07 November 2010

First Flight in 6 Months

Having travelled some 20,000 km (rough approximation) without leaving the ground, getting used to the formalities of an airport was very unfamiliar.  In China, there had been scanning machines and metal detector at every train station and most subway stations, but no one was really paying attention, so it didn’t matter what was in your luggage or pockets.

Arriving at Saigon airport, I got lucky with the check-in queue, and was on my way through security within minutes.  Without thinking, I dropped my bag on the conveyor belt and wandered through.  Beep.  Mistake number one.  I’d completely forgotten about my wallet, phone, belt, keys and change in my pocket.  Going back, I deposited them in a tray, and went through again.  The attendant told me I had a bottle of water in there, and to take it out.  Mistake number two.  I handed it to her, and walked off with my bag, not mentioning to her (now that I’d seen inside my bag) that I had my laptop in there too.  Mistake number three.

I found a small shop to finish off the remainder of the local currency (Dong) by buying a beer and a snack.  I sat down, and took my bottle opener out of the bag to open the beer, and noticed that my penknife was attached to it.  Mistake number four.  The security personnel hadn’t picked it up on their fancy scanning machines.  While in the air during that flight, I kept thinking that, with my ‘lethal’ penknife, I was potentially the most dangerous person in the air at that time.

I had to spend the night in Bangkok airport.  I changed a tenner, bought some passport photos for £4.50, and spent the rest of the night trying to eat and drink of £5.50 (sleeping anywhere apart from a bed is not something I can do well).  I managed to squeeze a few beers and a couple of snacks out of it from the 7-11.

I got talking to a very drunk local, who was spouting all types of information about random stuff.  Mostly we talked about football, where, had he been coherent, he could have sounded like an authority on the subject.  All sorts of stuff came out of his mouth, the most interesting piece being:

“And League of Ireland, Shelbourne, very good, playing in Tolka Park, big problem with debt now.”

And this was just after talking about Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow (“capacity neally [sic]
 80,000, Torpedo Moscow, submarine missile”).  After a while, I wandered on to get another beer.

The rest of the journey was much less eventful, and I landed in Kathmandu the following afternoon.