Discovering the world on $20 per day ......................

Post 134: Leaving Bangkok, Almost, Certainly, Perhaps.

I arrived at the China Airlines check-in desk the necessary three hours before my flight was due to depart. I wasn't in the best of moods or health, not just a hangover, but things were about to get worse. 'Sorry sir, but you can not fly to Taipei and onwards to America today, ... not with China Airlines'.

The problem I am told is that I don't have a visa for the USA in my passport and I have no onwards ticket from the USA to London. Apparently, no other airline will accept me as USA Immigration will not allow me to enter the country, I will be returned to my port of origin and the airline will be fined .... bugger. To clarify this information, I check with several different airlines at Bangkok airport and they sadly all tell me the same bad news. My options are to either wait four days for a visa from the US Embassy here in Bangkok or to buy an onwards ticket from the USA to the UK, ..... $1,400.00, ... ouch. This is one problem that I had not seen coming. Each time I've flown to America I've simply got my visa at the port of entry, .... but each time I've had a return ticket in my possession, ..... this time is slightly different.

I invest in a strong cup of coffee and begin to think of a better solution than the two mentioned above. I don't have $1,400 and I'm due to collect the bike in Seattle on Sunday the 16th of August. I know that there is a better solution to this problem, I just don't know how much coffee I will need to consume before I find it. After all, this is Bangkok, a city where I can find my way around,.. a city where anything is possible. I begin to hatch a plan, .... it's not the best plan in the world,.. but it's still a much better plan than waiting four days for a visa or paying $1,400 for a ticket that I can not afford and might never use.

Firstly, I part with 100TB (£1.75) to rent a strangers mobile phone for 30 minutes, .. daylight robbery yes, but my need is great. I make several calls and set in motion a chain of events that I hope will see me safely boarding today's China Airlines flight to Taipei and Seattle.

Forty Five minutes before the flights departure, I return to the China Airlines Check-in desk armed I believe with all of the necessary documents. I wait in line and hope that there are no unforeseen flaws in my plan. I shuffle slowly towards the front of the queue, .... hot and nervous. I present my documents to the petite young lady behind the large counter. 'Did you pack your own bag sir?, .... your flight is already boarding at Gate A2, .... your baggage will go straight to Seattle, .... enjoy your flight with China Airlines Mr Thomas', .. thank you very much indeed. On boarding the plane, I find that I've also been upgraded to 'Business Class' for the entire journey, ... double result.

In the past two hours I'd managed to acquire a 'Ticket' on a genuine British Airways flight from JFK New York to Heathrow London; Saturday 4th October, seat 17A, meal included. However, .... this ticket that I'd purchased for the princely sum of $80, from whom and from where I will not disclose at this time, is of course a 'Bangkok Ticket'. It is a little like the Chanel #5 perfume that you can buy from any of the street vendors on Sukhumvitt Road. At first glance it looks to be genuine, ..... but whatever happens, .... don't ever try to use it. I do love Bangkok.

No comments: