It is pretty amazing where airplanes can get you. In about 24 hours I have gone from Boulder to Bangkok. My flight from Denver to Vancouver was about 1/4 full so I had my own row which was nice. I decided to ask the gate agent for my flight to Hong Kong if my seat was an aisle or window (I couldn’t pick my seat since it was an Air Canada ticket) and was told it was a middle. Sitting in a middle seat for 13 hours is not my idea of fun so I got switched to a window seat in row 20 which happened not to have anyone sitting next to me. The issue arouse when the flight was an hour late taking off and I had an eighty minute layover in Hong Kong and no boarding pass yet. I was met when I got off the plane by a Thai Air representative with my name on a piece of paper and was personally escorted (read run through the Hong Kong airport to a pre printed boarding pass through the crew member security line) to the gate and made my flight by about 15 minutes. If I had checked bags they would still be sitting in Hong Kong.
I sat next to two Canadians, in their 50’s, from Hong Kong to Bangkok and they were really good at complaining. They were on the same plane as my from Vancouver and were in row 54 so by the time they got to the person with their name on a sign they had to run to the gate. They were not happy that they were met by a representative and then had to run to the gate carrying their luggage. They thought a cart should have met them…. First world problems. Also the airplane was to cold, they had reserved different seats on the plane, and the pockets in the seat backs are too small.
This is my first time traveling someplace where there is very active political strife. Currently protesters are blocking 7 major intersections 24/7 and holding daily marches with their goal being to protest the elections to be held on 2/2 and force the prime minister to step down. I think I would be a lot more worried about this if I didn’t travel as frequently as I do. One thing that makes this trip different than a lot of the ones I do is that there is an established tourist trail. What that means is that it should be realitivily easy to get around, tourist industry people will speak English, and there will be a bunch of backpackers to socialize with. Downsides include an increased number or tourist scams, more tourists, and touts.
Traveling from the airport in a taxi (who attempted to rip me off but took no for an answer) I passed through a police check point (dome light turned on to show a tourist was inside) and an empty protest location. I am now in my hostel off of Khao San Road. I met Alan and wandered around and had dinner and a drink with him. Khao San road is so touristy it doesn’t even seem like I am really traveling.