My packs are packed, I’m ready to go, as Peter, and and Mary once sang. It’s Thursday, 5:30pm, and I’ve just returned from the walk to Harbour Bay to buy my ferry tickets for tomorrow. My ferry leaves at 6:10am, so unless I want to get to the terminal at 5:30 I needed to buy my tickets ahead of time (you have to purchase tickets at least 30 minutes prior to departure). Edi is picking me up at 5:40.
Since Singapore is one hour later than Batam, I will be arriving at Harbourfront ferry terminal at about 7:30am. If I have time, I will grab a McD’s breakfast in the terminal before taking a taxi (SGD25-USD$20) to the airport. That will put me at the airport at least two hours before my flight time of 11:50am.
I will be flying Jetstar Asia and arrive in Bangkok after a 1 1/2-hour flight. Like I said, a driver will be waiting for me. Hopefully, the traffic will not be too bad and I will be at the condo by 3pm. Bangkok is in the same time zone as Batam, so there will be no jet lag for me. Too bad for Jack on that one.
Even though my knees are acting up today and I was barely able to go down the stairs of my apartment building, I decided to walk the half mile or so to the terminal to save on taxi fare. Didn’t hurt too bad.
I’ve packed my smaller suitcase mostly full and will use my trusty backpack for my laptop and cords and such, and as extra space for any purchases. Lots of shorts, t-shirts and “dress” shirts for the evenings. Those are my Hawaiian and Batik shirts. I plan to continue my daily work on the new website, BatamExpat.com, while I’m in Bangkok. All you need is Internet access to work anywhere in the world.
Jack has already left his Arizona home and should be about 6 hours into his trans-Pacific flight by now. He changes planes in Taipei and arrives in Bangkok a few hours before me. He’s never taken a flight as long and was a little nervous about the experience when we talked the other night.
As an added bonus from his renting the luxury, 3-bedroom condo for our stay, the condo owner is having a driver pick us both up at the airport. That will be pretty cool to have someone waiting for me with my name on a sign in the crowd. Can’t remember that happening before.
I haven’t been doing a lot of pre-planning for this trip, although I did check out the sights to see. Lots of what I have already seen in 1969 but I think I will appreciate the experience more this time. Jack, on the other hand, is pre-planning like crazy. He’s even decided our first night we are going to a nearby very upscale tower restaurant for dinner and the view at night. Sounds OK.
We decided, however, not to hire a driver for touring for the week. After looking over the sightseeing options, I noticed there are ferries working the river that offer “hop on, hop off” service to many of the temples we want to see. So all we really need for that is a taxi to the ferry terminal and purchase of two tickets. Same for the floating market – just a taxi and ticket purchase.
And we certainly don’t need a driver/guide to take us to the shopping areas or massage parlors. They will pretty much be all around us everywhere we go, especially in the neighborhood where our condo is located.
So we are going to pretty much “wing it” in terms of getting around and understanding what we are seeing. But if we need explanations at any of the sites, there are usually guides available for small fees.
Other items on Jack’s list – a train ride to somewhere, anywhere, and a nuru massage (Google it). Me? I just want to walk around (knees willing) and snap photos, take in the sights and smells, be bombarded by street hawkers, get a massage or two, experience the awesome food, and take in the nightlife. And maybe a little shopping.
As I said, my laptop is coming with me, so I can be reached by email, Facebook or Skype. There is Internet in the condo, although I don’t know yet how fast it will be.
I hope to be making daily posts of the Bangkok experience. Should be another ebook for me from this trip, as well. Stay tuned.