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Maria and Gerry’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 02 Jul 2006

Location: Bangkok, Thailand

MapWe were up shortly after 4 before the wake up call.Even had time to make a cuppa.Down to the lobby with the Cubans and Billy Nettles and soon David turned up so we were all present.From reception we got a packed breakfast,into the van and to the airport through mostly deserted streets with only groups of young party animals heading home after a Saturday night out.Very quiet at the airport so check in a breeze and our cases were checked through to Bangkok.
Went upstairs to have our breakfast,not something to write home about.Saw a middle aged guy come running up and asking in broken English if we had seen his passport or tickets.When we said no he was off again at a half trot to return a little late looking a lot brighter.At the bottom of my backpack he admitted sheepishly.He said down for a chat and he ate most if not all our unwanted food.He told us he was a Romanian working in BC Canada as fitter turner for an Romanian company.He had recently suffered a hernia and was of work for three months so decide to go home as his wife did not have residency in Canada.He told us that his daughter and her husband both university graduates law and engineering could not find work and were keen to get out of the country preferably to Germany or France.
Boarded the Malev plane for the flight to Rome and got served a good breakfast.On the bus from the plane to the terminal spoke to an Hungarian who recognised our NZ accent and opined that we are very difficult to understand as we tend to speak fast and not pronounce our words properly.He is dead right of course.
To while away a six hour wait we walked several times from one end of Terminal C to the other dodging people on cell phones oblivious of the rest oof the world,trolleys,running kids the whole catastrophy as only found at an Italian airport.
Found out our plane would leave from the new Terminal C and that it could be reached by a shuttle.Eventually got an answer that made sense.Go down to that end of the terminal take the first left exit you see,up the stairs and there is only one shuttle,an automatic train.Had some coffee and it was good but expense,you would expect that at an airport captive market and all that.
Took the 2min shuttle to the new terminal to meet an even more chaotic scene.Now I am sure some whizkid architect may well have received first prize from the International Federation of Air Terminal Designers but as a practical place to dispatch international travellers it was an absolute disaster.Roughly a dimond shape with departure gate around the periphery and in the centre it was an a nightmare for passengers to move as there were no departure lounges as such attached to each gate but when the boarding call was announced people simply rushed(Europeans regard queues as something to jump not join),by rights they should be good at playing rugby but pushing kids or frail old people out of the way is a little different from tackling a 120kg loosey.rhe gate complete blocking access for other passengers to find theit departure gate.Only in Italy!!!!
Eventually we got aboard a stinking hot vintage Jumbo Jet ie we had to crane our neck to see the only screen available and the three rows in front of us had a wall to look at.As wel the sound system was on the blink for a while.Eventually we got underway and the aircon kicked in. Its a long haul to Bangkok but some good food a wine or two and a few hours sleep broke the boredom of long haul flying.It must have been around midnight and we were somewhere over India when there was an almighty screeching,grounching noise accompanied by a kerosene smell.In an instanrt everyone was alert.a young girl in the seat in front of us let out a scream but otherwise no reaction.One of the crew walked through the cabin telling us not to worry the captain was checking.Eventually the smell and the noise disappeared,we never got an explanation but the plane never lost speed or altitude so we came to the conclusion that maybe one the four engines had given up the ghost.
One more bit of excitement was seen on the port side where we were sitting.Way to the north of us we could see an enormous electrical storm.Huge lighting bolts lit up the sky,a fantastic sight and it lasted for about 15 minutes before we left it behind so it must have been huge for we were travelling at over 900kph.
Breakfast was served before we descended to Bangkok early in the morning