It’s winter in Australia so time to head north of the equator to warmer climes. On this trip David and I plan to travel by train through several parts of Europe including Switzerland, a little bit of France, eastern Germany, Poland and Austria. The journey will cover a wide variety of scenery and we’ll travel in a wide variety of trains. However, the first step for this journey…. journeys always begin with a first step don’t they?…is to get from our home in Australia to Zurich, Switzerland.
And so to day one of the journey which involved a flight to Melbourne by Virgin Australia and thence by Thai Airways to Bangkok Thailand. This day and night proved to be full of pluses and minuses.
Big plus: our good friends Tanja and Michael drove us to the airport. It is lovely to be farewelled with a hug or two!
Long minus: a five and a half hour wait until 11.30pm for the plane from MEL to BKK.
A plus, I think. All you dedicated Panasonic T Z camera owners will understand what happened at the duty free store! I gave in and now own a TZ 60…. 30 zoom, an eye piece, a horizontal check line, and high speed, high meg, all attracted me…. We’ll see.
A minus in my wallet… Even so, I did get a pretty good deal for cash…. And after David had ordered his whisky ready for pick up when we eventually get home.
BIG BIG PLUS: our plane was not cancelled because of the ash cloud from the volcano explosion in Indonesia…. you can be lucky!
A grizzle minus: Wait was in a so-so business lounge with very slow internet connection… hence only a couple of emails answered.
Big plus: a happy, helpful Australian Thai Airways employee called Dennis who booked us in and farewelled us at the gate…. by name!
Problematic minus: David’s entertainment unit worked only intermittently. My chair kept getting stuck. Neither chair lay down as we were lead to believe.
Happy Plus: A cheerful flight attendant and good tucker for dinner…. and not too much food especially as it came at 1.00am.
Minus: Not a comfortable night for either of us; those chairs were not designed for backs. But at least I had some cheerful chats in the galley with my happy flight attendant who made me lots of cups of hot water and lemon.
A little minus… It was raining lightly as we arrived.
A welcoming plus… The sun was trying to break through as we came down the steps to the waiting bus and a rainbow appeared in the sky.
Big, Big Big Plus: If you have ever been to Bangkok airport you will identify with this plus…. we did not come in at an air bridge but were taken by bus for what seemed to be miles across the Tarmac …right to a door, right near customs. We did not have to walk a kilometer to get there as is usual at this huge airport. And there was NO QUEUE at customs.
Big, big plus…. A beautiful carousel sign adorned with orchids and backed by a very colourful mural… And clear communication in English. Amazing. Welcome to Thailand!
Big, Big, Big BIG minus: We waited. David’s bag came. Mine did not. Then a man appeared with a message card reading my name!!!!!! Why? He spoke no English except for “Go Baggage Service Counter please”. We did and you guessed it, my bag was still in Melbourne! So may be the sign should have had an addition….. JT No Bag!
Perhaps plus! The lady at the service desk said that my bag would arrive next day, probably, and be brought to the hotel. Just as well we always take a photo of our bags before we leave home…. A good travel tip. And just as well we are re here for a couple of days! I wait in hope.
BIG BIG BIG Minus: I only have the winter clothes that I was wearing when I left Melbourne… and now we were in hot and humid Bangkok!
A thank you Thai Airways plus… at least they had given me a toothbrush, toothpaste and a comb!!!!!!!!
A bit of a grizzle minus: I was in need of a coffee by now… Or thought I was! But The coffee here is not as good as in Australia. So JT, don’t drink coffee. Plenty of free bottled water available in our room.
An excellent plus. A good shower, a bit of a kip on a firm FLAT bed before lunch… AND my Prawn Pad Thai for lunch was just as good as I remembered. David enjoyed it too. Thank you chef!
A touristy minus: I could not go to the city to see the temples with a guide as planned… I had no cool clothes or shoes to wear in this very hot, oh so humid climate. So David went into the city by train for a bit of a look see without me…. Why not?
From my window I could watch endless numbers of planes approach landing. This Thai plane captured at 30x, through glass and cropped hard… Still OK. Not too bad.
Another interesting plus. We have a great view of that train line from our room but this one is from a walkway in the hotel. The above photo taken at about 10 x magnification and through glass. Next photo, same train further up the long track, taken at 30 x zoom on new TZ60… Through glass as well. Now I could read the city signs. Who needs binoculars?
So that was David on his way to the city… Now turn the other way on the walkway and you look straight down into the hotel and it’s restaurants.
This is a cool, welcoming part of the Novotel hotel at the Bangkok airport.
More orchids… This time, lots of individual plants set in niches in a mirrored wall.
And pull that shot in from way across the hall! OK that will do. I,m happy. A plus !
One for a cooling plus: I did have my bathers in my back pack… a last minute addition… so I enjoyed a cooling swim and did some hydro exercises. Wonderfully relaxing.
A bit of a bothersome minus: the internet is not good in our room… we’re too far from the office.
A grateful plus: the internet in the cafe DOES WORK and hence this post.
We are not really grizzling. We are so grateful to be able to travel like this. It’s easy really to overlook a few minor minuses along the way!!!!!
In my book, a PLUS always outweighs a minus – don’t you agree?
I JUST HOPE MY CLOTHES CATCH UP WITH ME .
And so endeth post number one. Now to practice with that new camera.
I’ll happily add the results of my photography as we go along on this journey.
ah PS…. David arrived back safe and sound from the city…. No demonstrations today.
AND….A phone call from the reception at almost midnight… My bag is here!!!! Yes!
Jennie ( and David in his absence)