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The holiday has ended
The Netherlands to Bangkok (Thailand), Nov-06-08 / Nov-25-08

It lasted six weeks and now it is over. The great weeks of delicious food, chatting with family and friends, hot showers and drinking from the tap are over. The holiday has ended. But we are not only complaining about the fact that this period has ended. Thank god, we changed the cold and rainy climate of The Netherlands for the perfect weather of Bangkok this time of year. It is around thirty degree Celsius and it is great to be outside gain. We are ready for the second stage of our journey.

As expected, the last six weeks at home flew by very fast. The first three weeks were ok, but from the fourth week on, it looked like time accelerated. We enjoyed the luxury and hospitality of our family and friends and recharged our batteries as much as possible. It was strange to experience that we did not have the feeling that we have been away for almost sixteen months. The people we know in The Netherlands didn’t change at all, except the little kids who grew like cabbage. Also the environment in where these people live didn’t change a lot. The rural area of Brabant (province in the south of The Netherlands) where most of our family and friends live looked like it looked before. And even during our day trip to Amsterdam, we concluded that the time stood still in The Netherlands last period. We were, however, sucked in the constant news bombardment where most people in the West are exposed to. We followed the elections in the United States of America and in the meantime we learned everything about the financial crisis that is hitting our planet as we speak. It is very difficult to cut off the news feed while you are in the West. But that is something we are not going to miss now that we are back in Asia. Of course, we like to follow the news, but not every day in a very intensive way. We go to the internet café once in a week and use Google news to see what’s going on in the world. We try to follow the headlines and not the minor news fact. All news that survives the week is big news, while minor news isn’t already news anymore by the time we are in the internet café.

Local people bringing offers in central Bangkok
We stay this whole week in Bangkok. We arrived last Friday and will move on to the Philippines this Saturday. We need a full week because that is the processing time for a Philippine visa. It was not possible to arrange this visa before our travel to The Netherlands, because we also applied for a new passport here in Bangkok. They promised us that the passport would be ready by the time we came back from The Netherlands. That’s also the reason why we took directly a taxi from the airport to the Dutch embassy to see if they kept their promise. And fortunately, they did. We used Saturday morning to buy a flight ticket to the Philippines and our first action on Monday was to apply for a visa at the embassy of the Philippines here in Bangkok. If everything goes well, we can collect the visa Thursday in the afternoon. We spent the remaining time here in Bangkok hanging around the city and enjoying the great weather. It is also autumn time here in Thailand. That means that the extreme heat of the last months is gone and that the temperature has decreased to a comfortable thirty degrees Celsius.
The tourist ghetto of Bangkok: Khao San Road

For the matter of fact, we almost had to extend our stay in The Netherlands last week. At the moment that we wanted to check in for our flight from Düsseldorf in Germany to Bangkok, the lady at the check in counter asked for our return ticket to Germany. When we told her that we were travelling on a one way ticket, she asked us for our Thai visa. The reason is that if travellers can prove that they leave Thailand again within thirty days, they are exempted from a visa and can stay without a visa for up to thirty days. If you can’t prove that you stay less than thirty days, for example because you do not have an onward ticket, you have to arrange a visa beforehand. Unfortunately, we had none of them. But fortunately we had a lucky break. By coincidence we tried to book a ticket (through the internet) from Bangkok to the Philippines already during our stay in The Netherlands. But for some reason our credit card was not accepted, making the booking failed. Because we wanted to remember the flight date and times, we decided to make a print screen of the failed booking. Just before we left to the airport we considered again if we would take the failed booking with us. It was Ivonne who said that wise to keep the failed booking till we were in Bangkok and booked the ticket at travel agency, and it was Edwin who took the crumpled piece of paper out of the trashcan again. And that crumpled piece of paper was now our big luck. When we showed the paper to the lady behind the check in counter, she first looked suspicious. “Why do some people crumple their plane ticket”, is what she must have thought. She looked at the paper and checked the flight dates that were printed on it. Eventually she accepted this ‘failed booking’ and labelled our bags. Our seats for the flight were secured.

So this Saturday we fly from Bangkok to the Philippines with Cebu Pacific Air, a Philippine budget airline. It is quite exciting again, because we never travelled to the Philippines before. We heard some good and bad stories about Philippines. However, we are still blank in our experiences and will see what the Philippines will have to offer us.


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