| Part 2: Chengdu, Tibet,
Sim's Cozy Guesthouse, Chengdu. Ugly
"backpacker" place. We pay 140 yuan for a room with four beds (two
couples of stacked wooden beds), a table, a chair and nothing else. The
shared toilet is somewhere at the end of the corridor, the shared
shower somewhere else. The room has an A/C unit. The room is noisy, as
people outside run around making noise, especially in the evening.
Overall this place *sucks* and is bad value, because for 200 yuan (just
60 yuan more) you can have a comfortable room with bathroom in a three
Weather: Fresh, sunny with a
few clouds in Xian in the morning. In Chengdu initially overcast, then
sunny later in the afternoon. It gets warm enough to walk around with a
We get up at 7am and leave the hotel at 8:30am. The taxi ride to the
airport (120 yuan) takes only half an hour. In the airport there are a
couple of restaurants, which however only serve Chinese food. In the
end we settle down for a cafe, where we order a tuna sandwich, noodles
with beef and two teas (one milk, one lemon tea). Sorry no lemon
available, I have to take a milk tea. Do they have spoons ? No, no tea
spoons available - they bring us some straw initially, after some pina
colada sticks, with which we mix the tea. By the way, the tea
is in glasses, not cups, so you burn your fingers if you drink it.
The plane leaves on time at 10:35am and lands on time in Chengdu.
Around 12pm we have retrieved the luggage and head towards the hotel
reservation counter. Long debate with my sweet wife, whether to take
the deluxe room with Internet access in the four star hotel or the
standard room (Internet access in the business centre). Shirley wants
to save some money, I'd like to have the Internet access in the room.
But... surprise, surprise, today all three, four and five star hotels
in Chengdu are
fully booked, because of a congress. Great news - we call
Sim's Cozy guesthouse and ask if they have a room. First they say we
have to share it with four other people, then they tell us to come.
Since we have to go there anyway to fetch the ticket and don't know of
other places to go to, we take a taxi to this guesthouse.
The taxi ride from the airport to the guesthouse (which is in downtown
Chengdu) takes 40 minutes and costs 52 yuan. The guesthouse sucks (see
above), but we have no other option, so end up staying there.
We have some food in the guesthouse (the food is good and cheap), then
at 2:20pm take a taxi to the Giant Panda Breeding Centre
north of Chengdu, arriving there at 2:45pm (taxi ride is 32 yuan). The
centre is very interesting, allowing visitors to see Giant Pandas in a
semi-natural habitat. We spend one hour there, then take a taxi to the
Wenshu Buddhist temple. Very nice scenic temple, we spend half an hour
After that, at 5:15pm we take a taxi to a shopping complex area in
downtown Chengdu. Chengdu is a clean, modern city and there are lots of
street works taking place right now to improve the infrastructure
pavements etc.). After some shopping we have dinner in a higher end
restaurant serving western food (good food, good value at 130 yuan for
After dinner we look for an ATM, as we will soon run out of Chinese
cash. It takes about 20 minutes to find one, as the first four banks we
try don't accept non-Chinese ATM cards.
We get back to the hotel by taxi. There I receive the tickets from
Helen, who manages together with "Peter" the travel agency business of
the guesthouse. The flight to Lhasa costs 2340 yuan (1st class ticket),
while the flight from Lhasa to Guangzhou costs 2640 yuan (!). Very
expensive and I remember the travel agency in the hotel in Xian had
quoted a price of 2000 yuan, but Helen insists that that is the price.
The total for the two tickets and the permit is 5390 yuan (!).
Around 9pm I briefly check the emails with the computers of the
guesthouse (3 yuan for 30 minutes, slow connection). The Internet
forecast for Lhasa is not good. Besides being cold, it will rain on
Sunday and from Thursday onwards, i.e. there will be only two sunny
days on Tuesday and Wednesday. There is even a forecast for snow on
Thursday. Not sure if I have enough warm clothes with me. Perhaps I
will fly earlier from Lhasa to Guangzhou.
Hotel Airway, Lhasa. 1 Niang Re road,
next to the Potala palace, Tel. 0891-6915660. 400 yuan for a very
comfortable suite with a bedroom and a dining room with a big TV,
heater etc. There is also a TV in the bedroom. Nothing is missing
(phone, bath with hairdryer, Intenet line in the room. Very good value.
The only problem is that I can't manage to get the DSL line in the room
to work (probably some network problem), but the ladies in the
reception allow me to use the Ethernet line of the business centre. The
bathroom has an electrical water heater (80 litres, but only 2KW,
heating takes for ever). By the way, they don't take credit cards -
Weather: Overcast and cold
in Chengdu in the morning. In Lhasa sunny, very strong sun which warms
everything. You can walk around with a T-shirt, as long as you are in
We get up at 6:40am and after a brief breakfast leave at 8am in the car
of the Sim's Cozy guesthouse. The drive to the airport takes half an
hour. At the airport I'm handed over to another guy, who takes my
passport and flight ticket and goes to an economy class check-in
counter. There he gets a print out with something on it (probably a
list of names; I probably am on a one-person group tour to Tibet) and
that we go to the first class check-in, where the clerk checks me in.
Then the guy walks with me to the security check where he again hands
over the printout to the control guy, who chops my boarding pass. And
apparently that's it - I'm allowed to proceed to Tibet. The "Tibet
permit" is not a piece of paper, it's just an arrangement so that you
can get through the security check.
In the meantime Shirley has checked in and, since she is on another
gate, we split. See you in six days in Bangkok, dear Sunshine.
I proceed to the first class lounge where I write this piece of the
travelogue and check my emails. Then I proceed to the gate. The plane
leaves on time at 10:25am. The economy class is indeed full; in the
first class where I am there are three empty places (out of eight). The
flight itself is great - every now and then you see snow capped peaks
poking through the clouds.
The plane lands about 15 minutes late in Lhasa. After getting the
luggage, I start looking for a hotel booking counter. But there is
none, probably because everybody arrives with a package. So I take the
bus to Lhasa (25 yuan), which leaves at 12:55pm.
The drive to Lhasa takes forever - more than one hour and a half. Hard
to believe that the airport is so far away. The bus arrives in a square
next to the Potala palace, behind the Airway hotel. This looks like a
very nice hotel, almost too much luxury for me. I walk in and ask for a
room. They show me a great room with a direct view of the Potala
palace. At just 400 yuan this is a bargain. Perhaps the price is so
low, because this is the off-season or because I'm staying for five
I spend the afternoon exploring Lhasa and shooting photos of the Potala
palace. I also look for an ATM and can't find one. The only one which
accepts international ATM cards is out of service (the one of the bank
of China). Later I hear from a traveller that there is another branch
of the bank of China, where the ATM works. I also look for a travel
agency, to ask for tours, and can't find one. Later I hear that there
is a cheap one in the hotel Banak Shol.
The location of the hotel, next to the Potala palace, is excellent, but
in this hotel you are completely cut off from the backpacker travel
environment. There is no infrastructure for western travellers near the
hotel: no restaurants, no travel agencies, no shops catering to western
travellers. The area around the hotel has many shops, some bakeries,
one restaurant, but all these target Chinese tourists. BTW, Lhasa looks
like a nice, modern Chinese town.
In the evening I have a dinner in the restaurant of the hotel and
order the wrong thing. I get a dish with peas,
slices of bacon full of fat - very greasy stuff. While I have
dinner, between 7:30 and 8pm, I'm the only customer in the restaurant.
Hotel Airway, Lhasa.
Weather: Sunny the whole day
in Lhasa, no clouds. Warm in the sun, cold in the shadows.
Last night was crazy. I went sleeping around 11:30pm with a cold and
feeling sick. I wake up at 2am, then sleep again until 3am. I wake up
again, with headache, sore throat, nausea. Can't sleep for the next two
hours and even throw up. I guess I have a mix of a cold (which I caught
in Xian), mountain sickness and yesterday's dinner was too heavy. In
any case I'm pretty much sick. Looks like today I will spend most of my
time in the hotel room.
I wake up at 9am, still feeling sick. I just stay in bed until noon,
trying to fix the computer (it had broken down at 5am, while I was
checking my images). It's sort of a loose contact - all of a sudden the
power supply stops recharging the battery. I assume the error is in the
notebook, as it happens when I move it. I even open the X31 IBM
Thinkpad, looking for a loose contact.
Around 2pm I get out of the hotel room, because I have eaten almost
nothing today and start walking towards the Bharkor. The idea is to
check at the travel agency in the Banak Shol hotel for day trips to the
Nam-tso lake and the Ganden monastery.
I also have half an idea to fix the notebook (at the moment the power
supply is unable to power the notebook and recharge the batteries - I'm
left with the three hours of juice of the second battery - a serious
problem since I use the notebook to manage my site at molon.de, write
the travelogue and check the photos). Without notebook I would have to
write the travelogue with the Palm Tungsten organiser, with its tiny
I check a couple of supermarkets, but they sell neither screwdrivers
nor souldering irons. Around 2:45pm I reach the Barkhor square, a
pretty colourful place with lots of Tibetan pilgrims and Buddhist
monks. Nice Jokhang temple. Lots of beggars by the way. The area around
the Jokhang temple is full of shops selling tourist stuff. Looks like
I'm in the "backpacker zone".
After that I get back to the main road and walk eastwards, stopping at
a branch of the bank of China. This time the ATM works and I can
withdraw cash. Near the bank of China is the Banak Shol backpacker
hotel. In the basement there is a travel agency (F.I.T. travel, Tel.
0891-6344397). The price for a day trip to the Nam-tso lake is 1000
yuan for the whole car (five hours to get there) and 1100 yuan with a
better car (four hours to get there). The day trip to the Ganden
monastery costs 400 yuan (two hours to get there, 40 km - why so
slow?). The Ganden trip seems a bit expensive, because it's 400 yuan
for a relatively short distance.
Around 4pm I walk back to the hotel and run into a shop selling
electrical gear. I buy a soldering iron (15 yuan), tin-solder, two
screwdrivers, and an analog
multimeter (unbelievably cheap at 15 yuan).
I get back to the hotel and spend the next three-four hours fixing the
notebook. Will spare you the details, but the first surprise is that
the output of the power supply is 0 Volt. This means the notebook is
ok and it's the power supply which is causing problems. It takes time
understand what the problem with the power supply is. I even get back
to the shop where the owner helps me to open the power supply with a
saw (it's sealed, no screws). Lots of communication with hands and the
Chinese translator loaded on my organiser.
In the end it turns out that the cable of the power supply has
developed a short circuit in the plug. Lots of work to kind of
temporarily fix it (I have to fix it, as it is impossible to find a new
power supply for an IBM X31 Thinkpad in a remote place like Lhasa). In
the two years in which I have used this subnotebook,
the subnotebook has performed flawlessly and has not developed defects.
But the power
supply unit has failed twice (including today), always in the plug.
is a big issue because if almost anything else fails in a notebook you
can still continue working, but without power supply you can no longer
use the notebook in a matter or hours, when the batteries discharge.
Two failures in two years - this means power supplies for IBM notebooks
fail on average after one year. You might find yourself in a remote
area with no IBM service centre and not everybody is able to fix a
power supply. IBM needs to improve the reliability of their power
In the evening I go again to the same restaurant and this time order
light, easy digestible stuff. Overall I'm feeling better and I'll
probably do the Ganden trip tomorrow.
Hotel Airway, Lhasa. This morning in
the toilet there was not enough water pressure. It took forever to have
Weather: Sunny with a thin
layer of clouds in the morning, getting more thick in the afternoon. Is
the weather getting worse ? In the evening the cloud covers opens up.
I'm still sick and this is a problem, as the trip to the Nam-Tso lake
will be tough and the weather is getting worse. After two great sunny
days (Sunday and Monday) with a spotless blue sky, today there is a
clouds layer in the sky and the weather forecast says the weather will
worsen (it might even snow). I should do the Nam-Tso trip as soon as
possible, but need a few days to get fit again. Needless to say, no
trip to the Ganden monastery today (still have headache, cough and a
Communication in Chinese is still a problem, as I'm only able to
communicate on a simple level - and this after four years of evening
school in Germany. In theory I should be able to handle sophisticated
communication, with complex sentence structures, in practice however
most of the time the Chinese don't understand me (probably because I
use the wrong
tones) and I don't understand them, which is kind of frustrating. I
guess I should change study
method and take a conversation course (currently, in the courses of the
evening school I take, we are basically learning by heart from the
The funny thing is that if my wife is having a conversation in Chinese
(Mandarin) with somebody, I
am able to capture 80% of what they say. On the other hand my wife had
trouble communicating in Mandarin while she was in Beijing, Xian and
Chengdu. She is a native Chinese speaker, but there were words she
could not understand. When for instance speaking with the staff at the
guesthouse in Chengdu, she had to switch to English, because she could
not understand them. Probably there are many local dialects in China or
people simply use different versions of Mandarin.
In any case now it's 4pm, and besides briefly leaving the hotel at 2pm
for lunch and some shopping, I've been in the hotel room most of the
time. I slept until 11am, which is ok, but I'm still not fit. Probably
I have a mix of a cold and a slight mountain sickness.
In the evening I wonder what to do. Should I shorten my stay by one day
and leave Lhasa on Thursday instead of Friday ? I'd solve the mountain
sickness problem and probably also the cold problem, as my next
destination, Guangzhou, is at sea level and pretty warm (probably warm
enough to walk around in shorts and T-shirt. On the other hand
Guangzhou probably is a polluted place and it's kind
of cool being at 3700 metres above sea level. I'm still tempted to do
the Nam-Tso trip. Will decide tomorrow based on the weather and my
overall fitness status.
By the way, it's great being fully connected on the top of the world.
Since I'm not sure if the pills I bought this afternoon in the pharmacy
really are aspirin (writing is in Chinese characters), I take a picture
and email it to Shirley who right now is back in Malaysia. Then, while
I'm online with my notebook in the business centre of the hotel, my
brother Markus calls me through Skype from Europe. We have a chat
and I ask for some tips about mountain sickness. While we are at that I
add Shirley to the telephone conversation, making a conference
(Tibet-Malaysia-Europe). Parallel to that I do my emails and correct
the names of the photos of the Kuching gallery of my site (a tourist
guide from Kuching, Malaysia just sent me an email with the
Hotel Airway, Lhasa.
Weather: Sunny, spotless
blue sky with only a few little clouds. The Internet weather forecast
for today was rain and snow, with temperatures below the freezing
point. Late in the afternoon a thick cloud cover approaches from the
south, but it dissolves in the evening.
It seems I'm back in the world of the living, after two days of being
essentially uncapable to do anything. Even better, today is a sunny day
with a blue sky (not a rainy cold day, according to the Internet
weather forecast). So I'm going to do the Ganden monastery trip today.
I get up around 9:15am, after a night with ups and downs (I wake up a
couple of times). By the time I make it to the restaurant at 9:55am
it's already too late for breakfast. So I go out and buy some apples,
and have a breakfast with apples, milk and tea.
Then I call the FIT travel agency and arrange the tour to the Ganden
monastery for today, leaving at 1pm. Tomorrow I'll do the Nam-Tso lake
tour, weather permitting.
At noon I have lunch in the restaurant of the hotel and at 1pm the
driver knocks at my door and we leave. The drive to the Ganden
monastery takes, including photo stops, one hour and a half. At 2:30pm
we are there. Pretty cool setting, on top of a mountain overlooking the
Lhasa valley. Later I find out that the monastery is at 4500 metres
a.s.l. - that's pretty much the highest altitude where I've ever been.
I have just acclimatised to 3700 metres, and now I find myself at 4500
metres. But I have no problems breathing and walking
I spend over two hours in the monastery, exploring the place and having
a chat with the monks. I meet a Dutch guy who makes it to the monastery
with a mountain bike - not bad, but this guy is perfectly acclimatised,
having been at high altitudes for weeks already. Pretty cool views and
Around 4pm a convoy of Chinese police (or army) cars arrives. About two
dozens uniformed people descend and I wonder what is going on. Are they
here on a leisure trip or are they checking the monastery ? I wonder if
I have a permit to be here (the FIT travel agency didn't hand any piece
of paper to me).
At 4:45pm we drive back. In the meantime a thick layer of
clouds is approaching from the south and for a while the whole sky is
By the way, the sun at 4500 metres is strong.
I realise it later in the hotel, when I notice that my entire head is
When we arrive in Lhasa at 6pm I'm really tired. I won't do the Nam-Tso
trip tomorrow. It's just too tiring - four hours to go and four hours
to come back. I'm still not 100% fit and need to take a rest. After all
this should be a holiday...
In the evening I don't do much. Tomorrow I might do some short trip to
some interesting place (monastery, Tibetan village ?) and do some
Hotel Airway, Lhasa.
Weather: Overcast the whole
day, no rain. The clouds layer briefly opens up between 3 and 5pm and
the sun shines through. Not that cold, although in the evening you need
a jacket. And no snow or rain, despite the Internet forecast.
Crazy night last night. Looks like I was too active yesterday, and that
trip to the Ganden monastery at 4500 metres probably was a bit too
much. I'm still not 100% acclimatised, although I can walk up and down
hills without problems. But the sun is so strong and the wind is cold.
Basically I wake up around 2-3am with a very strong headache. Not even
two pills of Paracetamol solve the problem. I'm awake until 6am, then
sleep until noon. By the way, I think that the dinner yesterday in the
Chinese restaurant was still too heavy.
In any case I leave the hotel around 1:30pm, after drinking a bottle of
milk as a "brunch". The idea is to visit the Potala Palace (not that
I'm particularly interested to see it inside, but since I'm already
here and have time...) and the Drepung monastery.
I walk to entrance to the west of the palace. In front of the palace
there are Tibetan pilgrims, praying on the ground. The entrance ticket
is a steep 100 yuan. Another (western) tourist complains "how can you
charge 100 yuan, when half of the palace is closed". Later I realise
that half of the palace is more than enough (actually I suspect I only
see a small fraction of it), and that the 100 yuan are not worth it. If
you are in Lhasa, don't visit the inside of the palace.
Basically what you see is a number of chapels, full of statues and
figures, holy things etc. Photography is not allowed and in the chapels
they have smelly candles (probably burning Yak fat ?). After a few
minutes in the chapels I reach overload and am happy when I finally
finish visiting the palace. Kind of a feeling of diving back into the
dark ages, with those dark chapels overloaded with religious stuff. I'm
not a fan of Christian churches either, but at least European churches
are cleaner and more bright inside.
At 2:45pm (spent a total of one hour in the Potala palace) I walk out.
Now the sun is peeking through the clouds. After buying some food at
the market I take a taxi to the Drepung monastery. The taxi driver
isn't using the meter, but is asking 25 yuan which is ok for a 7km
trip. He offers to bring me to the airport tomorrow for 150 yuan (which
is cheap for a 90 km
At 3:15pm we reach the Drepung monastery, which looks ok, but is not
impressive. The entry ticket is 50 yuan, pricier than elsewhere, and in
most chapels they charge an additional 10 to 20 yuan if you want to
shoot photos. These guys are more cash-oriented than elsewhere.
The monastery itself is worth the visit - I spend over an hour there,
After I call the taxi with the mobile phone and get back into Lhasa, to
the Barkhor area. I'm actually looking for some nice souvenir, but
can't find anything suitable. So I walk back and on the way back I buy
some pills against headache and mountain sickness in a pharmacy (should
have done this on my first day). It's a Chinese product whose English
name is "Plateau Safty", a 20 pills box for 28 yuan, to be taken 2-4
tablets/time, 3-5 times/day. This thing will last only for one day, if
taken at the highest dosage.
Hotel Huifu, Guangzhou. Three star
hotel, overpriced at 480 yuan for a room with bath, A/C, TVs etc. but
no Internet connection. For an Internet connection you have to pay 100
yuan extra. It is possible that right now there is a trade fair, with
resulting higher hotel prices.
Weather: Partly overcast in
the morning in Lhasa. The sky opens up a bit at 1pm in Lhasa airport.
Fresh in Lhasa, you need a (light) jacket. No rain. Humid and not cold
in the evening in Guangzhou.
Although I took the pills yesterday, I still woke up around 3am and
couldn't sleep for several hours. The pills helped, but didn't make the
headache go away. All in all I have swallowed 10 of these pills between
yesterday evening and this morning, but I still haven't had a good
night of sleep. Next time I visit Lhasa I'll bring a huge pack of
aspirine and paracetamol pills with me.
At 10am I check out. Surprisingly the bill shows a room price of 250
yuan/night, but the receptionist assures me the price is 400 yuan. Are
they perhaps cheating the taxman ?
The taxi drive to the airport (150 yuan) takes slightly over an hour.
When I arrive at 11am something the check-in counter hasn't opened yet.
Hmmm, I could have slept longer.
The plane to Guangzhou leaves more or less on time and is quite full.
This flight will make a stopover in Zhongdian, alhough Amadeus showed a
stop in Diqing. Perhaps Diqing and Zhongdian share the same airport. By
the way, the sky over Tibet is covered by a thick layer of clouds.
Well, the plane doesn't stop in Zhongdian - it stops in Diqing at
2:40pm for about 40 minutes, then takes off again for Guangzhou,
reaching Guangzhou at 5:30pm, way ahead of the time (scheduled arrival
The airport is relatively new and modern and really huge. After
retrieving the luggage I head towards the hotel booking counter. The
people there are a bit messy. They end up putting me in an overpriced
three star hotel.
To get to the hotel I take the bus (20 yuan) which after a series of
loops and stops, finally drops me off around 7 something pm (trip took
about 40 minutes) somewhere in Guangzhou, from where I take a taxi to
Around 8pm I go out again and have initially some food, then look for
and find an Internet cafe (3 yuan/hour), where I check my emails. Then
I take a taxi to the river and from there I walk along the waterfront
towards the hotel.
Guangzhou reminds me a lot a Chinese town in Malaysia - same layout,
same shops, same style, same people.
Hotel Rama Gardens, about 15 minutes
from Bangkok airport. We pay 2815 Baht for a deluxe double with a baby
bed. The room is big and nice, sort of "luxury", but the bed is hard
and there is no Internet connection in the room (it's time that the
Thais catch up with the competition). Breakfast is not included, but
for 350 Baht/person you can have a buffet breakfast with a wide choice
(good value if you eat a lot). The hotel is nice in a nice setting, and
it's a pity that we just spend the night there.
Weather: Sunny the whole
day, no clouds, no rain. Although Guangzhou has a subtropical climate,
it is possible to walk around the whole day with a T-shirt and trousers
without sweating. I'd guess the temperature is around 25-30°C (more
towards 30°C). When I get out of the airport in Bangkok in the
evening, I'm overwhelmed by the tropical heat outside. I've spent three
weeks in places with moderate to fresh climates (Taiwan being the
warmest place) and Thailand is very hot compared to the other places.
My altitude-based health problems (headache, bleeding nose, insomnia)
are all gone. Yesterday I fall asleep at midnight like a stone and
sleep for the first time after several days non-stop until 9:30am. This
morning I'm completely 'rehabilitated'.
I pack my things and check out at 12pm, leaving the bags in the hotel.
When I try to photocopy some pages of the LP guide for Guangzhou so I
don't have to carry the book with me, the hotel staff tells me to go to
an external copy shop. Apparently they have no business centre.
At 12:30pm I have some fast food in the McDonald restaurant, then take
a taxi to the international convention centre. After that I have a look
at the island Shamian Dao. Quite relaxed place, with old colonial style
buildings. Lots of wedding couples there for photo sessions.
At 3pm I take a taxi to the Buddhist temple of the Six Banyan Trees
(Liurongsi Huata). Quite nice
and with a 55m pagoda, on whose top you can climb. At 4:10pm I take a
taxi to the Beijing Lu shopping street, which is a pedestrian area full
of shops and people. Lots of Chinese approching me offering fake
watches and Armani suits. Later they even try to sell notebook
computers (Toshiba) - would you buy a notebook computer on the street
like that ? Perhaps there is a notebook factory in or near Guangzhou.
By the way, the emphasis in Guangzhou is international trade and
selling Chinese products. Lots of billboards advertising trade fairs
After Bejing Lu, at 5:10pm, I take a taxi to the Shangxia 9 Lu
area. Again full of people and very
lively. This one is more modern than Beijing Lu. At 5:40pm I head back
to the hotel, again by taxi.
At 6pm, after retrieving the luggage in the hotel, I take a taxi to the
airport. There is some traffic jam and the drive takes around 50
minutes (I'm in the airport at 6:50pm).
At the airport the check-in counter of Thai airways is very slow. It
takes over half an hour to check-in. Then you have to pass through a
series of checks: 1. a health check (thermometer measuring your body
temperature); 2. fill out a customs declaration form about the stuff
you are carrying with you; 3. fill out a departure form and get through
immigration; 4. security check. By the time I finally make it to the
gate it's already 8pm. I quickly buy a sandwich in a cafe (don't trust
the food od Thai and am very hungry anyway) and board the plane.
The Thai flight TG679 leaves more or less on time. The plane itself is
very full. It lands on time in Bangkok airport. There I meet Shirley
and finaly my sweet baby who caught a cold in KL, because it has been
raining for days and she was most of the time indoors with the cold
After refusing all limousine services we end up taking a taxi outside.
Actually, given that we are three and have a lot of luggage, it would
have made sense to use one of those limo services, as the car is
bigger. The taxi trip to the hotel is 143 Baht + 50 Baht. I add a tip,
offering the driver a total of 250 Baht. I hand over a 500 Baht bill
and wait for the change. This greedy guy starts giving me a 20 Baht
note, then two 100 Baht notes. Where are the remaining 30 Baht? I ask
for that, the guy smiles and hands over two 10 Baht coins, then a 5
Baht coin, and after I insist he finally hands over the third 10 Baht
coin. Why try to grab more money, when I gve him a very generous tip of
30% ? In China taxi drivers bring you from A to B, don't expect any tip
(they don't even ask for one) and don't try to cheat you.
Hotel: home, sweet home
Weather: never mind. In any
case it's overcast in Bangkok when we leave and not that hot in the
Not much to say, except that the plane is 1:30 h late, meaning that we
will arrive in Munich at 8:30pm.