Traveling Blog: Episode 013 – Airport Chaos, Solid VietJetAir, & The Landing

Solid. Just solid all the way around. Let’s first talk about my mishap.

I looked at my flight details for the umpteenth time and realized that I read it wrong, by about 30 minutes. Big deal? Not really, but then the rush came….and when you rush, everything with align with the “not-enoughness” mentality.

I had two perfect train rides, but then got agitated by the mere two stairs at Phaya Thai station in Bangkok.  Only two exits to go down and both on the far-ends.  See what I was complaining about? Pretty ridiculous, huh?

Got to the airport link, which is right over this specific station and I HEARD THE TRAIN.  Could I have run faster to make it? Nope. I missed it by about 2 minutes.  Then, here I was standing on the platform, nodding my head and gasping with discontent, telling myself “this train is going to take 15 minutes to come.” 

I ended up not “living in the moment.” You know? Traveling to Vietnam for the second time to meet beautiful people? THAT MOMENT! It was frustrating that I entered that mindset…and I couldn’t escape it because I kept telling myself, “what if?”…..and the “what if” happened.

Got to the airport. Ran up the stairs and there I was, searching for my gate. I went to information and of course, a rude (typical) Thai girl who was rather pathetic and very unhelpful.  VietJet Air, being apparently the “annoying cousin at a party – airline,” was shoved in Row W, which takes minutes to walk to (this is not like the wondrous Changi Airport where staff are the best in the world….it’s Thailand – lol). So, because I was on the hurry-and-scarcity mindset, who was there to greet me at check-in? An asshole.  DUH! Luckily it was quick, but then I looked at passport control, which is the most annoying in Thailand (there old-style beliefs are criminal), had the longest lines ever.

Wait, it’s Saturday! Arsenio, why the F*** would you fly out on a Saturday, you fool!

I stood in line for 25 minutes and I saw this little girl give me a smile.  OH, SO HEART-WARMING! 5 minutes later, her father is being chewed out by a complete dick of an immigration officer.  Thai culture, I suppose? It’s not the new generation, it’s the broken/poverty mindset.  If someone ever raised their voice at me, I would blow up on them in a heartbeat.  Why? I treat people how they treat me.  If I’m in an amazing country, I would shower them with love.  However, this is Thailand….and you just can’t be nice or you would be taken advantage of. It’s like…Cambodia.  

I then walk to the window and yes, as always, immigration loves just looking at a passport as if they’re going to find some hidden information about me and my whereabouts.  I was batting my eyes at him with my head slanted, shaking my head in disgust and also laughing. Let’s just say I was mocking him, because I knew at the very end, you’re going to give me my passport back and I’m going to call you a stupid.  That’s exactly what happened.  SORRY! If you don’t like it, do something (American tonality).

Enough of the bitching

Ok, minus all Thainess and let’s get into the good – finally.  Two slices of pizza and I’m surprised I even made my boarding time. Gates open 10 minutes after I arrived.  Just a bad day in all…..because I left early? Or because it’s Saturday?

VietJet Air

Remember, when you fly low-cost airlines, they’re not on time. If you think and believe you’ll be on-time with an airline you don’t pay much for, you’re a fool. Was it worth it? HELL YES!

The plane was half-full! The flight attendants had genuine smiles and they are now the most helpful Thai flight attendants in Thailand!  YES! Better than Bangkok Airways, ha! Ascending was sound (even though there was some crazy cloud cover and rain had started coming down over Bangkok), and I had not only an entire row to myself, but also the row on the other end of the fantastic A320’s (I’m a HUGE FAN of AirBus. I don’t trust BEOING and their seat pitch is appalling). Ordered me a coffee (I hate coffee but needed to get some reports done) and just glanced over my right shoulder ever-so-often to see the formations of land down below.

The Ramble of Positivity: Episode 033 – Third Travel of The Year is Here!

I think what I might enjoy most, which is actually quite bad, is coming back into the country and shoving my visa in the faces of the dogs that want to keep me out of the country. LOL. It’s not only me, but horrific immigration laws have gotten far worse and they’re trying to kick out most foreigners, rather than bringing them in (which is the only way you can get better as an economy. Nonetheless, this is my third travel of the year. It’s still a bit head-scratching that I was able to do six massive trips last year and still save quite a bit of money. There were some crazy setbacks this year, and a 3-5 month, low-salary giving job really took a toll.

So, I took the bull by the horns. I told myself that I need to create my own assets. I need to create my own finances and not rely on a stereotypical, full-time job to give me ANYTHING. The salary they pay me, is in fact, criminal for who I am. Why do I stay? They give me a work permit…which is the only document that will allow me to stay here longer. This is good for the time being. It provides me not only with a sense of security, but the ability to flinch and look at officials in the wrongest ways (haha).

All negativity aside, I’m now full dependent. I make my schedule. I cancel classes, and now I’m starting to make residual income from all corners. Yes, one, if not two, have possibly come and gone, but it’s all about having multiple sources to protect yourself.

When I went to Malaysia, my salary was sound. Stayed at the Renaissance Hotel and all was well, but during that time, I had to spend 300 USD on my flu. When I spent 25000 baht (equivalent to 800 USD) on my trip to Singapore, I got hit with an exact bill for my visa. And remember, this was during the months that I was receiving next-to-NO-MONEY from my full-time job, covering just overhead expenses. I stopped relying on one woman, and I began creating a number of relationships. I made 4-5 private students, on top of doing big workshops, talks, and more workshops. I’m no longer going to put all my eggs into one basket, and that’s I’m truly grateful for.

Now on the cusp of going on a super cheap trip to a gorgeous country that I adore to do activities that I never thought about doing, TOAST TO IT!

Activities

Trekking, seeing clouds that are super low, gorgeous scenery, white-water rafting, and much more. This trip has my salivating already. Three solid days to document a glorious trip and now I’m beyond elated.

Next Vacation & Spartan Race: Taiwan!

You read it correctly. Your main man, who goes by the name of Arsenio Buck, is reentering Spartan after a bit of a hiatus.

When I was trekking through the foothills in Hua Hin, sucking in dust particles like it was oxygen, I told myself: “man, FUCK THIS!” I said I would never do it again. However, after listening to my body and feeling how strong I’ve become, my body is craving that immense pain once again!

I made an oath to myself at the beginning of the year that I was going to take a year off from Spartan races because the Beast in Hua Hin last year was just so unbelievably demoralizing. However, after sorting out my visa situation here in Thailand, micro trips to Malaysia and Singapore are NO MORE!

I can’t let just a few assholes at Immigration in Hong Kong determine the outcome of me traveling everywhere. Yes, Taiwan will be another very difficult country I need to acclimate with, but because I will be be the “not-so-thumb-sticking-out,” that means I won’t have a problem recording and documenting my stories. Will the Spartan Super go as planned? I have no idea. I will need to adapt very quickly and once I land in Taoyuan International Airport, I’ll know what I’m up against.

Traveling Podcast: Episode 012 – Cathay Pacific A350 Review, Changi T4, Hotel G

When I saw the aircraft arrive an hour early, the thought that it would be delay for 25 minutes didn’t cross my mind. However, I was more preoccupied with that unbelievably rambunctious Chinese tour group that was around me.

Yes, this is a growing problem in the traveling scape. Are they the younger generation? No. Sorry, Gen B’s. However, I knew that once we sat down, those wild n’ crazy kids would fall asleep. I WAS RIGHT!

Sweating, looking up, scratching my head, past 12pm….maybe this is just a Bangkok thing. Oh, we were only 2 planes back, so that’s like a 2 minute delay…not a problem. However, we sat at our gate well past 12pm. Why? Have no idea, but it’s not the end of the world.

A380 is SMOOOOTH

My goodness! We took off, lifted the front wheel up, and it was the sexiest, calmest ascent to 30k feet ever! Guys, I must say that the pilots and brand new aircraft is spectacular. I love it! I’m grateful for it! However, that’s all you get with Cathay Pacific. 6 of the 10 flight attendants I saw looked depressed. Fake “thank yous” and hey…well that’s every airline in general. Last time I had a wonderful flight attendant was 6 years ago flying Singapore Airlines from Japan to Singapore. Again, will I continue flying Cathay? Most definitely. In-flight entertainment, wide seats, beautiful carpet, gorgeous plane, competent pilots — I LOVE IT. I just have to be careful about rude passengers.

Changi Airport – Terminal 4 – DON’T GO!

Man, I’ve never had this happened. A very long walk, which happens, to immigration. Not a problem. However, when I got to immigration, there were long lines. I’m scratching my head like, “yo, come on. This is Changi Airport! The G.O.A.T!” Well, not this time. In fact, T4 is disconnected from everything, including Jewel. The only way to get a train or get to the other terminals is by waiting 10-15 minutes for a bus. From there, then you can access civility. To be honest, I’m scared to go there for departures because they might not have anything compared to the other three terminals.

Keep in mind, it just recently opened.

People were in the way and then a friend told me, “why are you taking the train? Just a taxi.”

If that’s not the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. That’s the most unnecessary expense EVER. Singapore has the best transportation system in the world, but I should take a taxi? You know what that means? Well let’s just say I was suppose to meet this friend for dinner and realized that she goes to expensive places. Ahhh…she’s a “hi-so” type.

Dropped. Sorry!

Hotel G in Bencoolen in the podcast!

Podcast

The Ramble of Positivity: Episode 031 – Singapore, I’m COMING!

Excited, jubilated, in harmony, bliss, serenity. Baby, I’m going to Singapore. Cathay Pacific right into the new Terminal 4 which houses that new magnificent Jewel? Oh, I’m definitely NOT complaining.

Excited, jubilated, in harmony, bliss, serenity. Baby, I’m going to Singapore. Cathay Pacific right into the new Terminal 4 which houses that new magnificent Jewel? Oh, I’m definitely NOT complaining.

Land, catch the magnificent train to my hotel, check in, and have my friend pick me up for some Malay/Singaporean food? CHECK! Friend to meet for drinks after? Aquarium on Saturday?

I’m grateful. I’m excited. This is my first “real” holiday since last August. I had Laos in November of last year, topping off the most FORGETTABLE trip of the last 10 years. Malaysia, which was just below average, continued the soar trend.

So I’m going to buck this trend by heading to my favorite country in Southeast Asia.

Heavy Breathing In The Morning

Anytime I go to the airport, I always think worse case scenario, which is probably not a good thing to entertain in terms of having a though. After getting on an always-crowded-skytrain (in the morning — rush hour), I got to the airport link, had my ticket at hand already and got to the airport.

I followed a couple of students up the escalators before finally reaching Cathay Pacific. The guy at the counter looked new, and Chinese. not that the nationality mattered, but there was a guy overseeing what he was doing and of course, he kinda didn’t know what he was doing. After 4 minutes and without any questions, I received my ticket, went through an always-easy security check, and then to passport control.

This is the place I dread because the could be nasty….however, out of all the times I ever left this country, it was one foolish, old, racist lady that put her glasses on and went through my pages before I started laughing at her bigotry. New passport and guy? 1 minute, stamp, done. EASY!

So, all the heavy breathing, again, for NOTHING.

Going into the airport…some questions may come, but last time I came, there weren’t any. If they ask (and they don’t do so often), it’s because I write something ridiculous on my paper that raises a question. So, now I’m sitting here at the airport and waiting for my departure to an ultra-efficient country!

Podcast

Next Holiday: Singapore! Oh, No Spartan Race, Either

Can I just enjoy a holiday without pushing my body to the limit? Just once?

When was the last time I did such a thing? Ahhh, when I went to Hong Kong, an unbelievably forgettable trip (sorry, my folks from HK who view my blog — lol).

It was a toss up between Hanoi, a place I haven’t traveled to yet; and of course Singapore, a place I’ve enjoyed…but not to its full potential.

Originally the plan was to go to Hanoi to see a friend that had some potential, but after she dropped the bomb on me (A-FUCKING-GAIN), for the second time, I diverted plans. Going to Vietnam is like Thailand but without proper infrastructure, security, and things to do. I would much rather go to a country that slightly above Thailand for a holiday.

No disrespect to my wonderful folks in Hanoi, but I’ve visited HCMC already and boy….what a TRIP that was! Vietnam is still unbelievably beautiful and has the most gorgeous islands on the planet….but for this trip, let me enjoy great transportation, clean streets and other perks.

Flight? CATHAY PACIFIC!

So, when choosing a flight, you will see that most low-cost airlines have abominable flight times. Scoot, priced at $180 dollars, had a flight time of 8:35am from Bangkok Airport. That’s tough, because check-in opens at 5:35am; therefore, I can’t sleep at my condominium because I’m an hour away from the airport by taxi — who of course — won’t be fair and take me directly to the airport (welcome to Thailand). So what would I have to do? Trekk to Lat Krabang (basically the same area at the airport) and stay at a $20 hotel with free shuttle service. The catch? Walking on wet, muddy roads through slums, over broken bridges…etc.

I’m good…really. Next time.

Cathay Pacific leaves at 12:30pm! A perfect time to catch a plan. Yes, a bit wacky because that means I would have to get on the train either around 6am to workout from 6:45-7:45 with a trainer I don’t like. Or, get to the platform earlier and just hangout at the airport for several hours. Pain in the ass. Taking trains in BKK between 7am-9am is not the best thing to do….nor is taking the airport link.

Now that I’m writing this, I’m asking myself if I should even take this flight because the flight time is ridiculous (LOL).

Ok, so no Spartan. What will you do?

Zoo and Aquarium! My awareness has gone up about 500% percent since 2011 (when I first went). Animals that I see everywhere, including the homeless dogs and pigeons out on the street, are beautiful to me. I think I’m going to be amazed visiting a zoo and aquarium now because I know in one hundred years, the majority of these animals will be gone, unfortunately.

There are a few other things I’m trying to sort out, but also have a friend that lives there. This is my first ever Singaporean friend, so if all goes well, this could be a trip to remember!