XX – Daily life scenes in BKK.

Elephant statues are everywhere in the city.

Back to Bangkok for a 6 days, it was the first time that I actually unpacked my stuffs… I was staying long enough to afford to just sit and watch what was going on around me. Usually I would plan a visit in the morning, another one in the afternoon, and a night market or city tour by night… And, the next day, I would be on a bus to another city. I would see as much as possible in as little time as possible. So it wouldn’t leave me much time for laziness.

Thai stars making an appearance in the shopping mall. Don't ask me who they are, I don't have a clue...

But this BKK time was different. “Farniente” was my way of living for the following 6 days. I just wandered around the city, drank coffee, went shopping and watched people passing by. And during that time, two funny stories happened.

First story is about a date. I was sitting at McDonald’s, looking at people around me (I can already hear my parents scream…What?? Eating at McDonald’s?!? My daughter ugh!!!). Lots of students gathered to do their homework, and to prepare their group’s project/assignments. In all my years of study, I’ve never considered meeting at McDonald’s with my study group. I found it strange… Anyway, I also spotted a guy with a pink rose… a girl walked in. He looked embarrassed and she was really shy as they said hello… It was awkward, but so romantic! Cute couple! But, a date at McDonald’s?!? Seriously?

Second story is about a bus driver being lost and about plans not turning out the way I thought.

I planned on extending my tourist visa in Thailand because I wanted to spend my birthday on a beautiful sunny beach. And apparently, it was raining in Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines. Besides, those countries faced recently major flood! So, South of Thailand was my first choice! But, it took me about six hours (yes you read correctly, SIX!!) to find the government’s building where you can apply for a Tourist VISA.

Getting my ticket in the pink bus.

I thought I had found all the correct information (address & opening hours) on the web. But as soon as I showed up at the address, the government officers send me to another building, located at the opposite of the city. Arrived there, I was re-directed to a third building even further away… To get there, I needed to take the pink bus 52.

At the bus station, my pink bus didn’t stop… I couldn’t believe it! I learned then that you have to wave in order for the bus to pull over. Next bus, I was ready. I waved but the bus still didn’t stop, just slowed down. The doors opened while it continued riding! Crazy! I just quickly hopped-on.

My bus driver

The ticket controller on the bus, a very nice woman, was willing to help me out and tell me when to step out. So, I was enjoying my ride till the road was blocked by police officers and the driver was forced to take another route… I saw panick on the driver and controller’s face. Then, passengers were saying to turn left, others right, driver was thinking of going straight, while the controller was pointing towards a highway entrance…We were lost! It was a completely surreal situation!

In the end, we did found our way somehow… But now, I only had 15 minutes to do a copy of my passport and fill in the request paper before the office closes. I don’t remember the last time I run this fast, but I made it in time! I passed the gates to the waiting area, where I sat and wait to see a government officer who will examine my request, and decide of my fate (Yes/No beach). When it was my turn, I sat down, said very politely hello officer, and waited for the questions to come… But the guy just stared at me, stared at my request paper, then back at me and said:

Officer: Young lady (I loved it, no Mrs or Mam, it was young lady!!), you can’t ask for a 30 days extension visa (I didn’t like that part though)

Me: What?!? Why not?!?

Officer: You have a visa on arrival (Visa that you get at the airport when you arrive in the country), so it’s only seven days and you must pay 1 900 baths (50 euros).

Me: But, it means that I can only stay till January 29th… It kinda goes against my big plan… See, officer, I intended to spend my birthday on one of your beautiful Thai beaches…

Officer: Mm-mmm, sounds good!

Me: Yes. It sounds perfect. But my birthday is on January 30th…..

Officer: ooooooh that’s too bad!! You only get 7 days. But, have a nice birthday though!! [smiling]

Me: Okaaaaay… well, thank you officer. Bye. [me not smiling]

That night, I decided I was going to Philippines. And I bet it’s going to rain or there’ll be a tornado or a big flood or whatever… Story of my life!!

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