Sorry, I’ve been slacking… I’m back in Thailand

Queen Victoria Inn, Pattaya, Chartered Transport

I’m starting to think that the Philippines side trip was a mistake.  Not much to see there, and it’s a pretty nasty place actually.

They have one major attraction in Manila called Intramuros, which was completely leveled during WWII (by both the Japanese and Allied forces).   So you see a pile of rocks…  Eventually I’ll get around to posting the video of it….

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret going, but I could have picked almost any other Asian country, and it probably would have been more interesting.  It felt really strange like Thailand meets Mexico. :)    But ALL the street signs, advertising billboards, radio stations, etc are in English… just strange…

I did find I really like the garlic fried rice they serve over there, that is some good stuff.

I was hoping to see the Clark Airbase museum while I was on a side trip to  Angeles City, but unfortunately I got there late Friday and left very early on Monday; I found out that the museum was closed on weekends…. Sorry George!      I  did manage to get some pretty good footage of the area around Fields ave, which I’ll upload at some point.

Didn’t care for the hotel I stayed at in Manila (Royal Bellagio), it was expensive (for what it was), and too small.  Due to the strange layout, I actually had less room than the room in Tokyo.

The hotel I stayed at in Angeles (Royal Amsterdam) was superb however, great price and tastefully decorated.  It is in a very old building was right in the center of Fields Ave, but was dead quiet when you got in the room.

Unlike McArthur, I will probably NOT return.  Mainly because of the bad experience I had trying to depart the airport in Manila.  Apparently you need to pay a “departure tax” of like 750 pesos (about $18) just to leave.  After that you have to fill out some sort of “departure card” that they failed to give me when I checked in.  I had to search around the airport to find this card, as EVERY container I found labeled “departure cards” was EMPTY!  I had to go to Philippine Air counter and wait in line to get one.  Once those two tasks were completed, they told me that my bag was “too heavy” for a carry-on!  So they send me to the other side of the airport to pay an “excess baggage fee”.   I get there and the guy tells me that I need to have some form in order to charge me properly.

So I have to go BACK to the other side of the airport.  About an hour and a half had passed, I was getting REALLY pissed off, as I they had me bouncing around from place to place like this and now it looked like I was going to miss my flight due to their horribly run airport.  When I got back I started yelling at the lady who sent me to the other side of the airport (this is NOT my usual behavior particularly in Asia as it usually won’t get you far).

I was waving a 1000 peso bill while screaming at this poor woman saying “Look, If there is a baggage fee, I’ll pay it right now!! Here take it!!, take it!!”   (Whatever the fee was, it was probably nowhere near 1000 pesos, I just wanted OUT of that airport).  She called her supervisor over (and I did the same “take it, take it” dance with him also).  After a couple minutes of this, he caved in and just let me thru to the departure area without paying any fee :)

So I guess being a stereotypical ugly American does pay off occasionally…  ;)

At any rate, the flight was good.  It seemed that Philippine Airlines accidentally put me in Business Class!!  Score!!   Yet another nearly empty flight, I don’t know how the airline makes any money off  Bangkok/Manila if their flights are always this empty.

Breezed through Thai customs/immigration as usual.

The Queen Victoria charter bus driver was waiting for me as arranged, couldn’t believe they picked up just me in such a huge van (picture at the top of the article.).  It was about a one and a half hour drive from the airport to Pattaya.

Had a relaxing  Coke and a cigarette overlooking the ocean this afternoon, feels good to be “home” in Thailand.

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