Feb 13 11

A Tale of Two Airports

by Emily Benjamin

I can’t believe it’s been a year since we started organising this trip, and finally the day has come. A hurried start this morning – up at 6am (ok… 6:30am) shower, check packing, greet friends, move mattress, farewell friends, another tidy up and then I was being tapped on the shoulder by Monkey, telling me “It’s time to go…but actually it really is.” A few big kisses for Benny (awww) and I ran out the door, worried that if I saw his little face at the window then I’d never leave.

Upon arrival at Brisbane Domestic Airport, we were lucky to have no line for International Connections. Which was fortunate, because we had to spend about 15minutes at the counter, being informed of our first *Road Block. Our flights in and out of Bangkok are 55 days apart, which, as Cristine at Qantas informed us, was 25 days too long to be in Thailand without a visa. We knew this, but explained that we were only in Thailand for 2 weeks, then returning for another week in April. But unless we could prove this, we would be sent home to Australia upon arrival in Bangkok. Oh dear.

We managed to convince her of our intentions to get out of Thailand before the 30 days ran out, and once we’d promised to do this during our time in Sydney Airport, she let us through. SUCCESS! Take that, almighty check-in counter people! So upstairs we went, and finally got breakfast. Mmm Hungry Jacks ๐Ÿ™‚ After that, it was time to head to the gate.ย The farewells with the family weren’t too bad. They know I’m a robot, but even I shed a tear or two saying goodbye to my dad, sister and brother. But it was a nice goodbye – we were all in good spirits, fat jokes were still being made, and Dad even danced like a gorilla for me as we walked down the gangway. Then he did the **daddy-dance. Ahh it never gets old.

Upon arrival in Sydney, we had a few bits and pieces to sort out with our Thailand road block. A call to Amex, some quick web searches and a solution was found. We could book an extra flight from Bangkok to Hanoi at the end of February, meaning we were out within the 30 days. And that suits us, because we were going to Hanoi around that time anyway. But how to prove this to the Bangkok authorities on arrival? Well, Sydney International Airport is huge. A quick ’10 minute walk to your gate!’ you say? Gargh! Takes ages! But we had to do it in the hope of finding a printer somewhere. SUCCESS! Thank you to Bondi Bar, down the OTHER END of SYD Airport. Tickets printed, ready to present as proof of our onward journey when we arrive in Bangkok in 10 hours time.

So now I’ll get to the point. Mistakes cost money. Ask more questions. Find free Wifi. Always smile and ask for things sweetly, because you’ll have a better chance of getting assistance when you need it. And a king size Snickers is so much sweeter after you’ve successfully sorted two road blocks on your first day of holiday.

I’ll leave you now with one quick photo of the family farewell at the airport. Thanks to Sam’s friend Daniel for being our official farewell photographer.

IMG 7448


Next Post: Welcome to Bangkok!


Em ๐Ÿ™‚

* Fans of the show The Amazing Race will recognise the term Road Block as when competitors are faced with a challenge that must be completed before they move on. Considering we’ve had two of these road blocks already and it’s day one, expect to hear about more Road Blocks in future!

** Daddy-dance – an old school ‘jig’ usually performed by fathers, involving hip twisting, arm movements and the change of balance from the left foot, to the right foot, to the left foot etc. Can be done fast or slow depending on the music.

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