Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Thailand (Travel Home)

I am always so torn when heading home from a trip. By the last day I am ready to go and be in familiar surroundings, with my own stuff and in my own bed. But I also hate the trip home. Knowing that I have 2 days of travel ahead of me never seems very appealing.

I will tell you now that I do not have many pictures of this part because I was too tired to care and my camera was all but dead by the time we left the resort.

We left for the airport in Thailand around 10:15 or so. I think our flight left around 12:15 am so they like to give you a little time in case you run into problems. We got there and went right to the desk. They found our tickets to Seoul, Korea but then they could not find us in the system. After several people helping us they did find us booked on a plane from Seoul to LA but we did not have seats yet. The only available together were the 2 middle in the middle row. They told us to ask at the gate in Korea to move us so that Lewis would have more leg room. We just took what they had for now and went through customs. Customs in other countries is so funny. We walked right through and they barely gave us a second look. Once through we found that the airport waiting area was disgusting. The seats were circa 1968 and were FABRIC! So yes lice and other critters could be living in them. Not to mention that the seats all had rips in them and the cushioning was all coming out; mice anyone?
After waiting for almost 2 hours we were finally called to get on the flight. Korean Air, yea! But for some reason the appeal was gone. I was tired, cranky, and already feeling dirty from that airport and our trip had just begun. We sat together in middle seats for the 6 hour flight. I took a couple of sleeping pills and tried to sleep but I was not able to sleep for more than an hour or so. I ended up watching movies and listening to my music for the majority of the flight.
When we landed in Seoul we had to go through customs again before we headed out in search of breakfast. We were told while getting our tickets that the flight was full and we were sitting together in the middle of the middle row again but to ask at the gate and they would make arrangements to move us to a window or an isle.
When we landed we had about 7 hours of layover before our flight to LA so we had plenty of time to search around. We ended up walking to the opposite side of the airport and had something to eat. While there we found an escalator that went up to an upper balcony area of the airport. The upstairs ran the full length of the airport and was fairly large so we decided to see what it was. You see downstairs at the Seoul airport is like a restaurant/shopping center. There are tons of people and duty free shops everywhere. Upstairs there is a hotel, spa, quiet restaurants, t.v lounges, VIP areas, showers and family areas. Since Seoul is a hub and many people have long layovers they have a "secondary" area. This was the most clean and well kept airport that I have ever been to. There were people everywhere cleaning and helping people. It was awesome! We walked the hallways and considered getting a hotel room to sleep for a few hours but then we found a lounge area with free Internet access. We got a couple of comfy lounges and relaxed. Lewis was asleep in about a minute. I was able to check emails, Skype with the kids who were getting ready for bed, and watch a movie. We stayed there until noon. We started to get hungry and my feet were swollen so I wanted to walk a little to help get the blood flowing before the long flight.
We started walking and found the spa. We stopped in to see how much a foot massage would be and decided to do it. Seriously it was just what we needed. After the massage we were ready to find food and shop for a few hours before our flight. We stopped at the gate to check on our seats and they told us that our flight was delayed for 2 hours. They also said the best thing to do would be to give Lewis an isle seat in row 35 and me a window seat in row 25 and that the middle person in one of those rows would be willing to trade for the isle or the window to get out of the middle. It seemed like an excellent plan. So we got our new seats and went to eat. Lewis saw a Burger King and bee-lined it there. He wanted a burger and fries. After lunch we walked through the crowded stores and shopped. Lewis found a pair of sunglasses that he loved. We walked away from them three times before he could pull the trigger and get them. I also found a little object that caught my eye. It was a purse. Oh I was in love... until I saw the price tag. Good grief! Lewis would not let me walk away though and he bought me the purse and a wallet to match. He really can spoil me sometimes.
After shopping we cleaned up, brushed teeth and went to wait for our flight. Now by this time I had been awake for about 30 hours, with only a 1 hour nap on the plane.Lewis had slept a little but he needs a lot more sleep than I do so we were both pretty exhausted. We were waiting to get on the flight and the t.v. was set to this in the airport:

 This guy was doing I do not know what and everyone in the waiting area was cracking up. It was a game show so strange things were happening. I was so confused when people watching the show started dancing along with the contestants on the show. For a brief moment I thought I was going crazy from lack of sleep, but no, people were just really enjoying the show.

Here is the last picture that I took while traveling. I was laying on a lounger in the airport talking to my kids on Skype. I was headed home and was feeling happy. I had had a wonderful trip with Lewis and now we were ready to get home. This was also the last time I smiled for another 24 hours:

Here is my gift from Lewis. The beautiful purse that was bought in Korea:

Beautiful isn't she?

So as I was saying...we boarded the plane and found that I was in a row with a father and his son and that Lewis was on a row with a married couple that was not moving. This is the first point that I felt the fatigue hit me. I was tired and I was 10 rows away from Lewis for a 13 hour flight. Truth be told, I didn't need to sit next to him and I was the one that told them it was okay to separate us but still I was a little sad. The plane took off and we were on our way. The stewardess was coming around with our first meal and I was hungry by now. The kid in my row got a kid meal which was a burger and fries, the dad took the American meal and then I was told that sorry he took the last American meal and I would have to have the traditional Korean meal. Okay so picture me {no sleep for 35 hours, hungry, sitting next to a grown man that kept picking his nose and wiping it on the armrest, being offered a traditional Korean meal} I was miserable. When they told me it was the mushy goo mixed with guck for my meal I lost it. I started crying without making a sound (and I do not cry). Tears were running down my face while the nose picker next to me stared at me while eating his chicken and carrots. I could not get the tears to stop. 30 minutes went by and they came to get my tray and it was untouched. I just had them take it away. I asked for a Diet Coke, and of course it was all gone too. At this point I just put on my headphones and watched a movie. There I was tears streaming uncontrollably down my face, hungry, exhausted, and afraid to go to sleep from worry about a booger being wiped on me. I was a mess. Hours went by and I had to just sit there. It was the worst feeling ever. Finally breakfast came and I was able to get a continental meal with corn flakes and other assorted crap goodies that I did not eat. At least that tiny box of corn flakes made me feel better.
We finally landed in LA and got to stand in line for customs for about an hour, which really isn't that bad. When we got up to the window the guy asked us how our trip was. Simultaneously, Lewis said long, and I said hot. He laughed and said, oh one of those trips huh? We look at each other and smiled. It was a great trip but coming home was seeming to be a little bit hard.
We grabbed our luggage and went through another screening site and was directed to a kiosk with Korean Air so they could try and get us home since we were 2 hours late getting in we had missed our flight to Salt Lake. They put us on the next available flight out which was 3 hours away and we were to fly American Eagle. Have you ever flown American Eagle? Well I did once in 1989, and I don't remember it very well. American Eagle has it's own little terminal in LA. We were starving but it said that there would be food in the AE terminal so we got onto the tram and went out there. As we walked into the terminal my tears welled up yet again. It was the smallest, oldest, dirtiest terminal ever. There are maybe 25 seats and the only food is candy from a vending machine that is about 25 years old and a food counter with pre-made sandwiches and other assorted old danishes. We got Diet Coke from a machine and some m&m's to eat. We got the only 2 empty chairs (felt material with holes everywhere) and sat down.
I am not sure what happened the next 2 hours or so. I closed my eyes and heard laughing so I looked up and saw the whole terminal staring at us. I look over at Lewis and he is trying to stay awake but his head keeps falling backwards and hitting the window. I start to laugh and realize that I am doing the same thing but my head is falling forward and hitting my chest. This makes it even more funny to everyone that I am trying to stop but I can't. I am sure everyone thought that we were drunk or high or both. Remember we have not slept much, eaten, or showered in what feels like an eternity. Even with all of this going on, we are probably the cleanest and most put together people in the terminal. It was sad.
Finally they call our flight (after it was delayed twice) and we go to get on. We have to walk up a ramp to get onto this tiny plane and the plane inside looks as bad as the terminal we just left. We have "upgraded" seats so we had the emergency exit. We had tons of leg room but the guy sitting across from us was a whole blog post in himself crazy. He would not stop talking and even the stewardess asked him to be quiet. Our exit row was a sight to see. Duct tape held my armrest in place and the carpet that was left on the floor was curling up. If I was in any right mind I would have gotten off and walked home. But since I was in a state of exhaustion and starvation I saw my seat, sat down, put my seat belt on and promptly fell asleep. I remember the crazy guy telling stories the whole time and the take off and landing but that is it, really almost like a dream. Seeing as the flight was only an hour and a half not much could have happened anyway.
Finally in Salt Lake we get our luggage and head home. The dogs are ecstatic to see us. We are ecstatic to have showers and clean clothes. Food had to wait, I was just too tired to eat. Lewis fell right to sleep and I snuggled into bed and laid there, wide awake.

Welcome home, Kendra.


Jessica Stark said...

That sounds like the terminal Olivia and I were stuck in for 3 hours with no stroller at nap time!! I am sure it was the same one. It was miserable. I, too, cried uncontrollably for a good 30 minutes in the bathroom while some lady calmed Olivia down in the nasty sink. Did I care? Nope. She was happy for the few minutes she was splashing around in the sink. When you are exhausted, crying is about the only thing that is easy to do!

Miss Kendra said...

It must have been the grossest airport ever! I'm glad that I am not alone with the stress, exhausted crying!