Bangkok: Amsterdam, Birmingham, DOWNLOAD then home pt 1
It’s that time of the year again… It’s time for Me and Jo to head to Castle Donington for Download festival 2019, this will be our fifth visit to Donington for the festival, this year, however, will be ever so slightly different, being as we have to travel halfway across the world to get there… Now, that my friends is dedication.
Our journey begins with a taxi ride to the airport, we could get the train, but with all the cases we're taking, that would be a bit of a nightmare… So, taxi it is, we opted for a larger taxi, we’re waiting outside our apartment building with our cases when a huge SUV turns up, cases loaded and off to the airport we go, a while later and we arrive at Suvarnabhumi airport, the airport is busy as usual, lots of people wandering around, we get to our check-in desk and hand our cases over, thankfully they were all underweight, Jo likes to pack lots of clothes when we travel, this always makes me worry that our luggage will be overweight, thankfully it’s all fine and with boarding passes in our hand we head off to the departures lounge.
On our way to the departures lounge we see that airport security is having a photoshoot with their dogs, i’m no expert of airport dogs, they could be used to detect drugs, explosives, money… Either way, they do a great job and an absolute delight to see for any dog lover…
There are a couple of labradors and a few German shepherds… The photographer is aiming his camera at them, behind him is a dog handler with a tennis ball trying to get the dogs to all look in the same direction, all of the dogs are behaving brilliantly… Except for one German shepherd who is obsessed with getting his teeth around that tennis ball… Every time he sees the ball his mouth opens and he begins to edge toward it… His handler calms him, gets him back into position and BALL! he’s off again, we wander off just as the photoshoot comes to an end… Hopefully that German shepherd got that ball.
We have a slight delay at security when one of the security team notices that Jo’s ticket is actually made out for MR Joanne Cox… after a few minutes of waiting around he finally lets us get on with our journey… Security done with, we head off to the departure lounge, Jo is not the best of flyers and today she seems to be quite nervous (it later transpires that every time she’s switched her phone on all week, Google has been sending her links and stories about plane crashes) We end up at our departure gate, sitting amongst the other passengers, talking rubbish (as we do) and people watching…
We’re sat in chairs (obviously.. we wouldn’t be sitting on tables would we?) in front of us is a young couple, i’m guessing they’re tourists heading home, judging by the fact the young bloke is wearing the classic tourist attire of elephant print trousers… Oh, how I hate those trousers… to the left of us is another bank of chairs, on those chairs is a couple… A blonde woman, she looks to be in her early forties perhaps? and her younger girlfriend… A girlfriend I nicknamed “Susan”
Now, it’s 2019... A same sex couple sitting together in an airport? Nobody would notice… Nobody would care… However…. This couple is weird…. I’ll explain.. Or try to.
Susans girlfriend is stting, waiting to board a plane (she’s in an airport afterall) Susan however, is acting really strangely… She keeps kissing the blondes cheek, blonde doesn’t respond… Susan positions herself under the blondes chin... Blonde still doesn’t respond... Susan applies lip balm to the blonde, then applies lip balm to herself... Blonde sits still, no reaction… Susan kisses blonde on the lips, reaching around her she full on palm feels the blondes breast... Blonde at this point looks angry… I say to Jo that I hope they don’t sit next to us on the plane, “She’s totally dumping Susan after this flight” … Blonde is looking seriously pissed off with “Susan” .. Susan is still all over the blonde, blonde really looks angry now… Susan then gets up and leaves... I presume she’s gone off to the toilets or something, giving her girlfriend some peace … When she gets back the whole scene becomes apparent and everything changes… “Susan” and Blonde are not a couple... They’re mother and daughter, blondes other daughter and (I presume) her husband are sat next to them… Susan sits next to her dad and the other daughter moves seats to sit by the blonde… It’s all very strange, Jo thinks maybe Susan has issues… MAYBE?!?! After a short time Susan sits back by Mom/Blonde… Immediately she’s trying to position herself under her mom/blondes chin again.. Mom/Blonde does NOT look happy … Blonde has a sort of “No way am I having HER sit by me on that fucking plane” look on her face… Thankfully before long we are allowed to get on the plane.
Me and Jo get settled in our seats, in the next row to us Blonde and her family are seated… Blonde has obviously had a word with her husband and they’re seated Blonde, Daughter, Dad, Susan… Blonde is having a hassle-free flight... HURRAH!
As I said earlier, Jo is not a great flyer, she hates flying, over the past year or so she’s gotten better, however, today she seems very nervous, as the plane begins to taxi onto the runway I see a bolt of lightning hit the tarmac, I’m thinking to myself “Do I tell Jo or do I keep my mouth shut?” sadly Jo saw my “thinking” face and took it as i’d seen something bad.. SO I had to tell her.. This did NOT help… The plane begins to head down the runway.. Suvarnabhumi does not have the smoothest runway… This made Jo feel worse… As we took off the plane experienced some vibration… By now Jo was in full on panic mode… Looks like I was in for a fun flight… Eleven hours on a plane with a panicked Jo would not be fun, I understand fear, I understand how, when fear gets it’s claws into you, it’s hard to shake it off, I still find myself getting frustrated when Jo has one of her episodes due to the fact i’ve seen her do so well on previous flights, I know she can handle a flight, so when she has a bad flight I have to confess I perhaps am not as understanding as I should be… So the flight continues.. jo goes from watching a film and relaxing to reacting to every little noise and movement of the plane… At one point during the flight I see a man stand up from his seat, as he stands his headphones slip from his lap and as if in slow motion fall to the floor… As I said, it all seems to happen in slow motion… The man stands.. the headphones fall.. I watch them fall and just know they will hit the floor and make a noise, a noise that Jo will react to…. Slowly the headphones fall… They hit the floor… They make a noise… Jo squeals... “What’s that noise?!” .. She’s looking panicked… “That bloke dropped his headphones” I say.. “Are you sure?” she asks, her eyes like a frightened rabbit.. “Yes.. I saw him drop them”… I can tell she’s still not convinced… By now i’m getting more frustrated.. Frustrated with Jo and her fear but more frustrated by the fact that I know i’m not doing a great job of being supportive… Did I mention the fact that this first part of the flight would be eleven hours?
Food was served and I have to say it was some of the nicest food i’ve ever had on a plane… Meatballs in gravy with mashed potato... Delicious... Jo is freaked out by people not eating their bread roll… I’m bothered by the man in front of my mopping up the gravy with his bread but not actually eating the meatballs... The monster!
After eleven hours we come into land at Amsterdam... Jo is in a terrible state during landing… She’s in tears… I just come across as an angry unsupportive arsehole of a husband… Not my finest performance.
A short stop at Amsterdam, just enough time for a snack and a beer and then we’re off on the final leg of our flight, a short flight over to Birmingham… Jo is a mess during the entire flight... I am still in with a chance of winning “Worlds worst husband” award… What the fuck is wrong with me?
A short time later we land in Birmingham... Thank god the flying is done with… It’s done Jo no favours and it’s making me look like the worlds biggest dick head.
We pass through passport control and wait for our bags at the baggage area… Every time I travel I worry that our luggage will get lost… I wait at the carousel watching every bag… hoping that all of our bags will appear…This time we’ve bought two large cases with us (well three, as i’ve put a case inside a case so as I can bring some stuff back from England).. My case appears on the carousel… More cases appear.. not Jos…. More cases… Still no case for Jo… Finally, there are about three cases on the carousel… Still no case for Jo…. Resigned to a fate of no luggage (is that even a sentence?) we head over to the luggage counter, Jo fills in a form, the man behind the counter tells us our case is probably still in Amsterdam, it will arrive tomorrow and they will drive it to our hotel… We’re just about to leave when another worker says that they have just found some cases outside and that they are now on the carousel... Finally, Jo has her luggage!
Luggage collected we head off to the car hire desk... Jo has paid in advance, so this should be a simple case of signing a form and picking up the keys to our car….
We get to the car hire desk… Jo fills in a form... The man behind the counter asks if she has a Thai drivers license… She doesn’t have a Thai License… This apparently meant we couldn’t hire a car.
“Sorry, you can’t hire a car” he says… Both me and Jo, both very tired just turned to him and said “No.” He argued that he needed the license to confirm identity on his system.. We argued and eventually, he accepted a water bill that Jo had online… So after what should have been an easy transaction, we headed off to collect the car… Ever checked a car for tiny scratches and damage in the dark, in the rain? I have… It’s not fun.
Thankfully a short time later we arrived at our hotel…. Both tired.. Both needing sleep…
So until pt 2…. Night night