They were all smiles until I mentioned wanting to buy a ticket.
“Well, you can’t really do that here.”
“What?? I need to get home! Where else would I buy one??”
“Sorry, but if you bought one here, it would be very expensive”
“I don’t care, I’ll pay whatever, I just need to get home!”
One of the ladies attempted to look something up on the computer.
In retrospect, I think she was checking her Fantasy Football scores or something.
“Yes, sorry, it’s too expensive”
She wouldn’t tell me.
I wanted to cause bodily harm at that point.
She was able to retrieve someone that spoke better English who informed me I had to buy my ticket at a travel agency.
“What? That makes no sense! Where is the closest one??”
“Right across the street!” they both smiled simultaneously, happy they were able to give me good news.
The fact that I wasn’t able to buy a plane ticket at the airport is something that still makes me seethe.
I made my way back into the hellish heat, schlepping all my luggage to this tiny hotbox that reminded me of a train ticket counter.
This was the travel agency?
I go inside and sit down to book my ticket, sweating like I was being dipped in lava.
I must have looked like a crazy person.
The lady ended up booking me a flight to Washington DC.
“No, I need to go to Seattle, not Washington DC”
Since she also spoke zero English, she wrote out “BGK – WAS”
“No lady, I know airport codes and SEA is the code for Washington State, WAS is Washington DC”
She insisted I was wrong.
We went back and forth for a while.
A man walked up to the window and asked if I wanted a lady for the night.
I politely declined. He continued to sit at the window and stare at me.
I looked at the ticket and realized the connecting flight to Washington DC was Los Angeles.
Was this a sign?…
Screw it, fine.
Book it lady.
I soon realized they only took cash.
I had to go to THREE ATM’s to find one that worked.
It was the worse kind of Déjà vu.
When I asked someone at the ticket counter where the airport hotel was, I was directed to this man who ended up walking me outside the airport.
“The hotel in the airport, right?” I attempted to confirm.
I hopped on the back of his motorcycle while he gave me a whirlwind ride through the streets of Bangkok miles from the airport.
I started to get very worried.
I had read rumors of people getting gassed in their rooms so they could be robbed.
When he dropped my off and I went inside to check in, I was so drained, I was running on fumes.
I passed by a Thai prostitute who looked drugged out of her mind.
I went directly to my room, took a shower and went to bed.
Until I heard the tiny, earsplitting sound of a mosquito in my ear.
Great, I was going to leave Thailand with the gift of Malaria.
After unsuccessfully trying to murder it, I gave up and brought out the mosquito net I had purchased from REI.
I had the feeling not a single sole besides me was staying at this hotel.
Then, at 2 in the morning, I began to heard weird scuffling outside my door.
They’re here to gas me!!
I tried to ignore it.
I grew increasingly paranoid.
I was going to be brutalized and robbed in a matter of seconds.
I had to act fast.
I put a towel alongside the bottom of the door.
Thankfully old, dirty, paper thin towels are impenetrable against deadly chemical weapons.
I tried, unsuccessfully to go back to bed.
I had little interest in the rape that was surely to come.
So, at 3 in the morning, I got up, got dressed, ripped the mosquito net from my face and got the hell out of there.
Luckily no one spoke English enough to argue with me.
I spent the rest of the night in the Bangkok Airport, sleeping next to a large group of Tibetans who has apparently been there for months, stuck between both countries.
When I was finally able to check in, 7 hours later, the woman asked how many bags I had.
I did NOT want to check any bags so I kicked my bag aside right before she looked down to check.
“Just one.” I said innocently.
Well, as luck would have it, that same lady ended up being the one to scan everyone’s tickets before they boarded.
I clearly had two bags, so I flung them both behind me back quite conspicuously as she took my ticket.
She craned her neck around, spying my contraband luggage and took me out of the line!
I pleaded with her that I could not risk losing this luggage, I may have started to tear up a bit.
Shockingly, this worked, and she let me board with both bags.
When I arrived in Los Angeles, seemingly weeks later, I had no where to live, no job. No one knew where on earth I was.
But I had never been so glad to be home in my life.
I took a taxi to my old, dingy West Hollywood apartment. The Russian driver offered me a cigarette and we both smoked in silence.
It’s as if he knew what I had been through and this was his way of saying “Sorry, comrade”