Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Visa Run

We were driven out this Sunday to the Chiang Mai train station to take the (13-hour) overnight train to Bangkok. The train left at 5:40 PM and we spent most of our time playing cards and reading, until an attendant turned our seats into beds, and we dozed off to the sound of the click-clacking of the wheels on the tracks. We were awakened early the next day, shortly after 6 AM, and arrived in Bangkok to take a taxi to a guest home.

We spent a couple of hours there resting then took yet another taxi to the immigration office to get our visas. We spent the least amount of time we've ever spent in that office. Our concerns that our visas may not be renewed due to the political unrest were unwarranted, and we walked out with the ability to live yet another year in Thailand. Our business finally done at noon-ish, we were left with hours upon hours with nothing to do until our flight back, at 8:15 PM. So we did what any family would have done: we went to the mall.

Upon arrival, and after a very filling lunch at McDonald's, we split up; my mother going off to shop on her own, and my dad and the rest of us to search for things to buy. We thought of watching a movie too but nothing was worth seeing. My brothers bought a few computer games, and I searched in vain for a music CD. A new school bag was also purchased for Ethan, and a great deal of walking around the mall was involved getting to and fro each store. Finally, we pondered over chocolate milk shakes what to do for the rest of the day. The decision was made to buy our dinner (which was various meat buns from a nearby bakery) and take an extremely long taxi ride over to the Suvarnabhumi International Airport (or more known as the New Bangkok International Airport), which is now apparently the largest in Asia.

The airport was HUGE, not to mention very high tech, temperature cool, clean, well-lit, and organized. We did not spend very long there though, and we were soon waiting for our terminal to open up. While my dad arranged the plane tickets and we amused ourselves by running up and down the automatic sidewalks, and playing with Eli and Ethan's new remote controlled cars, my mom was busy befriending a Thai lady named Nong Sii, who she later prayed for and convinced to take pictures of us.

Finally, when our plane arrived at 8:45 (late!) and we got on it, it was only a little over an hour flight back to Chiang Mai. Most of us napped through it, and we soon awoke to a familiar airport. On returning home at 10:45 PM, we all breathed long sighs of relief, and thanked God that although completely exhausted, we got our visas and arrived home safely. We won't have to repeat the entire process again until next year.

Below are two pictures taken at the New Bangkok International Airport. The first was taken in front of one of many very nice paintings arrayed along the wide corridors. The second was taken with us standing behind a curiously placed metal screen (its use still unknown).

No comments:

Post a Comment