Trips in 2013: Thailand part 5/5: The last day and the last last day.

Finally the day we had dreaded since we arrived in Thailand arrived. The last day. We woke up in our hotel room for the last time and ate our last breakfast at our hotel. I swam in the pool for the last time and packed up my wet swimsuit in a plastic bag that I managed to squeeze into my overflowing suitcase. We checked out from the hotel and headed for the airport. Once there, we quickly checked in our luggage and went through the security check. We were there in very good time and got to watch Baby Viktor's plane take off on its way to Stockholm. Little did we know then that our plane wouldn't be leaving two hours later, at 1 o'clock, like we expected. We saw how the plane arrived from Copenhagen and observed, more than a little bit jealous, how the passengers headed out, eager to start their vacation. Then we watched "our" cabin crew and pilots walk onto the plane. Then, nothing. We weren't asked to board the plane even though it was getting late.

After quite a while a woman arrived and announced that there were some technical issues with the plane. A spare part had been ordered from Bangkok but as soon as it had arrived it would be easy to replace and we'd be able to depart. However, unless we'd be ready to take off within three hours of our scheduled departure time, the cabin crew and pilots would be unable to fly that day. Per and I were like, come on, of course they won't pull this off in three hours. But, they went on with the charade. There we were, almost 300 passengers, stuck in a tiny airport. The airport in Krabi doesn't have any restaurants. There was one tiny store that sold drinks, sweets and crisps but it quickly ran out of stock when everyone rushed there to get hold of something to eat or drink. We hadn't brought any snacks with us since we knew we'd be served lunch as soon as our plane had taken off... Hours later we were served one sandwich each, but there weren't even enough to go round.

Late in the afternoon we watched how our bags were offloaded from the plane. It wasn't until then that the spokeswoman announced that we wouldn't be able to leave that day and that we'd all get to leave the airport and be taken to hotels for the night. It took forever for us to pass through immigration and get hold of our luggage again and then it took another hour or so until we were directed to the buses that would take us to our hotels. We heard that some people were sent to "our" hotel and figured we'd get to go back there, but instead we were sent to a hotel 1.5 hours away from the airport. I was like seriously can't we just sleep at the airport, since we figured we'd be leaving as early as possible the next morning.

We had no idea which direction we were headed in but later we found out that our new hotel was located further south, near the town Pak Meng. We arrived there around seven o'clock and were served a buffet dinner as soon as we had checked in. We had hardly eaten anything since breakfast so you can imagine how hungry we were. The food was delicious, especially the desserts:

The silverlining to this whole ordeal was that the hotel we were sent to, Anantara Si Koi, was super fancy. When we arrived it was already dark outside so we weren't able to see much of the surroundings, but our room was so nice! Later we heard that some Danish couple had been even luckier and got to stay in the honeymoon suite lol. I guess they had to use every available room to accommodate such a big number of guests. It was quite impressive how the hotel staff rose to the occasion and prepared food for everyone and everything, and on such short notice too.

Our room :)

After dinner we took a bubble bath and marvelled at what a bizarre day we'd had. We got a text message from the travel agency saying that we wouldn't be leaving until 6:30 pm the next day so I texted my secretary to say that we'd be missing work on Friday and asked her to tell Per's co-workers. I felt so overwhelmed by everything that had happened that it took me forever to fall asleep.

Nevertheless, we got up quite early the next day. I think we were both looking forward to exploring our new surroundings and making the most of our extra day. Our time was quite limited since we knew we'd have to leave for the airport already at 1:30. Before breakfast we went for a walk around the hotel area. It really was beautifully situated right next to the beach and had a lovely pool area too.

Our last last breakfast was delicious. Just like at our hotel, there was a cook making omelettes and frying eggs to order, but there was also a pancake machine! And chocolate milk and many other things that we didn't have at our hotel. We admitted (somewhat reluctantly) that this hotel was fancier than our old hotel.

After breakfast we continued to explore the hotel and its surroundings. We discovered another pool closer to our room that was for adults only and decided to hang out there rather than in the bigger pool area. We decided against putting on sunscreen because after all, we weren't even supposed to be there so surely we wouldn't get burned by the sun? I was too restless to lie in the sun like Per did so I alternated between swimming in the pool and taking a million photos because everything was so pretty lol. Unfortunately we couldn't stay there forever and after a few hours we had to head back to our room to pack (again). We were served a lunch buffet complete with desserts just as good as the night before. Per said he wasn't even that hungry since we'd had breakfast just a few hours earlier, but I told him to eat because who knew when we were going to get food again?

The "other" pool.

The bus ride back to the airport was a bit more interesting than the night before since it was light outside and it didn't feel as long. We got to the airport three whole hours before the plane was due to leave and I couldn't help but feel annoyed that they'd picked us up from the hotel so early. We could just as well have stayed there another hour rather than be stuck at the boring airport again. What was even more annoying was that a plane to Helsinki and one to Stockholm were departing almost at the same time as ours so about 1,000 northern Europeans were cramped together in the tiny airport, ugh. We realized that there wouldn't even be anywhere to sit in the departure hall so we headed down to the arrivals hall and spent two hours there rather than go through the security check straight away. When we eventually got there we were told almost straight away that our plane was delayed again, this time an hour and fifteen minutes. Sigh! The planes to Helsinki and Stockholm departed on time but we were, once again, stuck at the airport with nothing to eat. At long last we got to board the plane and took off, over 31 hours late. The rest is history.

This trip made me get over my prejudice against "beach vacations" once and for all. Granted I don't know anything about "typical" Mediterranean beach resorts, but based on this trip and the one to Spain last summer (and going to Sardinia forever ago) I've learned that beach vacations don't need to be all about lying in the sun for hours and getting burnt and burning your feet on the warm sand and getting sand everywhere like I used to think. Just as when I went to Spain last year this vacation was the perfect mix between pool/beach time and exploring. It's all about what you make of it. I felt no pressure to come back with the perfect tan because at the end of the day my goal was to experience as much as possible.

This vacation was also my first time experiencing summer weather when it wasn't summer back home. I figured coming home to winter/early spring after experiencing heat more intense than I ever experience at home would make me all confused and not enjoy the warmer seasons around here as much. However, the transition hasn't been as hard as I expected. I've mostly picked up where I left off and am looking forward to spring and summer here just as much as I would have otherwise. I can definitely see myself going on a trip like this again.

Really this trip has reminded me how wonderful and great the world is and how much there is to explore, and how much I have yet to experience. I am already looking forward to my next trip, wherever that will take me.

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