Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Back home again

We’re back from Thailand, and I’m already back at work. In retrospect, even with the little glitch of having to spend some of it alone, it was a great trip (Jorge was able to join me in Koh Samui eventually, and he had one day at the beach). We really liked Thailand and Cambodia, especially Bangkok and Chiang Mai. I will try to get photos and highlights up over the next week, so keep an eye out.

Our flight back yesterday was interesting – it’s funny how quickly things change as soon as you start heading to Africa. The difference between the Thai way of doing things and the African way was pretty drastic.

When we checked in, everything was smooth – clear signs to tell you where to go, friendly, helpful airline staff, timely departure from Bangkok.

Then we got on Ethiopian Airlines, and it was a different world.

No one, of course, was sitting in their assigned seats when we got on, and there was a lot of shuffling, complaints, and excuses until we were able to get into our rightful places. The food was mediocre at best. And then when we landed, everyone around me sneaked the airline blanket into their bags, despite a broadcasted request not to do so.

Our next flight was even worse. We waited, and waited, and waited to board the plane. Jorge finally went to ask and was told that the plane had not actually arrived at the airport yet. After two hours we at last boarded the plane. When the airline staff said that people “with babies” could board first, several families with pre-teen children boarded (mostly Europieans, actually). Then we had to wait another 45 minutes while people tried to shove their 3 or 4 carry-on bags into the overhead compartments, arguing with the flight attendants when they didn’t fit.

Then we were told that the flight course had changed – the plane didn’t have enough fuel, so needed to stop in Lusaka first. Why Ethiopian Airlines could not refuel the plane in Addis Ababa, their hub city, is a complete mystery!

In the end, we made it home 5 hours late. But overall I will remember this as one of my easier, smoother vacations!

More details to come soon.