Back to (and through) Bangkok

Ko Samui airport. Very pretty indeed!
Ko Samui Airport – very pretty!

After virtually no sleep at Andy’s, I was up just after 5am to walk down to Hammersmith and onto the Tube to Heathrow. Again. A virtual repeat of my trip earlier this year. My flight to Abu Dhabi was delayed slightly, but was enjoyable. My only quibble was the starter with the meal being fish-based. Yuk.

During the flight I watched The International, Pink Panther 2 and most of Escape to Witch Mountain before I fell asleep. A quick switch over in the UAE and I boarded the connection flight to Bangkok – which was also delayed. I managed to squeeze in Paul Blart Mall Cop and the newer version of The Day The Earth Stood Still and then the next thing I knew I was having immigration forms thrust at me.

The queue at Bangkok was the usual, and the single guard in front of me using his mobile phone didn’t speed the queue up at all. I was in time to catch the 9:00 flight to Ko Samui, which is a shame as I’d booked onto the 9:40 in case I had difficulties. The 9:00 one left bang on time, and mine – surprise – was delayed.

As a result I missed the earlier boat to Ko Tao, but ended up chatting to an Irish/Spanish couple and a family from South Africa who I’m meeting tomorrow night for dinner and drinks.

The dive shop and accommodation (Sunshine Bungalows and Sunshine Divers)was easy enough to find. It was nice to get a shower at last, and a change of clothes was well-needed especially after the humidity hit.

Plans for tonight are to grab some grub and crash. I’m in two minds about going on the morning dives as I reckon I’ll be awake early enough. I’m going to crash before 9pm for certain. There’s no wifi here though plenty of places in town I can use. I still need to get hold of the hostel in Dili and figure out what’s happening with KL. I think tomorrow’s my deadline for getting those organised. Not helped by not knowing exactly when I’ll get to Dili!

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Leaving London

Again, not a whole lot to report. But I always say that then waffle on, so here we go.

We got up early enough to thank Andy for his hospitality and have a quick chat with Heledd who was also staying with him. I’d met her once before in Cardiff and I still think she could make a fortune working as a reader of audio books. Or on certain types of phone line. She has possibly the sexiest voice I’ve ever heard!

We packed, checked, double-checked then walked down the road to the tube station. Next to Goldhawk Road tube is a little café. If memory serves, it’s called “Sylvia’s” and is run by a woman – surprise – called Sylvia. And it’s great. The full breakfast I had was superb, Sylvia herself was a wonderful lady and the price was very reasonable indeed. Full, we made our way onto the tube (eventually, as my Oyster Card didn’t have enough credit which I find hard to believe – I think I got screwed) and, via Hammersmith, tunnelled our way to Heathrow. I managed to brain someone with my sleeping bag on the crowded carriage, but every time I turned round to apologise I hit him again. So on the off-chance, if that was you – sorry!

We arrived in good time, and a lot better off financially than if we’d taken the ridiculously expensive Heathrow Express train – and chilled in the departure lounge after going through the usual battery of security questions, scans, footwear removal, further scans… It’s getting so tedious to go through a European airport these days. Finally, boarding time arrived and we filed onto our jet which was to carry us for around 13 hours.

Disappointing from Thai Royal Airlines – no personal TVs and old seats. All I can assume is that this was a “loaner” while one of their decent aircraft was in for a refurb as it really wasn’t suitable for a long-haul flight. Compared to the EVA craft I had on my first voyage, this was a cargo plane. Not impressed. At least this was an overnight flight, so I spent a fair bit of it snoozing, but I’d still have liked the chance to watch a film or learn some Thai. The staff and food were good, though. A brandy after dinner helped me drift off quite satisfactorily.

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