So on Monday the 8. I had to get up at 6:30. I checked if I my luggage contained everything I wanted to take with me, got in the shower and then my Mom, my boyfriend and I left for Frankfurt. On the way to the airport it seemed like no one in the car wanted to admit what will be ahead of us. The goodbyes.
When we arrived at the airport some of the volunteers I am staying with and some of the ones who stay at a town called Chiang Mai already arrived. I was pretty excited to see them. But things like this are always bitter-sweet. On one side you are excited about everything new and all the people you will meet but on the other side you are scared and sad because you will not be able to see many of your loved ones for a long time.
My Mom and my boyfriend Julien stayed with me at the airport until I had to go through security. I can’t really describe what I felt the moment I realized it is time to say goodbye. Everything I am gonna tell you about my feelings then is that it is way worse than everything you can imagine.
Thank god I had Linda with me. She really helped to cheer me up.
We went to the gate and everything seemed normal. Despite all the mixed feelings inside my stomach and all the thoughts running through my mind. The boarding started as planed and we got on the plane. About 30 Minutes after our scheduled departure time the captain made an announcement that we’re not going to leave the airport at the time we planed. We kinda guessed that one.
A little late = 4 fricking hours and guess what: we missed all of our connecting flights in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
The following hours at the aiport in Sri Lanka can be described with one simple word: catastrophe.
It took us nearly an hour until the people at the counter of Sri Lankan Airlines found a plane that would get us to Bangkok. It was 9 AM and the connection Sri Lankan Airlines gave us was supposed to leave at 1:15 PM !
That way we had about 13 hours in Sri Lanka. Everyone was mad but since missing the first plane wasn’t our fault Sri Lankan Airlines had to pay for a hotel. Sounds good right? It isn’t if it takes hours to get a Visa (FOR NOT ONLY EVEN A FULL DAY!?) and our luggage. Everything we had to get done at the airport took about 1 or 2 hours and involved way to many unnecessary walks. At some point we realized that this Airline and the airport in Sri Lanka has no system at all. 3 to 5 people working on one counter, getting NOTHING done. If you had to get one thing done you had to go to 3 different counters.
It was about 12:30 when we finally got our luggage and left the airport.
The next task was to find the bus that was supposed to take us to the hotel. At about 1:30 we finally arrived at the hotel. The hotel was probably the nicest building we saw on the drive from the airport to the hotel. The moment we arrived all the madness from the morning disappeared. Suddenly everyone was excited to spent the day there. It was beautiful.
Linda and me went to bed for a few hours and then we joined the other volunteers for dinner.
At 10 o’clock we left the hotel for the airport. Shortly after we arrived at the airport the whole trouble started again. Sri Lankan Airlines is just INCOMPETENT. It was insane. But thank god we got on the plane in time and left for Bangkok.
We arrived in Bangkok at 6 in the morning and our plane wasn’t leaving until 5:10 PM so we had to kill some time (11hours -.-) at the airport. We went for breakfast and lunch, laid down at the observation deck and tried to inform ourselves about Chiang Rai.
At 17:10 we left Bangkok just on time. Our flight was about 1,5 hours long and we arrived safely in Chiang Rai. Arthur, our adviser picked us up and drove us to our apartment.
Right now we are at an internet cafe in Chiang Rai city. A post about our first few days will be published the next time we get to go to a cafe with free wifi.
A little insight for now: we are trying to get used to everything that is so different from Germany. A lot of exciting things are happening and also some things we did not expect at all. The heat is exhausting but nice as well, the language barrier is bigger than we thought and the Thais are really friendly.
But more about that in a few days 🙂