I finally made it to Thailand, and I just finished watching the hardest rain I've ever seen. While eating a late lunch at my hotel in Sukothai, I noticed that it had started to pour. 15 minutes later, the rain had stopped, but that was all it took to flood the streets and put everything under about 4 or 5 inches of water. Anyway, I think this is something like my third recap of Manila, and I promise that it will be the last. Last time I said I'd be in Thailand by the next day if everything went well. Everything did not go well.
My last post was made while waiting to check in to my flight. When I finally was allowed to do so eight hours later, I found that my name was not in the computer system. After much discussion, we all realized that somehow, my flight had been rebooked for the next day. I don't know how or why, as I hadn't been in contact with the airlines at all, but they told me I had two options. I could pay around $300 to get my flight switched back to the original date, or pay $40 to fly out the next day. The problem was that my visa expired that day, and to fly out the next, I would have to find a hotel and go to the embassy to get an extension, all without any kind of guidebook. I had no idea where anything was in the city or where to stay, and I just had to pay the extra money (four times the price of the original ticket) and hope my insurance would cover the cost (unlikely). At that point I had only slept 6 hours in the past 48 and had only eaten one full mean, and I just didn't have the energy to argue with the airlines.
After forking over far too much money, I finally ended up in Bangkok at around 1:30am the next morning. I slept on the airport bench for a few hours, and then at 4am, got up and tried to figure out what I was going to do. Flipping through my guidebook only made me realize that I had absolutely no idea what I was doing or where I wanted to go. I had no plans, and no ideas. I made the arbitrary choice to head north and ended up in the town of Sukothai. Apparently, the "old city" Sukothai makes up some of the largest and most impressive ruins in Thailand. They were nice, but I expected exploring them to take considerably longer. I got up early and caught the bus in that direction around 7:30. I rented a bicycle, and by 9am, I had ridden around the whole park three times. I locked up the bike and walked around on foot for almost two more hours, before I just couldn't find anything else to explore.
I must be used to the Philippines where getting to the bus terminal at 7 means that you'll be lucky to leave by 8:30. Virginia and I had to work to fit everything we wanted to do in, while here, it seems like I'll have work to fill in the days. On the good side of that, the food here is absolutely fantastic. Having extra time to eat is one thing I won't complain about, and I'm going to try to switch to five small meals per day instead of two or three larger ones. On the language front, I've mastered saying "hello" to people, and am working on "thank you." So far, I've said hello when I should have said thank you quite a few times, which is a pretty bad thing to screw up. After picking up my groceries from the convenience store, I'll leave, saying "hello" over my shoulder. Nice Alex. My next linguistic conquests will be "how much?" and "excuse me." "Sorry" should also probably come soon as well. Give me two weeks and I'll almost be putting a sentence together.