The Second Leg – Bangkok to Melbourne

I think Bangkok Airport makes it very easy for airlines to make things very hard for passengers. It’s just the way it’s laid out between the departure lounge and the holding yard / gates area.

You see, I’d bought a couple of bottles of water in the international lounge. Yes, I’d drunk them and then filled them up from the drinking fountains, but usually once you’re in the international lounge, anything you buy there is fine.

Not so here (although I didn’t have any problem in the other direction). Apparently Australia doesn’t allow you to take bottles of water over 100ml into the country. Not that I’d been planning to take them into the country, anyway.

I immediately felt cheerier as I stepped onto the aeroplane. El Al is very efficient and all, but has small grey seats and navy military-style uniforms. Thai Airways, with their rainbow of seats and bright skirt-blouse-and-sash uniforms, just makes you happier. The service could be terrible, but you wouldn’t mind it as much because of the décor.

01 - Thai Colours

unfortunately, the soft, warm lighting means you don’t get the full effect of the colour scheme

Did you know Thai Airways’ short-distance flights/planes are called Thai Smile?

But the service was pretty good. A nice stewardess came along and asked if I’d ordered the vegan meals, and when I explained that I hadn’t, and that it had been a mess-up with the travel agent, she made sure to get me proper meals.

I managed to stay awake for dinner, which was surprisingly good. Chicken curry (apparently – it tasted good, but it was a bit bland to be curry) and rice.

02 - Dinner

I watched Ted, which was more vulgar than I expected, and then went to sleep. Although I don’t recall sleeping much, I also can’t remember anything further until they woke us up in the morning, so I must have done.

Omelettes seem to be very popular for airline breakfasts at the moment (that’s three of four this trip), and shortly after that, we were landing.

03 - Breakfast

So far, I have about a 60% success rate with the e-gates. It worked leaving two weeks ago, but not this morning. This is pretty typical. “Go and see a real person”, it told me (not in as many words). It’s quicker that way.

I ticked about four boxes on the quarantine declaration form, and go questioned. “What are you declaring today, ma’am?”

(I find it so weird to be called “ma’am”. I’m old enough to be called “Frau” in German, and that’s weird, too, but “ma’am” is something you’d expect from an American, not someone with a Melbourne accent.)

“Ah, and olive wood carving, some dried rockmelon I’m prepared to give up if I have to…”

“No fresh fruit, vegetables, or plant products?”


“Please continue through here, ma’am.”

I had barely even started my long, long list of stuff to declare. I hadn’t even reached the part where I explain that I have been on a farm, near farm animals, or in a rural area in the last 30 days simply because I live on a small farm(-ette) and have been gone only 18. That’s always a fun conversation.

Is it possible to get culture shock coming into your own country? I always have trouble when my port of entry is in the eastern states – “you forget how bogan everyone sounds when you land in the eastern states”. I’m currently sitting at the gate waiting to board, listening to some middle-aged Aussie couple going on about “Oy had that bl**dy window seat but there was no f*cking bl**dy window, was there?”

Yeah, welcome home.

That said, the earlier flight has now boarded, taking the bogans with it, and I can now here and middle-aged-Adelaide-city-man accent behind me. You know the accent I mean.


One thought on “The Second Leg – Bangkok to Melbourne

  1. Helen Hayes says:

    Welcome home Rachel. What a wonderful journey. I want to go travelling now.

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