18 Nov Leaving Germany and arriving in Thailand
The alarm goes off at 06:00 so that we can be ready to hit the road by 09:00 for the 2 hour drive to Frankfurt to catch our 15:30 flight. Yes, we are very early! We quickly wake up and have our morning coffee before we each jump in the shower. After our showers, we load the van and say “Tschüss” (see ya later) to our family and off we go. Actually, we are on the road before 08:30 and we are all very surprised to be already driving. The weather is cool and the skies are clear, a beautiful start of the day. Sadly as we get closer to Frankfurt, Germany’s ugly weather decides to show up and it starts raining and the temperature drops. No biggie, we are about to take off and land in a place that is warm. We approach the airport and decide it would be best to just be dropped off at the entrance, this way we would not have to deal with elevators and stairs with our big bike boxes. Lucky for us, just as we arrive in the departure drop off zone a parking spot opens. We quickly unload our boxes, give Ute a big hug, she starts getting teary eyes and we say our farewells before she leaves.
The flight is pretty uneventful… well sort of. Initially our route has us flying directly over the Ukraine—the same area that the Malaysian airline was shot down a few months ago. We are like, “Really?” However after a couple hours into the flight the Captain announces over the intercom that we are changing course. “Great”, we say to each other!! The remainder of the flight goes by pretty quick or at least it seems quick considering it was a 12-hour flight. After landing in Phuket International we are greeted by a super slow passport control system. We stand in line for nearly 1 hour before finally gaining entry into Thailand. While standing in line we could see our bags, but not our bikes. Maybe we have to pick them up in a different area? Nope, they are just laying down with the bottoms ripped off! What is it with security tearing our boxes up all the time, from the bottom of all places? Also what is it with our tent that they always feel the need to pull out and inspect? Anyways, with the boxes being busted up we decide to just go ahead and assemble our bikes right there in the baggage claim area. Yep, that is what we did… and then we roll right through customs with our bikes fully loaded. Sure we get a few odd looks, but hey it works.
After exiting the terminal we knew our room was about 500 meters across the street, so instead of cycling over we just push our bikes. We arrive to the place that we have booked, only to find a sign that read: “Please wait”. No worries, they could not have gone far because the front gate is still open and a laptop is sitting on the desk, but there is not a soul around. 30 minutes pass and up comes a truck. A lady jumps out and comes running in saying, “Sorry… sorry!” We assure her that everything is ok and that we have a room booked. She just smiles and asks for our name… Then comes the confused look. “Sorry, but you’re not on the list and we are full!”
We tell her that we booked through Airbnb about a month ago and that we had several emails from them confirming our stay. Anyway, long story short, she tells us that they have been having troubles with Airbnb sending them notices about rooms being booked and that her partner did not tell her either. However, she quickly picks up the phone and within 5 minutes a British chap arrives. A few minutes later, our bikes are loaded in the back of his pickup with both of us holding them up and trying to keep ourselves from falling out as he makes his way to another small hotel. He assures us that he would contact the “partner” for payment and that we are set, not to worry. We also discover that the first place we were going to stay was his first ex-wife’s place and that the place he was taking us to was his second ex-wife’s place. He went on to tell us the story about it, but we’ll spare you the details.
After unpacking our stuff in our new temporary home, we jump in the shower, put on some fresh underwear and walk about a mile back into town and look for an ATM. With money in our pocket we meandered back to the room to finally get some much needed sleep. Tomorrow around noon we have to head back to the airport and pick up our Jessica (our oldest daughter). Good night.