Friday, 23 March 2012

A short hop home

So here’s what happened on the way home from Laos. We booked a bus to take us from Vientiene to Udon Thani in Thailand on Thursday. Torn between whether to get the earlier or later buses, I decided to ‘throw caution to the wind’ and take the later bus, especially as the tour operator was more than confident that we had loads of time and there most certainly wouldn't be any problems. Isn’t that what people do? Loosey goosy and all that. So there we were on Thursday, waiting for a bus we'd booked at 1.30 that never showed. 2pm came and still no bus, so Lee went to see what was going on. The tour operator told him the bus is postponed till 3.30 because there weren’t enough people. What?! The next hour was then spent in an absolute panic, convinced we are going to miss our flight, whilst everyone around us seems so chilled out. It’s like, to them, this never happens. What a freak incident it is that the travel in Laos is not to be trusted!
Finally we got a bus to another town across the border, wondering the whole time if we were going to make it to the airport or not. At the border it turned out getting a mini bus is easy, fast and not too expensive. All that stress for nothing!

The flight from Udon Thani was pleasant, and wonderfully short considering by bus it takes a whole night to get from there to Bangkok. And it cost about 30 pounds each, a pure bargain. In the taxi from one airport in Bangkok to the other, we explained to the driver that we weren't catching our next flight till 10 the next morning. He pointed out the obvious- why didn't we stay in a hotel? But we were resigned to sleeping in the airport, so stubbornly, we did. 
It actually wasn't too bad. We parked up with our bags near a Family Mart, visiting the shop at least seven times to buy instant noodles, hot dog sausages and beer.
In the morning, when it was finally time to check in, we had to wait for ages in a queue: something that doesn’t seem quite right after ‘waiting’ all night. The flight was to Moscow. Now is it just me or do Russians look a little bit rough?!
Anyway…the 10 hour flight was painful. Bad service, no alcohol and (I’m convinced, consequently) no sleep.  I felt like a bit of an idiot showing up in snowy Russia wearing my sandals. Despite the fact that I didn’t leave the airport and therefore it didn’t really matter what I was wearing on my feet, people were definitely judging me. We bought a couple of burgers and drinks in Burger King there, which I later found out from my bank cost us 15 pounds! Yikes.

After that, a further joyous alcohol-free five hour trip with the wonderful Aeroflot to Madrid. We arrived there with the intention of spending another night in an airport. Seriously, I don’t know what we were thinking when we made these plans. Sleep deprived and delirious, it appeared that there really was no point in being in Madrid at that point, and an epiphany was born. Let’s go home!
Ryanair claim they only sell tickets on the day for 300 pounds one way, and Easy Jet had no seats left, so we sat on the laptop to look for options. Hours later, we took a lovely Lufthansa flight, complete with red wine, hurrah, to Frankfurt. From there a further flight, filled mainly with commuters coming from the business district back to England on a Friday night (a fun bunch I must say).

We arrived in Birmingham, to be greeted with major cancellations and delays on the train route back to Coventry. Feeling like this might be the final straw, I pushed my way unforgivingly onto an exceptionally busy train home.
Finally, no less than 60 hours and a total of two buses, two taxis, two trains and five planes later, we arrived back in Coventry to surprise everyone. It was good to be home!

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