Early this month, I went on a media press trip to Denmark to attend Copenhagen Fashion Week and to check out the Ecco Shoes Headquarters.
It turned out that my flights went from Perth / Bangkok / Copenhagen. With a 7 hour wait at Bangkok. Both ways!
At first I thought, I’ve never been to Bangkok! I wonder what it’s like there?
I guess I toyed with the idea of zipping out to check out the city. But since I wasn’t a frequent [read: confident] traveller, I had a movie-styled scene playing in my head that involved me being in a road side traffic accident, then me being stuck in the waiting room of a police station with creaking ceiling fans, and then me arguing with the local police “I NEED TO CATCH MY PLANE IN ONE HOUR!!!”
So I decided to stay in Bangkok Airport for the whole 7 hours.
I don’t know how many of you can appreciate this – but as a parent of 3 young kids, I hardly ever get 7 day light hours to myself.
I literally didn’t have any where to go. Anything to do. Meetings to attend. Appointments to keep. Chores to do. Food to make. Kids to pick up. I had no time schedule to constantly check.
All I had to do was to pass time and enjoy the experience.
And believe me, when an opportunity like this comes around, simple things can make me very happy indeed.
When I stepped off the 7 hour flight from Perth to Bangkok, I took a long stroll through the whole airport to stretch my legs. It felt great to walk. It was as if the simple motion was re-setting all my muscles and bones back into place. It felt good.
I watched the sun set, from behind glass. I know, it’s a brilliant photo.
Then I decided, since I was in Thailand, I’m going to look for some Thai food for dinner. First thing I thought of was, Tom Yum soup.
But it occurred to me that I probably SHOULD NOT eat spicy, seafood, Tom Yum soup in a different country, just before an 11 hour flight.
I certainly didn’t want to be running down the plane aisle to get to the toilet all night long.
So I cancelled my meal order and changed it to something less potentially lethal – roast duck noodle soup. Yum.
I sat there and ate my meal slowly and leisurely. I read a magazine from cover to cover. I read a bit of my novel. I enjoyed the busy hum of the restaurant. And most of all I enjoyed the sheer quiet of my personal space – no one nagging at me, no complaining, no rush.
Just me and my own thoughts.
It was divine.
Later I found a little cafe, which looked very low key and homey. It had dodgy looking food, and weird Asian spelling for their dishes. But it was quiet, and it had free WIFI.
I sat down and did some work.
So quiet! It was so amazing. I got so much work done. I felt incredible!
Lastly, I found this massage place.
Before my trip, someone told me about the “famous massage place at Bangkok Airport” and I swore I would go check it out.
It was so soooo goood. I had a 1 hour feet and neck massage for AUD$25.
I was lying back on the lounge chair, with this lovely Thai woman rubbing oil on my feet, and I was thinking – I could go home right now and I would have had the best holiday.
Ahhh. Simple things. Karen happy.
It was all so satisfying, that on the way BACK home from Copenhagen, for my other 7 hours at Bangkok Airport, I planned to re-do every experience, exactly the same as before.
But of course, it didn’t turn out like that.
Before I got on the return flight in Copenhagen, I went on a shopping spree to buy presents for my family. I bought my kids Denmark T-shirts and key rings – and I bought my husband a bottle of his favourite whiskey.
Then 12 hours later, at Bangkok Airport, I got stopped at security and the guards pulled me aside and said, “You seem to have more than 100ml of liquids in your bag.”
And I was all, “Omg I totally forgot about the whiskey! I’m so sorry! It’s a gift to my husband! I just crammed it into my bag and it was 12 hours ago, and I completely forgot to take it out before the xray…”
But they were apologising to me. And why were they apologising to me?
Because they were going to confiscate my bottle of whiskey!
Apparently, back in Copenhagen, the Danish woman at the alcohol check-out didn’t put the whiskey bottle in a sealed Duty Free bag for me. So according to the Bangkok Airport Security Guards, I was carrying “illegal substances”.
I was devastated. But I was more devastated for my husband, who is a big fan of whiskey. He is originaly Scottish, and in Scotland, whiskey is more precious than gold.
Of course, you don’t get into an arguement with airport security guards – not even if your Scottish-born, whiskey-loving, stayed-at-home-with-three-kids-while-you-went-on-holiday-for-a-week husband will be devastated.
So I said, “OK I’ll give you guys the bottle, but first let me take a photo of the bottle in the bin.”
This threw them off a little, and they gave me this strange look like, who is this crazy woman and why does she need a photo? (I get it all the time).
I was almost going to retract my proposal, I mean, should I really be messing with the minds of Airport Security Guards?? So I just told them the truth – I needed the photo to prove to hubby that I really did buy the bottle for him.
Then they lightened up and had a bit of a chuckle when they saw me place the whiskey bottle ceremoniously in the bin, nestled next to the discarded half-empty water bottles.
Thankfully it was just a “gift size” whiskey bottle. And I got a replacement one at Perth Airport.
And I still wonder – do Airport Security Guards really just throw a full bottle of whiskey in the rubbish – or do full bottles of whiskey find their way to a happy home?
I hope so!