After three mostly uneventful flights from Indy to Detroit, Tokyo I finally arrived in Bangkok. The Tokyo flight was delayed almost an hour but since I had nearly 5 hours to kill before the flight to Hanoi it was no big deal. One of the attendants on the Tokyo flight recommended the day hotel that offered pay showers, which wasn't too far away in the adjacent terminal. I enjoyed a clean, hot shower and left to find a place to nap away the next few hours. Periodically I would wake up and look for Ryan, as I was supposed to meet him in the airport.
Around 4:45 I got a text from Lisa saying that Ryan had emailed me. The free wifi in the Bangkok airport only lasts for 15 minutes and you have to get a password from the information desk. Not so convenient. After getting access to the wifi, I read Ryan's message and he's been looking for me close to the check-in counter.
Since I had printed my boarding pass at home, I was already passed security and despite walking almost a km though the airport I couldn't join Ryan. On the last minute of my wifi, I sent him an email to meet me at the gate.
I walked back to the gate which had just opened. When I arrived, I was horrified to learn that my ghetto airline could not accept passengers who hadn't passed through Thai immigration. Rather than cleaning immigration during my 4 hour layover I had been relaxing resulting in 45 minutes to get out of the airport, only to come right back in. There was a gentleman from Canada who was in the same predicament and so we took off.
After another nearly 1 km run we made it to immigration, where the queues were unreasonably long with no sign of movement. Luckily on the way out of the airport we were able to talk our way into the priority departure line fairly easily.
After returning to the arrival section we learned that we needed to go though passport control once more! Unfortunately the agents here were much less helpful and pointed us back to our airline counter rather than allowing us in the priority line. After running back to the airline counter which was about two football fields away we were met with more unhelpfulness and ended up back in the same passport control line, but 10 minutes in the hole.
Finally about 20 deep in a queue with the clock ticking we decided to ask people of we could cut in front of them. Nearly everyone was gracious and let us by. One surly dude from Ireland gave us some gruff but eventually buckled to peer pressure and let us by. Finally back in the terminal it was a neither jog back to the gate. We made it just in time for boarding.
The rest of the flight was uneventful. I sat next to several Americans and a brit all going to Hanoi. After a cheap $2 bus ride and a harrowing walk down the streets of old quarter Hanoi we arrived safely at our hotel.