Our flight from Frankfurt arrived a little bit late to Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok just after 1:30pm Bangkok time on 24th Feb 08.
It was here that I would spend the next 11 or so hours before the next leg of my journey homeward to Australia.
I wasn't as panicky about being here as I had been the first time. Truth be told I was looking forward to kind of chilling out a bit in the departures level and scanning the wares in the shops and having a long slow cup of tea as I wrote emails to friends on my laptop.
Well, the lap top thing never got to happen in the end. The wi-fi at the airport was down for maintenance and I found myself rather tired already from the first leg of my journey anyway.
I did scan the shops for awhile, having cashed in my last Euros for Baht. I had some nice food in one of the many cafe's and restaurants.
I walked the length and breadth of the 4th floor (Departures) and most of the 3rd floor (arrivals) looking for the Dayrooms where I thought I might be able to get some rest on a bed of some kind for a few hours.
Well, what with carrying the 7+ kilos on my shoulder and in the deep throes of that weird spacy over-tired feeling one gets with sleep deprivation, I just couldn't find them, despite consulting the touch screen info stations on more than one occasion. I suspect I just didn't walk far enough down along Level 3! Next time I find those bloody dayrooms! :)
I decided that the seating in the very busy Chang Thai Massage hut on Level 4 looked like a reasonable alternative - at least for an hour or so - to the hard, cold metal seating available in the general hall. I had a pedicure and then a manicure.
The lovely Thai girl doing my nails was a little flustered to find that my manicure was not going according to plan given that I had visited Jackie from Jackies Dreamhair in Germany only two weeks prior and she had given me nails so hard and intractable as to be the equivalent of industrial quality polymer and cement! The nail polish on my fingernails had to be filed off!
In the end, I had three girls all filing furiously away at my fingers to rid me of the current colour. The acrylic coating on my nails more or less remained (it will have to grow out apparently *gulp*). Once I had as blank a canvas as they could create, the Thai girl then gave me a colour. I had to return later after I bumped my still drying fingers to have a retouch but all in all it worked out okay.
I did a bit of souvenir shopping for family and friends back home; my first ever Duty Free purchases. I bought chocolates in the shape of wee elephants and cute coin purses on keyrings that I hope will last the distance, and t-shirts for the kids. I still think that for Bangkok, where the exchange rate to the Aussie dollar implies that stuff would be incredibly cheap... what they sell in the Bangkok airport is relatively very expensive for what it is! There were lots and lots of cute things, but not a lot that was really very practical or useful as such.
I did seriously consider an electronic translation machine about the size of a PDA but on consideration later, decided that 14 languages is probably more than I need in my lifetime! I am so intrigued by cute gadgets though that it was kind of hard to let go of the idea even so.
Finally, I had a gate number for my flight. I deliberately didn't go rushing through customs though and waited a little longer eating a Burger King meal with a giant bathtub of coke to rev up my adrenal system and wake me up enough to last the next four hours!
When I finally ended up in the boarding area, I was surrounded by a large mass of slightly scruffy, tanned and ethnically attired young 20 somethings with Aussie Accents. Most of them boasting to each other about how many times they got thoroughly drunk each night on their recent sojourn in Thailand!
I sat next to a young man in the terminal who proceeded to chat up and woo the young woman in the seats behind him! They worked out that they had seen each other on a number of previous occasions during their respective Bangkok holidays! Now, on this last day, as they were going home, they were getting down the very serious business of first courtship. There was the coquettish, flirty pitch in the girls voice, the smooth magnanimous gesture from the boy as he offered his lap top so she could look at her My Space page; the exchange of work and address information back home in Melbourne etc.
So very sweet. My romantic side hopes that this pair of kids may end up being an actual couple for a very long time and they will tell people, in years to come, that they met in the airport boarding lounge in Bangkok one February a long time ago! :)
I half expected the flight to be a little noisy what with all the young people aboard, but it wasn't so. In fact, I think everyone was so tired from their various holidays that the flight to Melbourne was spent in near silence.
I watched a couple of movies on my personal screen in the seat in front of me. I recommend the movie Stardust - what a wonderful pleasure that was to watch. Very entertaining.
We arrived in Melbourne just after 1:30pm Australian time. My journey back is almost done.