Well I promised to post some pics here but I forgot my little plug that hooks my camera to the usb port. So you will have to wait till I get home to Korea. But that won't be as long a wait as expected. I've already made this trip into a par-for-the-course Davesque travel adventure. Let me splain...
It started early. I wasn't even out of Korea before the shenanigans began again. I had just checked in and took my golf bag to the oversized bag area. Right beside it is a money change area. Since I had arranged for a taxi to take me directly to Pattaya instead of staying on Kao San Rd. in Bangkok then taking a bus the next day to Pattaya as I usually do, I decided to get some Thai money so I could pay the taxi driver. I pushed my luggage cart to the window, (it now had no oversized luggage in it but in the basket by the handle were my passport and my book and pen that I use to take down important info).
I get to the girl at the counter and gave her 100 US dollars and asked for Thai baht. She gives me a snobbish look and says, "Don't you have any Korean money?" What the hell is THAT? I mean REALLY!! She made me glad I was leaving the country. So I just looked at her and said something like, "Just do your fucking job and quit being such an assclown." or some polite equivalent to it. It took her no longer than a few minutes to change the money. While she did so somebody took my cart from right behind me! I turned around and my cart, (with my passport in it remember), was gone.
So I turn back around and ask the bitch if she had seen who took it. She, (of course), asks if I was sure I had a cart. More accurately she told me I hadn't. So I said I had a cart. But she insisted I was too stupid to know what I had just done 5 minutes earlier. So I asked the other three people at the money exchange windows, none of whom were busy when I made my transaction, if THEY had seen who swiped my cart. It was a case of Korean "jung". Some Korean had done it so none of them were going to roll over on him in order to help out the foreigner. Need I say, the now DESPERATE foreigner. They all acted like they hadn't seen a thing. Even agreed with the bitch that I had never had a cart. So I say, loudly, "I HAD a cart and the longer you spend telling me I didn't the farther away my passport gets!" Now other people were starting to stare at me.
I go back to the oversized luggage area and ask the girl there if she'd seen anything. Nope. So I ask the bitch from the exchange counter to call security. She gives me the helpless look like the Incheon National Airport doesn't have any security. So finally I was causing enough of a buzz that someone who had located my passport came to me and told me it was at the check-in counter. Someone had just taken the cart without realizing it had something in it, checked in and returned my passport and book to the check-in agent.
So I go to the check-in counter and ask the girl there how it happened. Who took my cart? She won't say a thing to betray her fellow countriman. She just smiled and laughed nervously in order to protect the fucking jackass. How can Korea ever develop as long as this spineless behaviour continues? Really frustrating!
Anyway, I'm now in Thailand and I've been enjoying myself immensely! I've golfed about 10 times now and it's been awesome! Last time out Scott, (one of the guys who golfs out of the Fairway bar, (where I'm staying)), got a 69. That's -3!!! He got 5 pars and 4 birdies on the back nine! That's some nice golfin! I STILL haven't made it to Cambodia. I had planned on going last weekend but it was some Thai vacation that equates to a sort of Thai lent. I guess they give stuff up and go to the temple and pay the monk to pray for them. To show you that things are tough in Thailand too I'll tell you a local news story. One Thai man went to the temple for Thai lent and asked a monk for a prayer. He handed the monk a 1000 baht bill and asked him for change. The monk pulled out a bag of cash and gave the man change. Then when the monk closed his eyes to pray the man grabbed the bag of cash and ran off. So much for HIS chances at enlightenment!
I bought a bus ticket to Siem Reap, the town closest to Angkor Wat in Cambodia. I was supposed to go today. So I decided to get my plane ticket and my visa extended so I could have more time here AND more time in Cambodia. I don't work till the last week of August. When I bought my plane ticket I asked to come back in the first week of August but the guy at UNIQUE TRAVEL in I Tae Won, told me he'd give me a ticket for a month to coincide with the automatic one-month visa you get here as a visitor, then I could extend my ticket after I get to Thailand. I've done that before in Thailand and the Philippines. It's never been a problem. UNTIL NOW!
I went to a travel agency a few days ago to extend my ticket and they didn't allow me entry. I went to another one and they told me it was yet anOTHER Thai holiday so they couldn't do it. So the next day after golf I went to do it. She said okay I could extend until August 6th but had to get an early morning flight. That's not good for me so I asked about Aug. 5th and 4th. Then she tells me it's impossible to extend the ticket. This all took about an hour. Her English wasn't so good so I couldn't establish the reason why she had changed her tune. But I figured I'd go to the place where I'd bought my Cambodia ticket and see if THEY could do it. The guy there said it would be no problem. And if he could I'd pay him 200 baht. So another hour goes by while I'm waiting for him to take down the particulars and make phone calls to the airline. He then tells me he can't do it because the Korean office wasn't open. I'd have to wait till the next day. Which is today. The day I was supposed to go to Cambodia.
SOoooo I ask him to give me my money back for the Cambodia ticket. He tells me he can make it an open ticket. Then I can just tell them when I want to go. That sounds good to me. So today at about 5 o'clock I get a call from them and they say the ticket is ready. I go there and the girl tells me I can't get the ticket extended because it was a promotional deal and the tickets are good for a month and can't be extended.
If you remember the asshole at UNIQUE TRAVEL in I Tae Won had not only elected not to inform me of that but had told me there wouldn't be a problem extending the ticket. And who the hell can stop him? Thai air? Nope. I phoned them today and they told me that if I had bought the ticket directly from them it would have been printed on the ticket. There's nothing they can do about dishonest travel agents. They suggested I take it up with the good people of UNIQUE TRAVEL in I Tae Won.
The whole travel industry! They've really got us all by the balls! They get away with all kinds of shit like this that really should be illegal.
So now my options are to go back after only a month, (which hasn't been long enough), using the original ticket, or to buy a new one-way ticket, (which will be DOUBLE the price of the original). And if I DO that, Thai air will just sell my seat to ANOTHER person, probably at a jacked up rate and make a whole pile of extra money. I've said it before and I'll say it again: there is no WAY these lying bastards at the airlines of the world are losing money and I feel exactly NO sympathy for them if they really are.
I haven't decided what I'll do yet but it looks very much right now like I'll be going home before I wanted to and before I am able to make it to Angkor Wat. AGAIN I'm going to probably miss my chance to get there! I wanted to go last time I was here but didn't make it for different reasons. What a massive downer!
P.S. Don't buy any tickets from Unique Travel in I Tae Won.