(Morning view from my breakfast table)

Man my sunburn was killing me. I’d bought some Aloe Vera to put on anything like this, but I was certainly paying the price.

Breakfast was great again. The view from the restaurant was just lovely, with the water like glass and the beach mostly empty. They call it paradise here. and they aren’t far wrong!

The resort had their own ferry service to Ban Phe, and from there I was on my own. I grabbed a baht bus to Rayong Bus Terminal, except that it broke down about five minutes into our drive! The driver dropped me right outside the bus terminal at Rayong. 20 baht for the ride.

Inside I needed to get a ticket. Some miscommunication with the staff meant they were going to sell me three tickets! (Who to, I wonder? Am I that huge!?) I thought they meant the time (it was leaving at 3:10pm) but they meant the number. Thankfully there was another passenger who spoke some English so he kindly helped me out. Lots of genuinely helpful and friendly people in Thailand – they left a good impression.

I had to deal with sitting next to an old guy on the bus who obviously didn’t like being paired with a foreigner who had his bag on his knee (no way was I packing it underneath the bus! Too many bad stories…). He eventually moved to a free seat so I had a double to myself.

The road was the same as the one to Pattaya for half the way to the airport – bumpy and really crowded this time, so the driver stuck on some video of a Thai game show. The show seemed to be mostly an improvised sketch involving comedians smacking each other over the head – rivetting. The monks in front of me were enjoying it though.

Once we reached the bus terminal no one got off. The conductor also didn’t make it clear (for the benefit of any non-Thai speakers on board – namely me) that this was the stop so the bus took off again. I came down to check with her if that was the stop and she gave a tired ‘yes’. Fine, whatever.

From there I had to take a shuttle bus to the international terminal. The main building is quite a way from where the other buses come in. A dedicated shuttle train running between the bus terminal and the main building would be easier to use and follow – maybe they’ll do that later. The Skytrain (when it’s finished) will certainly make things a lot easier to get to and from Bangkok.

The atrium for the departures was much better than the one for arrivals. They made good use of the natural light as well as the space opened up by the roof. Most new airports seem to be designed this way – Kansai for example. I got changed out of my summer duds into my winter clothes in the toilet. Yay. Winter.

Check-in was easy and friendly. There weren’t many people on the flight so I could take my bag on board. The girl even offered me an exit-row seat without me asking for it! I think I like Thailand! My passport check went without incident although the people in front of me were messing around – took a looooong time. Grrrr….

Once through I had plenty of time to recharge the batteries, do some shopping and get to the plane. Next time I’ll have to get more dried fruit – they proved to be a popular choice for souvenirs!

I found the real Bvlgari watch in the airport shop and compared the price to what I’d paid. Heh, heh, heh. I can’t believe people spend so much on something that just tells the time! I think the most I’ve ever paid for a watch was $30.

Whatever teething problems they had with the new airport seemed to have been ironed out. Everything was clean and neat although the lights were out at the gate, leaving the place in semi-darkness.

I had an empty row for the flight back to Japan so I could get some sleep.

Arriving back, I just had carry-on so no probs with getting through. Didn’t matter though since I had to wait three hours for the bus back to Himeji!

I got interviewed by a policewoman who wanted to see my passport. Yay, done for loitering in an airport after nearly a month without incident? Thankfully no.

Home. Unpacking. Washing. Wife. Souvenirs. Catching up.

K said I’m not to do go away for so long without her ever again. Message received loud and clear.