They were all smiles until I mentioned wanting to buy a ticket.
â€œWell, you canâ€™t really do that here.â€
â€œWhat?? I need to get home! Where else would I buy one??â€
â€œSorry, but if you bought one here, it would be very expensiveâ€
â€œI donâ€™t care, Iâ€™ll pay whatever, I just need to get home!â€
One of the ladies attempted to look something up on the computer.
In retrospect, I think she was checking her Fantasy Football scores or something.
â€œYes, sorry, itâ€™s too expensiveâ€
She wouldnâ€™t tell me.
I wanted to cause bodily harm at that point.
She was able to retrieve someone that spoke better English who informed me I had to buy my ticket at a travel agency.
â€œWhat? That makes no sense! Where is the closest one??â€
â€œRight across the street!â€ they both smiled simultaneously, happy they were able to give me good news.
The fact that I wasnâ€™t able to buy a plane ticket at the airport is something that still makes me seethe.
I made my way back into the hellish heat, schlepping all my luggage to this tiny hotbox that reminded me of a train ticket counter.
This was the travel agency?
I go inside and sit down to book my ticket, sweating like I was being dipped in lava.
I must have looked like a crazy person.
The lady ended up booking me a flight to Washington DC.
â€œNo, I need to go to Seattle, not Washington DCâ€
Since she also spoke zero English, she wrote out â€œBGK â€“ WASâ€
â€œNo lady, I know airport codes and SEA is the code for Washington State, WAS is Washington DCâ€
She insisted I was wrong.
We went back and forth for a while.
A man walked up to the window and asked if I wanted a lady for the night.
I politely declined. He continued to sit at the window and stare at me.
I looked at the ticket and realized the connecting flight to Washington DC was Los Angeles.
Was this a sign?…
Screw it, fine.
Book it lady.
I soon realized they only took cash.
I had to go to THREE ATMâ€™s to find one that worked.
It was the worse kind of DÃ©jÃ vu.
When I asked someone at the ticket counter where the airport hotel was, I was directed to this man who ended up walking me outside the airport.
â€œThe hotel in the airport, right?â€ I attempted to confirm.
I hopped on the back of his motorcycle while he gave me a whirlwind ride through the streets of Bangkok miles from the airport.
I started to get very worried.
I had read rumors of people getting gassed in their rooms so they could be robbed.
When he dropped my off and I went inside to check in, I was so drained, I was running on fumes.
I passed by a Thai prostitute who looked drugged out of her mind.
I went directly to my room, took a shower and went to bed.
Until I heard the tiny, earsplitting sound of a mosquito in my ear.
Great, I was going to leave Thailand with the gift of Malaria.
After unsuccessfully trying to murder it, I gave up and brought out the mosquito net I had purchased from REI.
I had the feeling not a single sole besides me was staying at this hotel.
Then, at 2 in the morning, I began to heard weird scuffling outside my door.
Theyâ€™re here to gas me!!
I tried to ignore it.
I grew increasingly paranoid.
I was going to be brutalized and robbed in a matter of seconds.
I had to act fast.
I put a towel alongside the bottom of the door.
Thankfully old, dirty, paper thin towels are impenetrable against deadly chemical weapons.
I tried, unsuccessfully to go back to bed.
I had little interest in the rape that was surely to come.
So, at 3 in the morning, I got up, got dressed, ripped the mosquito net from my face and got the hell out of there.
Luckily no one spoke English enough to argue with me.
I spent the rest of the night in the Bangkok Airport, sleeping next to a large group of Tibetans who has apparently been there for months, stuck between both countries.
When I was finally able to check in, 7 hours later, the woman asked how many bags I had.
I did NOT want to check any bags so I kicked my bag aside right before she looked down to check.
â€œJust one.â€ I said innocently.
Well, as luck would have it, that same lady ended up being the one to scan everyoneâ€™s tickets before they boarded.
I clearly had two bags, so I flung them both behind me back quite conspicuously as she took my ticket.
She craned her neck around, spying my contraband luggage and took me out of the line!
I pleaded with her that I could not risk losing this luggage, I may have started to tear up a bit.
Shockingly, this worked, and she let me board with both bags.
When I arrived in Los Angeles, seemingly weeks later, I had no where to live, no job. No one knew where on earth I was.
But I had never been so glad to be home in my life.
I took a taxi to my old, dingy West Hollywood apartment. The Russian driver offered me a cigarette and we both smoked in silence.
Itâ€™s as if he knew what I had been through and this was his way of saying â€œSorry, comradeâ€