Bangkok, Thailand — Day 1: Awkward International Adventures

Brittany Swanson   December 8, 2017   Comments Off on Bangkok, Thailand — Day 1: Awkward International Adventures

We flew SIXTEEN hours from Houston to Taipei, Taiwan where we had a three hour layover. In that time I watched four movies: The Social Network, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, The Martian, and Wonder Woman. My hips were super cranky from sitting for so long, but otherwise I have no complaints from this hella long flight. Even the food was surprisingly good. Kudos Eva Air!

I did experience one small hiccup during the layover…

CAUTION: THE FOLLOWING STORY IS NOT SUITABLE FOR MALE RELATIVES OR FORMER STUDENTS. Read ahead at your own risk.

For the rest of you, this is TMI, so feel free to skip the next several paragraphs.

Once we landed in Taipei we had to go through security again to get to our connecting flight. We didn’t have to take off our shoes or take out our laptops or anything, but they scanned my big bag twice and then wanted to open it. Now, I assumed the problem was that I’d packed a multi-tool. I didn’t know if we’d be able to find something similar if/when we needed it, so I’d packed it just in case.

When they asked if I had anything metal in my bag I panicked and played dumb because didn’t want to get in trouble, or have my multi-tool taken away. I had a big battery charger for my phone so I asked them if it was that. It wasn’t. I also suggested maybe the metal in one of my adapters. Nope.

Alex had been waiting with me, but one of the security people told him to move along because he was blocking other people from leaving the area. As he moved away to wait for me elsewhere he jokingly whispered, “what if it’s your vibrator?” I dismissed him, unable to fathom how I would explain that.

My stress level was rising as the airport security guy, who was about my age, was getting closer to finding my multitool. I wasn’t sure how to explain it, or if it would even be a problem. I hadn’t looked into whether it was or wasn’t allowed in my carry-on and just figured if it wasn’t I’d get it taken away in Houston and that’d be the end of it. I never thought it’d get through Houston and be a problem during the layover.

Then, to my complete and utter shock and slight bemusement, the security guy took out a mesh bag and asked, “what’s this?” That bag contained exactly two things: a Life Straw and cream colored bag with my vibrator in it. Yes, I brought my vibrator. Why? — Why not?! But seriously, we don’t know when we’ll be back in the states and while I don’t use it all that often it was either bring it or leave it for someone else to find, so I brought it —to save myself from embarrassment at home… Ha!

I explained that the metal tube in the mesh bag was a straw for drinking clean water and that the other bag contained a “personal massager” and left it at that. He asked if he could run the mesh bag through the scanner and I said sure. My face turned at least four shades redder and I wished I was anywhere else at that moment. About twenty seconds later I wished I was dead. He took the cream colored bag out of the mesh bag and asked if he could open it and look at what was inside. What could I do? I shrugged as if to say if you must…

Then, I really could have died, he handed the bag over to an older gentleman probably in his late fifties. The older man grabbed the bag, and I couldn’t look away. I looked at the bag and then I slowly looked up at him. My face was redder than it’s ever been and I can only imagine my look of utter terror and pleading with just a twinkle of defiance, daring him to open that bag. We made eye contact as he felt the contents of the bag from the outside. I didn’t look away, I couldn’t, but he immediately dropped his eyes and handed the bag back to the younger guy as fast as he could. The younger guy looked confused, but the older man just gestured to the younger man to return the bag to me and that everything was fine. So the younger guy handed me back my vibrator bag and somehow my face managed to turn even more red. I could have competed with the worst sunburn. Meanwhile, I fumbled to shove everything back into my bag and zip it up so I could run away and never look back.

So, that happened. Definitely my most embarrassing moment — no contest.

ATTENTION— IT IS NOW SAFE TO CONTINUE READING:

It took four hours to get from Taipei to Bangkok. We watched another movie, American Hustle, and landed in Bangkok at around noon local time on Thursday. We left Houston Tuesday night and Bangkok is thirteen hours ahead of Houston, so we’d been in airports or on planes for over twenty-four hours.

There was a stand at the airport to get local SIM cards and we didn’t feel like trying to figure it out later so we just got them there. Our SIM cards were from True Move H — $18 for 30 days of 4G with 8GB of data. Literally less than half what I paid in the U.S. for twice as much data and the service has been great!

After an incredibly comical taxi ride from the airport (our driver missed our Airbnb building and then kept trying to stop early resulting in Alex saying “go, go” at least twenty times) we finally made it! Our room was on the fourteenth floor of a high rise called Life Ratchadapisek near the Huai Kwang MRT Station, in Bangkok, Thailand. Alex picked it because of the rooftop pool and view of Bangkok. It was awesome!

View of Bangkok and the edge of a rooftop infinity pool.

View of Bangkok from the rooftop pool at our Airbnb.

After settling in a little and checking out the view from the roof we went out in search of food. It was Thanksgiving back in the U.S. so we agreed to find a nicer sit-down place to celebrate both our arrival in Thailand and Thanksgiving. We wandered around for at least an hour finding nothing but food stalls, where everything was written in Thai, with seating areas but no patrons. Not a good sign.

Eventually, I suggested we find a hotel and ask the concierge for a recommendation. We happened to be walking right by The Palazzo Bangkok so we went in and asked for a good place to sit down to eat nearby. They didn’t have any suggestions of anything nearby but said the hotel had a buffet upstairs. I was beyond hangry at this point so I said we should at least go check it out. We copied the couple of high school age kids ahead of us and grabbed plates as we entered.

There was so much completely unfamiliar food it was overwhelming. Everything had four or five side sauces and as many bowls of spices. Honestly, I didn’t even know where to start. The moment we paused trying to figure out where to start we were approached by a hotel employee who asked us if we wanted to eat. Yes, obviously, hence the plates in our hands… He told us the price was something like 360฿ which is outrageous for Thailand, but I was so hungry I didn’t even care. We told him that was fine and he directed us to a private room to sit in. I went to peek into the room, and made a comment about being secluded — there were no other foreigners in the main room where the food was and everyone else was sitting together at long banquet tables in that main room.

I think he heard me, because within seconds we were ushered out of the big fancy buffet/banquet room into a room that reminded me of college life. The room was plain and nondescript with a handful of rectangular tables with white tablecloths and folding chairs. There was less food in this room, but it looked more familiar and was less overwhelming, so before we got shuttled somewhere else, we quickly started putting food on our plates (which we had awkwardly carried across the hall from the other room).

We weren’t sure what anything was or how spicy it would be, so we just took a little bit of things that looked interesting. I finished my plate and was still hungry, but I hadn’t seen anyone else go for seconds and didn’t want to offend anyone. The other people in the room kept staring at us. We were the only foreigners we’d seen in the hotel and we’d only seen a couple other foreigners as we’d wandered the neighborhood. Since this meal was going to be so (relatively) expensive, Alex had no problem getting seconds. Bolstered by his confidence, I too got seconds and happily left with a full belly. This meal cost us $11 each and was, by far, our most expensive meal in Bangkok, and probably the least delicious, but hey, when you’re hangry food is food. All of which is to say if you’re in Bangkok I’d skip the buffet at Lazio Restaurant in The Palazzo Bangkok, ok?

So first that thing at the airport in Taipei and then one of the most awkward and uncomfortable meals of my life. What a way for us to start our international adventures, huh? But honestly, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Embarrassing and awkward, sure, but what would I do if my life weren’t embarrassing and awkward? Probably write less…