Tuesday 3 am, in Bangkok.
This will be a quick message as the last time I had any normal sleep was Saturday night. I will say that it turns out I actually can doze off repeatedly on a plane after a long enough time without sleep, and this certainly was long enough.
All has gone quite well, other than United Airlines nearly not letting me on the flight in RENO.
Despite extensively researching it and believing that the ducks were in a row, my required ticket for onward travel within the 30 day Visa on Entry period was to Vietnam. Unlike most SEAn countries, VN requires a prearranged visa. Because I had no VN visa yet, as I will be obtaining it in Bangkok, the agent in Reno would not let me check in!!
Supervisor’s approval by phone to SF got us moving forward, to SF anyway. After obtaining supervisor approval, it further turned out that VN had an onward travel requirement so not having a round trip was also a problem. sheesh! The Reno agent checked my baggage to Bangkok but would only check the human in to SF.
On the SF flight I was relaxed, assuming it would all get worked out. I even felt it a perfectly auspicious way to begin a trip that would likely involve multiple challenges anyway. Once in SF, United customer service printed my onward boarding passes with no problem at all. And of course, Thailand never checked and does not care, despite the written rules. Not so in NZ where a stay longer than the automatic 90 days meant an inquiry session with Immigration in the Auckland airport.
Amazingly my Bangkok 99.9% non-English speaking taxi driver found my obscure little guesthouse (there is a process at the airport to increase the likelihood; someone with slightly more English vettes the process) and the guesthouse had my room waiting for me at 2 am, with only a first name in their ledger and nothing whatsoever else.
When I walked down the alley to the entry door, it was just as unassuming, quaint and essentially Thai as I’d hoped. A simple little place in a completely non-tourist location near the Chao Phrya river. Just what I’d wanted. Oh, and there is wireless inet in the office area, after all.
So all is well. And that is all for now.