Thursday, April 23, 2009

And pirates are attacking Bangkok too...

Or at least that's how Jeremy puts it. We are leaving Bangkok today headed for Phuket, Thailand. We are feeling very fortunate about our timing for two reasons. First, tomorrow begins the Thai New Year. As I mentioned previously, this involves driving trucks around the city with monks in the back who squirt or throw water at you. Strange, but oddly fun. Second, there is a bit of political unrest in Bangkok. As with many situations, from what we have seen, this conflict has been exaggerated by the media. Make no mistake, there are riots, though we have not yet encountered them, but we still feel quite safe - and have been traveling all around Bangkok and have not seen a single protester. We are fine, happy, but looking forward to getting out of the city should the violence escalate (and the beach is sounding nice about now).

Phuket is an island in southern Thailand and is a popular vacation spot for Europeans, Russians, Israelis - but it doesn't seem to be popular with the Americans. Perhaps the 21 hours of flight time has something to do with that. Those people just have not yet discovered Ambien.

We took Thai Airways to Phuket. This was quite exciting to Jeremy as it is consistently ranked as "the second best airline in the world". Keep in mind, while at the airport, he made the same claim about approximately 5 other airlines. However, it was quite lovely. These people know how to clean a plane. The arriving plane landed, Thai Airways staff was waiting with an arsenal of 19 cleaning people to clean an A300 plane. That's a lot of people. They file in there like ants, clean like crazy, and 10 minutes later - we are boarding the plane. We are seated in the last row of the plane, the only two seats next to each other. We are certain that our Thai concierge who came with us to the airport and checked us in, in Thai thought this would be romantic. Romantic until I vomit due to the bumpiness. Romantic.

However, we walk to the back of the plane and pinned to my seat is an orchid corsage. Northwest, you could learn a thing or two from the 2nd, or 3rd, or 4th best airline - whatever they are today. The flight was fine (albeit there was a minor freak out from Jeremy who thought that the flaps were not down for takeoff...causing him to scream in fear thinking we would not take off from the ground. Turns out we were in a plane without flaps on that part of the plane). Otherwise - non-eventful.

In Phuket we are picked up by our private Mercedes transfer, we ride in style, and then driven to the JW Marriott. Now here is what I find to be the single best part about Thailand. We are greeted by a hotel employee, "Hello Mr. and Mrs. Frank, let me take you to your room". No waiting in line, no checking in, no deciding which credit card to use, and fussing about the right room etc....Ideal for families with children. They just take you up there, get settled, and they do the rest while relaxing in your air conditioned room. Amazing. Reason enough to visit Thailand. These people know customer service!!! And from a girl who hates nothing more than waiting in line - I know good customer service - its the little things!

More to come....

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