Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Day 84 - A Cancelled Flight

Just after take-off in Siem Reap, you can see the huge artificial ponds that created the base for the Khmer culture more than 1000 years ago. They allowed to have multiple rice harvests per year and to raise fish. Without these large water stores, the Khmer population would never have reached a million, and they would never have been able to build the famous huge temples.

Everything went so well in Cambodia, what surprised us more or less. We didn't get sick, all transfers and tours were on time and great, we didn't lose our guide, we weren't robbed... When I think about Cambodia in the future I will recall wonderful experiences I made and polite people I met there. But I also won't forget these children's eyes that wanted just 1 Dollar for five postcards or a bracelet, which is nothing for me, but everything for them. For the next Cambodia trip I will bring plenty of quarters and one Dollar notes - but they are so many! Fortunately we know that they may be poor (to our standards), but they don't hunger. I shouldn't arrogate to make recommendations to these friendly people that survived so many cruelties under the Pol Pot regime - but nevertheless quitting smoking would save some dollars for better purposes. The amount of smoking we saw was surprising.

When we arrived in Bangkok we were quite happy to see that our flight to Trat was scheduled on time, while most other flights were heavily delayed (two hours on average). When my father asked at the reception of the public lounge, which was overfilled and quite unpleasant, about our flight (boarding should have begun at 16:30, but no information anywhere), they told him that it was already the last call. Running running running to our gate, people everywhere around but not at our gate... What was happening? Did the plane leave without us?

We discovered a man standing in a corner holding a sign "TRAT" and our flight number. BAD NEWS! Flight cancelled. What a crap... The poor guy had to tell all the people this bad news even though he wasn't responsible for anything, and had to deal with angry faces. The problem was that we not only had to get to Trat but to Koh Chang by ferry the same evening! The three options offered to us were: 
  1. Get money back and stay in Bangkok
  2. Spend the night in a hotel in Bangkok and fly tomorrow (if that flight is not also cancelled)
  3. Take the bus to Trat now, spend the night in Trat, and take the ferry to Koh Chang tomorrow
After discussing pros and cons we decided for the bus. We waited for our luggage to arrive, together with ten other persons, and then took the bus from Bangkok to Trat. Kind of wasted time, but at least an opportunity to see the Thai countryside. Unfortunately it got dark soon so that we couldn't take many photos, e.g. of the "elephant crossing" warning signs. We happily arrived at 10 PM in Trat, were unloaded at a little but clean hotel room organised by Bangkok Airways, and missed the first night in our dream resort. The bus ride wasn't too bad, we had enough space for our long legs, because we had the first row seats in the upper deck. After one hour of driving we stopped to get a snack for the evening: best idea to buy an instant noodle soup cup (hot water that almost slopped out of the cup), which even was too spicy to eat for my sister, so my father had to eat and drink both.


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