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.

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!

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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!

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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!

Traveling Pod: Episode 8 – Head-Scratching Trip

Boy, documenting means everything because I can show everyone what I see what my own eyes.  Hooves of pigs hanging from shops, chicken feet right there on the sidewalk, an dan insane stench around every corner of the street.

What I just realized is as I’m writing this, I see a puff of black smoke that was let off by a passing by ship.  This relates to us descending in Hong Kong just yesterday.  As we were going down, we were going through a heavy amount of yellow smoke.  I thought it was dirty clouds (lol), but in fact, that was the smoke either from China, or the pollution from these ships.  AMAZING.

I walked into McDonalds (yes, after seeing what I mentioned above, I just want something that’s familiar) to buy some food and they were acting very odd.  I mean you can’t expect much apparently with customer service in any part of HK or China in general, but the cashier was so terrified to touch my hand when I was giving her change.  She pulled back her hand more and more and I was just dumbstruck at the whole ordeal.  After that, there was a man behind the counter who slammed my soda and my bag on the counter before slamming the piece of paper.

Just weird stuff. I’ve never seen any of this happen before in my life.  It’s all very new to me.  It doesn’t make them good or bad people, but after that happened, I sought refuge at my hotel and didn’t leave for the rest of the night.

I’m a little scared to go around at the moment, just because the amount of weird looks and things I’ve been seeing in general.  So, to reset my mind and everything that has happened, I decided to stay in for the evening and just relax. I don’t want to see anyone or anything for the rest of the day, do some meditation and working on me — just as I do continuously out there in my home in Thailand. So, let’s hope the next one to my travel blog is much better.

Questions & Answers: Why Thailand, Arsenio? The Story of Bangkok-Phuket-Chiba-Honolulu

What a story this is and an even better question.  So, one of my followers in Indonesia broke the question to why I decided to travel and live in Thailand.  I’ve never actually talked about in bulk to why I decided to travel to Thailand…..so here it is!

I was sitting on my bed on a hot January day in Lane Cove, Australia, which is situated just North of Sydney, contemplating what I should do in terms of traveling back to America.

I thought long and hard about doing travels through Asia before heading to Hawaii, then getting on a Hawaiian Airlines flight to go back to Vegas.

After long contemplation, I decided that I would go to Thailand for 6 days with a 7-hour layover in Chiba (Japan) before heading to Hawaii for four days to check out the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

After jamming to tunes, getting on a China Airlines flight with a layover in Taiwan before heading to Bangkok….I was finally….here.  I couldn’t believe it, but at the same time, I was looking over my shoulder because I was unsure who would try to kill me.  This was the impression that Thailand had on the internet back in 2012 — of course the stories have gone to rest.

Nonetheless, the sweltering heat, the hagglers, the suit shops, extortionists, etc…..I stayed in Bangkok for two days, hassled by disgusting fiends trying to sell me “sex massages” on the street.

I headed to the gorgeous island of Phuket in May of 2012, and that’s when my impression changed.  After meeting my Su and Meaw (two girls working at Central Ashlee Hotel at the time), I walked outside with an umbrella, seeing bars in a 360 view before having a girl wave me over for drinks.  I befriended an Aussie while drowning myself with the infamous Southern Comfort.  That next day, he took me all around the island, soaring up hills at sustainable speeds and overlooking turquoise waters.  And there it was….a Sam Adams in hand with a lime shoved inside of it, a samaritan sitting right next to me, clouds hovering before going right through the emerald green hills.  This was pure serenity.  This was tranquility.  This was…..LIFE.

Ahhhh…just going back in time gives me goosebumps.  After the unforgettable three days in Phuket, I stayed in Chiba for seven hours.  Keep in mind that this was the first time I stepped foot on Japanese soil, a goal that has been written in my essence since the 1995 Street Fighter days.  I was there.  Pagodas, people, food, and unbelievably quaint.  I recall walking in the store and having this Japanese girl help me immensely with trying to buy a present for my sisters graduation.  Japan, for those seven hours, met my expectations.

I later went to Hawaii.  Although it wasn’t the best in the beginning, what happened was a wonderful lady hooked me up (not in that way) with another Japanese traveler and we ventured around the island to a secluded beach.

There — was the right of passage.

We met a couple more fellow Japanese along the way, and it was in that moment sitting on the beach with deep-blue waters when the most unbelievably gorgeous Japanese girl came to me (nurse from Hokkaido, Japan), and she sat there — smiling.  I couldn’t speak Japanese, but this was the moment.  The moment that everything could change if I had only known…Japanese.

I went home…and that’s when it was time.  Not only being a typical, one-dimensional American, but it was time for me to head to Asia.

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