Thailand Tour: Day 1
So the the time eventually came on the 25th of October for me to leave the house and start my 8 month long journey around the world. We set off for Heathrow Terminal 4 and arrived with plenty of time (just my style) to check in. When checking in we arranged for me to be met in Doha when I got off the plane as I was somewhat anxious about the timing of only 50 minutes between the two flights and navigating an airport that I'd never been to before. This made everyone feel better as Mama G found every opportunity to feel anxious. So all happy and checked in, bag weight almost at the limit and I'd not even bought anything yet, I made my way towards security and our final farewell. I could feel the water works coming on, especially since I had discovered the tears were ready and waiting at my leaving party on the Sunday that had just been. I walked in front of the parents and only turned to look at them when we got to security. At this point it is fair to say that everyone was not only crying but boarder line balling their eyes out. So after many a hug and kiss I made my way though security with my final sight of my beloved parents. Now in duty free I wandered around a bit, got a few refreshments and headed over to my gate. Here, I was lucky enough to have the distraction of technology and friends via FaceTime to keep me busy until it was time to board the flight. Now, this arrangement made me very happy – I was sat in a 3 at the window with a seat between me and the isle seat occupier = more leg room for Lulu :) this flight wasn't so bad, I had dinner then pretty much conked out, which is unheard of from my body and before you know it the 6 and a half hours were up and I was hurriedly trying to get off the plane to maximise the time that I had to get to my next flight. My attendant was not waiting for me upon disembarking the plane, so off I went to search for my gate in the slimmest time possible. This, it turned out, wasn't necessary as it was only a 500m walk between the two gates so I walked off one plane, happily straight in to the boarding of the next. Unfortunately, I was not so lucky with this flight as it was fully booked – so no extra room for Lulu this time. I was sitting looking out the window dandily for the majority of the flight until it came around filling out the landing cards. I retrieved from my bag all my important information and filled in the blanks on the piece of paper. I then just out of interest decided to refresh my memory of what I was to do when getting of the plane and starting the Contiki tour. This is when the faint feeling one could associate with mild panic set in. My flight was to land at 5.40pm the tour group meeting was to start at the hotel at 6pm. The flight was already a wee bit behind schedule meaning that I had less than 20 minutes to get off the plane, go through immigration, get the visa that I wasn't sure if I even needed or not, get my bag, find my taxi and get to the hotel. So then, I was to be late. I was to be that person that walks in half way through the meeting into a group of total strangers. Yippee. (If you can't tell I'm not a fan of being late to anything, even things that don't even matter). Well things were going well from the start, I only got off the plane at 5 to 6. At this point I had no option but to turn my phone data on as I was trying with all my might to get through to the Contiki group leader. Needless to say the ladies on the other end of the phone at the hotel were no help so I decided just to accept my fate, but still with an underlying feeing of anxiety. Luckily no visa was needed, immigration was done in about 10 minutes and my bag was already on the carousel. Now just to find my taxi. I eventually found my name on a board outside the airport and my taxi was summoned and showed up at about 6.15. I had a very friendly, if not too friendly, driver called Paol. I was asked to be added on Facebook and What's app but unfortunately, the response was that no, I have neither of those social media accounts. Then Paol decided that it was best if we go down some empty, unlit streets as a short cut. So that was that then, I wasn't going to even make the welcome meeting as I was going to be abducted by my Thai taxi driver. This is what was going through my mind. But I was now super thankful that my data was on as I was tracking the route (which took an hour by the way – so there was a cat’s chance in hell I was going to arrive in the 20 minutes I set myself) to the hotel. Things seemed to be going in the right direction but I made sure to remain in contact via the family group message just so that if my expectations did occur, I had a last known contact point.
Yes, is genuinely what I was thinking, not ‘Wow! I'm in Thailand, this is amazing, look at all the amazing new and interesting things that are right there outside my window’. But, as you can probably tell I made it to the hotel, just in time to catch the last 5 minutes of the hour and a half long meeting just before everyone was heading out for dinner. At dinner I couldn't really tell which way was up, let alone if I was hungry so I just got some stir fried veggies – always a good idea – that set me back a MAMOTH £2.50, including the bottle of water. Then I headed back to the hotel with a few others, while the rest of the group went onwards.