Tuesday, September 20, 2005

 

Back in Phnom Penh

If you read Paul's first blog as an AYAD about dramas staying overnight at Bangkok airport, this will sound somewhat familiar. There were 7 of us flying from Sydney who had to stay overnight in Bankok before catching our flight to PP the next morning. The problems started at Sydney airport when some people checked their luggage to Bangkok and some to PP. I was asked at check in if I wanted my luggage to go to PP and said yes before opening my suitcase in the middle of the airport to fish out a spare pair of undies. We had been given vouchers for the airport hotel but no clear instructions about where the hotel was or what to do when we arrived. The people who had only checked their luggage to Bangkok obviously wanted to go to the baggage claim to avoid their bags going round and round all night before being blown up for being unaccompanied. The baggage claim is after immigration where they stamp your passport and then don't let you back in to the arrivals area where, we later found out, the hotel was. Since I was not concerned about bags, I went with Emma, another AYAD to find the hotel. The people at the reception very casually and clearly explained that once our friends had gone through immigration they could not come back and stay at the hotel. We ran back as fast as we could to immigration to stop the others spending the night on chairs in the waiting lounge. Too late. They had all had their passports stamped. Fortunately a very nice Thai immigration dude felt sorry for us and had their stamps cancelled and let them back through, after fishing through piles of immigration forms to retreive theirs. This debacle cost us an extra hour's sleep. The airport hotel, oddly named Louis Tavern Dayroom, was fine - or rather, would be fine if Bangkok airport had a curfew more like Sydney airport. We clearly heard every flight announcement until about 3am... I should have pulled my earplugs as well as undies from my suitcase.

So eventually I arrived back in Phnom Penh yesterday at the same time as the AYADs from Melbourne and Brisbane who didn't need to stay overnight anywhere. Jono was at the airport which was a great surprise. He originally planned to come to meet me but ended up with some jobs to do helping Hour (our in country manager) greet all the AYADs and make sure we all got on the bus. Some of the others told me later they were surprised when I got a kiss on the lips and they only got a welcome handshake. It's good to be back. Jono was also recruited to give us the city tour this morning which was very funny. We're off to check out houses to rent this arvo but that means me stepping out of the internet cafe into the rain without an umbrella - oops.

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