Finishing off 2010 in Thailand!

Jan 3, 2011

By some miraculous mistake by scheduling (that is the only possibitity that I can come up with) I was given 5 days off over Christmas. It might sound like any normal holiday to you, but in this industry the Christmas and New Years period is our peak season. Days off are rare and valuable. By avation standards, I'd won the lottery.
Despite this, I was not overly impressed. I had bid for a specific flight on Christmas Eve, a flight that most crew cringe when they spot it on their roster. I was disappointed, but soon shrugged it off. It could be worse. I could have been doing a miserable turnaround flight to a country that doesn't even recognize Christmas Day as a holiday or day of any significance. I began to plan out what I would do with my 5 days of freedom. I was dreaming of a mini-vacation, but all of the flights were full. I accepted that for the second year in a row, I'd be spending Christmas in Dubai.
Fortunately, I have an amazing new flatmate named Kim who dragged me from my Christmas Eve misery, forcing me to go out to dance and have fun. Everyone else was missing their family and friends just as much as I was, but together it felt less tragic.
On Christmas Day, Kim and I slept in until nearly lunch time before sitting in our living room eating chocolate in our pajamas. She later headed to the beach while I went for dinner with 2 of my friends who helped bring back my festive spirit despite the fact that neither of them typically celebrate Christmas in their home country.
The rest of my days off were spent doing absolutely nothing. I'm not sure where the time went, but before I knew it it was time to go back to work. I didn't mind. I was heading to Bangkok, which happens to be one of my favorite layovers!
I was up too late the night before the flight, leaving me exhausted as I headed for the grossly early flight. I managed, and happily flew out of Dubai with one of the best crews I've had the pleasure to work with thus far.
Landing into Bangkok, some crew made plans to head out shopping while others could only think of sleep. I was barely able to keep my eyes open, but I wasn't ready to sleep. Instead, I went to the supermarket to grab some snacks for my stay. I spent the afternoon lazily wandering the various shops around the hotel, before heading in search of dinner. The last time that I was in Bangkok I'd had the best Pad Thai I've tasted, and I wanted it again. I wandered down a dim-lit slightly scary alley until I found the restaurant. I ordered myself a small feast and then proceeded to my hotel room to devour it. After my huge meal, I crawled into bed where I talked on the phone to Ryan for a very long time. Calling Thailand is much cheaper than calling the UAE, so we took advantage of this and chatted until I was no longer alert enough to carry on a conversation.
The next morning I woke up, got ready and headed off for my flight to Hong Kong. We joked about how it was "a long way to go for dinner" during the 2 hour journey. Once we'd landed, we rushed to the lounge where a buffet of yummy dim sum, spring rolls, and other treats awaited us. We spend a few hours on ground each time we fly to Hong Kong, which we spend chatting, eating, and surfing the web. Soon it was time to go back to Bangkok. Overtired and overdosed on free cappuchinos, we were all in a strangely hyper mood as we boarded the passengers and took off.
It was nearly 1 am by the time that we got back to our hotel, but I wasn't quite ready to call it a night... no, I was in desperate need of ice cream. I headed to the 24 hour store across the street where I met with some of the other crew who were buying beers and drinks for a night of partying. Too tired to be social, I grabbed my ice cream and retreated to my room for the evening.
I had planned to meet another girl in the morning to head to the infamous giant mall, MBK. When I showed up in the lobby, she was nowhere to be found. I waited for awhile, but there was still no sign of her. Eventually I gave up and decided to go on my own. As I sat in a taxi zooming through the city, I thought of how much I've changed since starting this job. 3 years ago I traveled to Thailand with my mom, and both of us were slightly terrified of catching taxis in Bangkok, even though we were together. It seems silly now, but at the time we were dealing with such culture shock and we'd heard dozens of warnings. Here I was, in a taxi all by myself in Bangkok, without a care in the world. I arrived at MBK and forgot what I had intended to buy. I wandered the 7 floors of chaos, stopping to pick up some new movies to get me through reserve month. I didn't have much that I needed or wanted to buy, I just didn't feel like spending the afternoon in the hotel. I grabbed some lunch.... delicious noodles with calamari and prawns and a banana milkshake! I still can't get over how inexpensive it can be to eat in Thailand. After a few wasted hours, I returned to the hotel. I knew that I should go to sleep before my flight, but I wasn't quite ready. I went to the coffee shop across the street where I sat and ate a soft baked pretzel. As I was sitting by myself, a strange looking man came and sat across the table. "Sister, you have a very lucky face!" He told me. Unsure of how to respond to such a comment, I muttered "Uhh, thanks..." He proceeded to tell me that I'd live a long and happy life, living to be about 90 years old. He told me that he was a Yogi who travels the world helping the poor, and then said "Okay, now give me money!" I laughed at him, and politely declined. He was insistent, so I offered some worthless coins to make him disappear, but it was no use. "No coins sister, only notes." Not a chance. I got up and left him sitting there in frusturation. As I was crossing the street, he appeared again. "You are very beautiful!" He told me. Again, I thanked him, not paying much attention. "Do you have a boyfriend?" he asked. Despite telling him that I did, he still went on "May I have your mobile number to be friends?". I was nearly dying of laughter by this point, but I simply shook my head and said "No, I'm getting married." He finally got the hint, wished me a "happy life!" and left. Back in the safety of my room, I went to sleep, waking up to go back to Dubai.
We landed on December 31 at 4 am. I slept the entire day and was more than ready to celebrate New Years! It had been a great trip to finish off a great year.


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