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Worldwide Ace » Godot’s Here, Yet I Wait Still…

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Godot’s Here, Yet I Wait Still…

14 August, 2008 (04:05) | Travelogue

“See you soon,” I typed, the promise of excitement giving me just enough adrenaline to make my weary body hang awake as I slapped my computer shut and fell into bed. In a mere 12 hours, Matt would arrive and I could begin my exploration of Bangkok and Thailand in earnest.

I had spent my evening wandering around and gaining my bearings. The streets of this area are filled European faces and accents. The guidebook says Bangkok should feel enough like home to make you feel welcome, but it’s so Western in its facets here, I feel uncomfortable. It’s what Stout would describe as stamped-outness—a feeling of being lost in the formulaic trappings of chain restaurants and repetitive global culture. Whenever we went to Chilis, he would get a deer in headlights look and comment on this experience. I understood, but I never shared his aversion. Still, I feel like I’m in Thaitown in some European country rather than Thailand. It’s unnerving.

I awoke first at 5 AM in part due to the savage stiffness of the mattress and in part from the cock crows. One piece of standard fare all across Asia are the roosters. No matter where I go (and no matter what time of day), the cocks crow with surprising regularity. Matt had told me he was arriving at 9:30 AM and would be getting to the Lamphu House by around 11:30, noonish. I napped a little while longer and enjoyed waking up every 20 minutes to the crowing. Since the Lamphu House’s check out time was 11:30, I figured I’d head over early and try and snag a room there. Lord knows my body wouldn’t be able take another night at the Mini House.

I grabbed a shower and brushed my teeth before packing up and turning in my key. It was nearing 10 when I arrived at the Lamphu House and inquired about a room. They still had no openings, but said I could wait. I sat down at a table in their cafe and watched Olympic swimming while I waited. At 11:15, people began to file out of the hotel. By 11:30, with no sign of Matt, I knew there’d be at least one opening.

The room was a double bed (meaning we’d have to share) with a common bathroom and no A/C. Not exactly what I was aiming for, but perfectly acceptable. I wasn’t sure if Matt would mind sharing a bed, so I decided to wait for his imminent arrival.

At noon, the room was gone and Matt was no where to be found.

By 12:30, I had pulled out my computer, purchased an hour of internet, and plopped myself at the computer fretting. Slowly, it began to dawn on me that the math wasn’t right.

When I had spoken to Matt the previous night around 10 PM, he was in Denver getting ready for a job interview. After the interview, he planned to head back to Boulder, collect his stuff, take the bus to the airport and take a flight via San Francisco and Hong Kong to Bangkok.

Lets pause for a minute and consider how long each of these actions would take. The job interview would be approximately an hour. The bus ride back to Boulder would be an hour or so. Grabbing things could range from 10 minutes to two hours, depending. The bus ride to the airport would be an hour or so. The wait for boarding would be 2 to 3 hours (if he arrived early as recommended). The flight would be about 16 hours. In total, that’s approximately 21 to 25 hours before landing in Bangkok. I’m not sure how he would squeeze that into a 12 hour window.

Maybe he meant 9:30 PM and just misread the ticket, I thought to myself. After all, we all make mistakes. Denise thought I was flying through Tokyo when I arrived in the Philippines and tried to pick me up from the airport two hours before my flight even arrived despite the fact my itinerary said I was flying through Seoul. I searched my email for a copy of Matt’s itinerary, but it wasn’t there.

It now nearing two in the afternoon and my morning entirely wasted waiting, I proceeded to wander down the block and overpay for a room with twin beds just to make sure we had ok lodging for the night when he arrived around 9:30 PM. I hopped online and drafted an email, hoping he’d check somewhere along the way.

So, doing the math, if you left when you said you were going to when we
chatted last night, there's no way to fit a 16 hour flight in by 9 AM. I'm
not sure if I misheard something or you misspoke at some point, but I've
gotten a room at the Rambutri Inn just down the street. It's room XXXX and
is more than I'd like, but it has A/C, a pool and a private bathroom,
meaning I can shave in the morning.

Hopefully you'll get this before arrival. I will hang out at the Lamphu
Inn between 10 and 11:30 PM just in case you didn't get this. Because of
your late arrival, we have the choice of wandering the night life tonight
or getting an early start tomorrow. I feel as though I'd rather do the
former at least for a couple hours if you're down.

See you soon.

-Ben

I decided to try and nap a little so we could wander in the evening. I woke up around 7, raring to go. I cleaned up a little and got dressed. My stomach quickly shifted gears, blowing out its clutch and making horrendous rumbling sounds, but I knew Matt would be arriving soon. After all, he said he was slated to arrive the day after me.

I checked the arrival times to make sure planes weren’t being delayed. Much to my chagrin, there was no flight arriving from Hong Kong any time around 9:30 PM. There was one arriving at 10:32 PM, which, if my math is correct, which it is (it’s been fact checked), would be 9:30 AM on 8/13 in Denver Colorado! Obviously, he simply must’ve forgotten to change the time zone of his arrival, throwing everything off.

The cafe at the Lamphu House stops serving at 10 PM. So say the signs. They do, however, keep the chair readily available for patrons to sip their coffee or beer well after. Seeing as how Matt wasn’t going to make it to this part of town until nearly midnight, I drafted another email, fully expecting him to find himself an internet cafe soon after he arrived and I wasn’t there.

Checking the arrivals, the only flight coming in from Hong Kong tonight
around 9 is one arriving at 10:32. This would be 9:30 AM on 8/13 Denver
time. I'm not sure why the time conversion didn't happen, but hopefully
that means you should be landing in the next 10-15 minutes. The cafe at
the Lamphu House closed at 10, so I'm headed back to the hotel. It's back
towards the main road from the Lamphu House and sports a white sign marked
Rambutri Inn that leads back into a small square. The room is XXXX, once
again.

I'm hopeful I've got this down now, as it will only depress me to find out
you're actually arriving 9 AM tomorrow.

-Ben

At 11 PM, just in case I was previously right, I wandered down the street to the Lamphu House to check for him. There was no sign. At midnight, I performed my rounds again. I even ducked past a few of the internet cafes just to be sure he wasn’t in one checking email right then and there.

It’s now 1 AM. My day and night have been shot. I haven’t eaten except for a cup of tea, a fanta orange soda and 2/3rds of a bottle of water, which I will finish off shortly. There’s still no word from Matt and I’m unsure whether our itinerary in Thailand will even function anymore, as it was tight with this day actually being used for tourism. What bothers me most is spending extra to get a second bed that won’t even be used.

I’m going to stay up for another hour hoping he gets here and finds an email. The hotel and the room are not hard to find. I have sneaking suspicion that the culprit of this mix-up is the international dateline. If only we could remember to check that the date of departure actually is the same day we arrive. Maybe they should print that on the ticket.

I probably sound more angry than I am. At this point, I just want to get on with things. I’ll need to spend tomorrow morning waiting for Matt as well, assuming he arrives at 9:30 then.

At least in waiting for Godot, the characters had someone to talk to.

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