs and sake. And I took advantage of a shower and the napping residence. I'm currently in Chicago waiting for the plane that will deliver me to Boston, and am grateful to have a ticket in hand. Please retain my contact information as I will always welcome a call from you or your family when you come to the United States. Thank you again for your kindness, I wish you and your family happiness and health through the upcoming holidays. Kind Regards, Martha.

© 2008 MW Sears