Wandering and Wondering

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Bangkok, Dangerous

Emma and I arrived in Bangkok a couple of days ago for the start of our 5 week "Indochina Unplugged" overland tour. On the plane I watched a movie called "Bangkok, Dangerous". The opening scenes of the movie described Bangkok as a "city full of con-artists and hustlers". Having been to Bangkok once before, I already had the experience of being scammed by a tuk-tuk driver who promised to take me to see some temples for a very cheap fare, but ended up taking me to a tailor shop where they tried to sell me several suits. It is a pretty standard scam, and this time in Bangkok I noticed a sign up at the hotel warning about it. So for my second time visiting Bangkok, I was a little bit more travel wise. But that didn't stop me running into problems.

The first problem started back in Sydney when we were on the plane waiting to depart. There was some sort of problem with the radio system on the plane which delayed our departure by 40 minutes. Our flight to Bangkok was via Hong Kong, where we were scheduled for a stop-over of just over an hour. With our flight delayed by 40 minutes, however, we were only going to have around half an hour after landing to get off the plane, go through a security checkpoint and get to the boarding gate for the next leg of our flight. We voiced our concerns to the flight attendant and they agreed to move us up to the front of the plane just before landing, so that we would be the first to disembark. This meant that we got to sit in business class for the last 20 minutes of the flight, which I must admit was a very nice way to fly.

After landing, we pretty much ran to the security checkpoint and then on to the gate and made it just as boarding was commencing. My luggage, however, wasn't so fortunate, and we arrived in Bangkok to find that my bag was missing, even though Em's bag was there. On reporting this to the lost luggage counter, they told us they had no record of either my bag or Emma's bag in the system. We were left with no choice but to head to our hotel and hope they would find my bag and fly it down on a later flight that night.

Come the next day and my bag still hadn't arrived, so I was thinking I would need to buy a whole new set of clothes, toiletries and other travel gear, not to mention all the chargers for my camera, phone and laptop. I finally got a call later that evening saying that they had found my bag in Hong Kong and would fly it down that night.

So I know had my bag, but my troubles in Bangkok didn't stop there. The next day we visited the Grand Palace, and after wandering around the amazing palace buildings and temples for about half an hour I realised that my mobile phone was missing from my pocket. Em tried calling my number on her phone, but couldn't get through. So I'm not sure if it fell out of my pocket somewhere or was pick-pocketed. Either way it was gone. To be honest, after going thru losing my entire bag of luggage, I wasn't really all that concerned about the phone - losing my wallet or passport would have been a lot worse. Sure, I'll be without a phone for the rest of the trip, but when I get back home I can buy myself a brand new iPhone with the money from the travel insurance.

Tomorrow we leave Bangkok and head into Cambodia, so hopefully my luck will improve. "Bangkok, Dangerous"? Maybe. "Bangkok, Unlucky"? Yes.