The World’s Worst Airline Award: Viet/Thai VietJet Air

Cancellation

Delay

Delay Again

Excess Baggage weight? Wait, but you didn’t say “excess” in Da Lat? Only HCMC?

Welcome to an airline that no human being should ever take. This is pathetic on a grand scale. Let me give you the story.

I get to the airport in Da Lat three hours before. While I was there, I saw VietJet Air (domestic) takeoff. I saw JetStar Pacific also takeoff. All of a sudden, the flight had been cancelled? Now, the plane wasn’t at the gate, meaning it could’ve potentially tried landing until the pilots chickened out — for whatever reason (I’m saying that in a derogatory way because the pilots for the domestic Viet flight and international JetStar didn’t delay).

For a cancellation to happen, there has to be something significantly wrong (perhaps underlying) at the airport or with the airline in general. Volcanic Ash? Understandable. Hurricane, Tornado, horrible weather in general? Couldn’t agree more. Light rain at an airport that saw two landings and a takeoff? Questionable.

I kindly helped the airline staff with everything because Thai people were trying to make sense of all of it, but because the airport is 30km away, it’s difficult to get in there without paying a substantial amount of money.

Bad weather plagued somewhat the trip, but I still had an amazing time. However, airlines can really fuck everything up….and so he told everyone “same time tomorrow.”

Thai girl: “and what are the chances of the plane leaving tomorrow?”

VietJet Air staff: “I don’t know.”

So basically it would be a gamble to stay an additional day…with you guys cancelling the flight again and having us wait 1, 2, 3 days? You fucking forreal?

I told my friend, “hey, I’m going to HCMC. Good weather and they probably won’t cancel.” — LOL

September 6th – Delay

After arriving to HCMC a bit late, I told myself, “immigration must be terrible. Lines must be long. I won’t make it.”

After seeing what happened this morning, I was right. Flight had been bumped 1.5 hours to 9:55am.

Nonetheless, I got to the airport this morning and it was a zoo. Makes sense. No big deal. Lines at VietJet Air were STUPID LONG. A staff member was so ignorant and walked up to passengers saying this: “would you like to check in the priority line? We will charge you 5-10$”. Doesn’t sound like a priority to me. Even if I had done that, they still would’ve charged me for EXCESS BAGGAGE.

Da Lat Baggage – Ho Chi Minh Baggage

Let’s put it simple. Da Lat didn’t charge me, nor did Thailand. Ho Chi Minh? YES.

So your policies are very fucked up, aren’t they? If one Vietnamese airport doesn’t charge and another does, we got ourselves a problem, don’t we?

All in all, this airline lacks all cores out of Stephen Covey’s book; from lacking integrity at both airports, to not proving their capabilities by cancelling and delaying flights with no transportation/accommodation offerings.

If you decide to travel to Vietnam, PAY THE EXTRA BUCK!

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.

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

Fun & Hobbies: Goals for 2019!

Here we go! This is the first of the 8-part series that I’m launching in conjunction with what I did towards the end of last year.  I’m super excited with what’s happening and what has already happened, but I first need to go back to the beginning of the year and see what I said back in my previous blog post (one year ago).

What I said at the end of last year….

For Sures 

  1. Indonesia
  2. Malaysia (possibly this month
  3. Kazakhstan + Kyrgyzstan

Potentials

  1. Australia (high chance)
  2. Hong Kong
  3. Taiwan
  4. Morocco (Tedx)

On-The-Ropes

  1. American Samoa
  2. Japan

Well, i got to Hong Kong, but not sure why I thought about going to Japan.  Australia was a high chance, but then with the visa problems and having to leave all the time this year, everything was completely destroyed.

  • Malaysia
  • Singapore
  • Laos
  • Malaysia
  • Hong Kong
  • Singapore
  • Laos

To be honest, 7 countries in a year was phenomenal.  However, were these real holidays? No.  Aside from the forgettable Hong Kong trip, Malaysia (both times) were the only legitimate holidays.  Singapore was fun both times, but I still didn’t venture out and do activities like I wanted to.  Was it because of budget problems? No, I simply didn’t want to treat it like a holiday at that time.  I was scared because I wasn’t sure where my income was coming from when I got back.

Now with 2019 on the horizon, I know not to overshoot what I plan on doing.

One of my goals, that coordinates with my career, is making more money in less time, and I’m establishing that at this moment in my life.  Building the connections and having big bankers all around Bangkok, on top of ex-teachers getting in contact with me in regards to big money work, will be game-changing.

I want to really dedicate more time to me. I’m sick of working past 6pm at a regular job, unless I’m getting paid over 100$ an hour to do so.  I don’t want to work long hours on weekend anymore, only to make a wage I’ve been making the last three years ON THE SAME WEEKEND.  I would much rather focus on my projects and FUN TIME.

New Activities? No Way! Spartans!

Aside from going to the zoo in Melbourne, Australia in late February (very close to booking this trip) and a few other things, Spartan races are still my fun and hobbies, although related to health.  Yes, I would love to do whitewater rafting and still go snowboarding in the snowfields of Hokkaido, but right now, that’s a bit on hold.  Mongolia/Egypt is surely on board.  I would like to take 2-3 massive trips this year and of course, my inaugural mini trips to Singapore, Malaysia, and the small resort island Bali, which is in Indonesia.

Listen to “Fun & Hobbies: Goals for 2019!” on Spreaker.

Vientiane, Laos: Round III!

YEAH! Here we go! As I normally do, I document this experience from the moment I leave my place until I get to my hotel and settle down.  Of course there will be photos and YouTube videos coming soon, but let’s see what we have going on right now.

Because I have everything sorted out in terms of my visa and passport, and now that I understand how my mind works, I’m no longer trembling while going to the airport.  I can ease, collect my ticket, go through an easy customs line before going to my lounge.  Pretty straightforward!

Bangkok Airways Lounge – 6.0 out of 10

Extremely disappointing.  So, I thought this lounge was going to have a full breakfast, but it’s only for business class passengers.  Here are just a couple of cakes, snacks, orange juice and that’s all.  However, I still believe that this is FAR BETTER than sitting in a concourse area where there are loads of people walking by.  I’d much rather be here.  The Airline, which is right down below (I’m typing this exactly where I am), will have to pick up just a bit of slack.  Other than that, for an extra $50 dollars to have a private area, chargers, no loud announcements and people passing by while trying to eavesdrop? Better than the other airport!

Bangkok Airways Flight –  9.0 out of 10.

Boy, this was super interesting.  Never have I been to this specific side of the airport, and never, have I EVER, had to take a bus to the plane at this airport.  Interesting.

But first and foremost, before the flight even began I must give a big thank you to the elderly woman at the airport.  I had bought a slice of pizza at Dean and Deluca, and when I sat down, I hear someone say young and pizza.  I was occupied with the things in front of me, and then this wonderful American woman approached me and said, “you look young. I don’t want to waste this pizza. Would you like it?” I glanced at it and noticed that it was the same pizza I ordered just 3 minutes prior.  I laughed, accepted it and was unbelievably thankful.  That’s one of the best gestures of the year. THANK YOU!

And onto the flight. The people on this plane were ALL FOREIGNERS — well — most. Not that it matters, but I think it’s interesting to say the very least.  This boutique airline, which labels themselves the boutique airline, is really great.  Honestly? If they had better routes and bigger planes, they can easily eclipse Thai Airways.  That’s how good they are.  From the beautiful flight attendants that speak perfect English and are very welcoming, to the fantastic food.  Yes, airline food is not what most westerns perceive it as.

For those of you traveling around Asia, please check at klook.com.  No, I don’t get paid for any of this, but if my flight left later from Bangkok Airport, I could’ve bought a simcard for this country and use it without any problem.  Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Japan, China…klook.com is GOLDEN!

The Arrival

Immigration forms were provided on the plane, which wasn’t provided when I flew my initial flight from Air Asia.  That sped up the processing time and it was much more convenient versus my last visit.  Air Asia simply did not supply the cards.  Happens.  But BA did! BOOM! Arrived, stood in line about 20 minutes and then got to the window with my sparkling brand new PASSPORT.  Visa in, walked out.  Pretty easy. Got into the car and headed to the hotel where I was greeted by an Indian receptionist.

Why do I emphasis the nationality? Well, this is how a town/city/country can begin speaking English — by having foreigners from all over the world speaking the language.  It’s brilliant.  I also saw some Vietnamese lettering in my hotel room, which makes sense why two Vietnamese workers responded to my email through booking.com.  I LOVE THAT!

All in all, there’s a lot of things that might happen in the next couple of days, and even my very famous YouTube traveling video.  I’m excited about what’s to come and the amazing people who are coming into my life. Stay tuned for more and tune into the podcast!

Listen to “Vientiane, Laos: Round III!” on Spreaker.

Last Trip of The Year: Vientiane, Laos — AGAIN! End of The Month!

Ok, so that’s Malaysia twice, Singapore twice, Laos twice, and Hong Kong.

DAMN!

Now, I won’t go so far to say that I’ve traveled to these places for all the reasons, but out of the exception of my Malaysian trips (awesome holiday and Spartan Race), these have been for visa runs.

However, this one coming up right now will be for a better visa run, requiring me to stay for two nights and finally make a mash-up of YouTube videos to show you what the capital of this gorgeous country looks like.  Soooooooo…elated about that.

Let us just take a moment right now and appreciate the madness I’ve been through this year.  The jobs, which were a bunch of dead end promises, have made me go outside these borders seven times this year — a record.  Now, I’m unbelievably grateful for traveling to these wonderful countries, but they weren’t legitimate holidays which are absolutely looming large in the New Year.

Nonetheless, from the scattered forests of Seminyih, Malaysia, a place I could’ve potentially died because there was zero transportation; to stepping outside singapore for the first time and seeing just a snippet of what I saw (compared to my last trip there); and also going to Hong Kong — a very questionable trip (this was the trip I’ve scratched my head about a lot….ha!).  What a magnificent and fulfilling year I’ve had, and I’m going to top it off by finally enjoying a place I can eat my wonderful banana pancakes at.

Traveling Goals for the New Years?

Yikes, after being challenged by my best friend (COME ON! DO A BEAST WITH ME AT TRI STATE!) to do a Spartan race in New York, to a toss up between Japan/Egypt (I really need a change of scenery and need to get out of Asian culture).  When I finally do these trips, they’ll be legitimate because I will no longer have to leave the country and come back on a short notice, just to get a refreshed 30-day visa (complications of requirements in this country is ______________<—-fill in the blank).  I won’t jinx anything yet, but with what’s happening in my personal development career and ESL life, we’ve got historical trips looming large!

Podcast

 

Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Special – IELTS Part III – Benefits of International Travel

Welcome back to another Part III! Today is a follow up from what I did in an earlier Facebook live video.  Here are the topics and look what I wrote  (which I recommend) for each one.

 

What do you think people can learn from traveling to other countries?

When I first traveled to Australia in 2009, I was introduced to an idea.  An idea that would change the rest of my life.  Being born and raised in Las Vegas, what I saw (in the world) was just Las Vegas and other parts of America.  When I went to Sydney, I saw what the world really had to offer, and that’s when everything changed.  Learning by traveling is the best way to open yourself up to all people of color, cultural backgrounds, social/religious beliefs.

Can traveling make a positive difference to the economy of a country? How?

Thailand has had over 20 million visitors the past couple of years, toppling the charts and surging to the #1  tourist destination hotspot in the world.  The economy in Bangkok is SOUND.  When I lived in America, I constantly heard about how bad the economy was and is heading, but in Thailand, the chatter of the economy is minute compared to other countries. If anything, it’s surging.

Do you think society can benefit if its members travel to different countries? Why?

I’ve been around Thai students who have had the opportunity to travel to the dirty south (south of the United States).  The culture they experienced there changed their entire mindset on African American people versus the perception they used to have of them (not always great).  Also, if people would travel to parts of Africa, Europe, Asia, South America, statistics probably show that those individuals are more open to accepting people of other cultures versus those who have never traveled and live around one predominant group of people.

Podcast

YouTube

Traveling Pod: Episode 10 + Vlog – Marina Bay Sands & More

The amount of nervousness that had come over me en route to the airport was insane.  When I checked my feelings to see what I was worried about, it’s always about passport control.

When I landed at Hong Kong International Airport, I was walking before being accosted by an immigration officer, asking me where I was going and other “interrogation” type questions before letting me walk off.  I giggled saying, “boy, how did the image of blacks become this bad?”  When I was clearing immigration, an officer tried persuading me to say “are you with this guy with the fake passport?”  I continued to laugh and say, “wtf, no.  american passport holder here.”

Shortly after getting my luggage, another two officers approached me, asked me where I was from, and put ONLY MY LUGGAGE AND NONE OF THE OTHER HUNDREDS through the x-ray.

Just disgusting.  Now you can see that “traveling in Asia while black” is UNBELIEVABLY DIFFICULT and not even worth it (last time ever stepping on any kind of Chinese soil).

So, this is probably what piled on top of my nervousness.  From checking into the counter (horrible experience with yet again — Air Asia a few months back), security (never a problem in Thailand…amazingly), and then passport control (a lady at Don Meung looked through all of my pages the last time I was at Don Meung International).

So, to stop this from happening, if you’re a color of any kind, NEVER TRAVEL TO DON MEUNG INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT! Avoid at all costs.

Why?

Well the main airport (Suvanabhumi — and I butchered the spelling) has never given me problems.  Coming back is a different story, because they sometimes ask legitimate questions, but that’s about it.

So, with all that nervousness and a 3-tier process, I cleared immigration perfectly with no problem.  BOOM!

Scoot – Delays & Horrible Turbulence

I’m writing this on the airplane, and my goodness, this is why I take big planes.

Sure, the airplane geeks will come out and say “it doesn’t matter.”  Yes, it does.  Cathay Pacific had an ultra-gorgeous airbus.  We took off in bad weather and it was still smooth sailing.  Smaller planes bear the brut of hell.  Honolulu-Maui, Kuala Lumpur-Bangkok,  Bangkok-Phuket…..all were tiny and pathetic.  LOL (had to laugh).

Anywho, Scoot had the most preposterous delays (I’ll speak about it in the podcast).  Nothing else to say there.  This will be my last time with Scoot though.

The Return

Wonderful airport, amazing transport system, easy check-in, and just wonderful all around. YouTube and podcast down below!

Listen to “Traveling Pod: Episode 10 – Marina Bay, Environment and More!” on Spreaker.

 

Traveling Pod: Episode 9 – Singapore for The 6th!

Here we go! The 6th country of the year.  Boy, what the hell is going on.  To be honest, I’m in a transition phase right now with work, and have been seen the dawn of the New Year.

Because this phrase has been ongoing, it requires me to leave the country often because of visa complications.  However, now that I have a reputable agency working on my visa and documents, when I come back that following week, I’ll be getting my one year visa and I won’t have to travel for the rest of the year (I think 6 times is enough).

So, why Singapore again, Arsenio? My happy ass got excited with jumping over a pond to Hong Kong and ended up having the most FORGETTABLE trip of my life.  Hong Kong is everything I didn’t WANT it to be, from the stereotypical immigration officers, to a wack ass hotel.  Sure, I met a nice individual there, but it was still….BLAH.

Should I go to Cambodia? Terrified.

Singapore is a safe trip and allows me to go to the main airport in Bangkok, (versus the dog house called Don Meung).  The main airport is connected with transportation that goes all the way to my condominium. I like my chances.

Singapore is going to be a trip of ME! Last time I went there I saw one of my ex-students, and now that she has grown up and forgot about her teacher (happens with youngsters, lol), I’ll go there to enjoy time by MYSELF and Vlog at the amazing Marina Bay Sands, a hotel I’ve always dreamed of seeing.

Now with having the ability to get outside the hotel and the area I’m living in, this could be a much more enjoyable trip compared to the last one.

Stay tuned for a variety of vlogs, instagram videos and other things that will be making their way here! Oh, and of course, a Ramble of Positivity!