“I'd rather regret the things that I have done than the things that I have not.”
― Lucille Ball

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Time Dislexia? and traveling stress!

Two of my friends in Bangkok I worked with during my stay there a couple of years ago decided to merry today. As I was invited, I had to go of course.

But what happened during my trip from Sta. Barbara to Bangkok striked me hard. It's not the first time this happened, but I was never so close to a mental disaster as yesterday.

I believe and always knew: I have TIME DYSLEXIA. It's not an official term, but I want to call it like that because what happens is that sometimes, but not always I read a wrong time. Let me explain.

My flight from Clark airport in Pampanga, Philippines, was scheduled for 16.15 hours. If you have a European Itinerary the time stamp is in 24 hours format, and I am used to that for time tables. However here the American format is used, so the stamp is 4.15 PM. When I am under stress I read this as 14.15 hours. And I was under stress as the bus that I took arrived  late in Dau!! It's a kind of dyslexia, however I couldn't find a description of similar cases, so it's not officially!!

What happened was that I had just disembarked the bus to Manila in Dau bus station, near to Clark airport and had taken the airport bus, a jeepney shuttle-bus. When we left for the airport I took my papers from my suitcase, as I couldn't do it in the bus, and wanted to check the exact departure time and other details. It was 14.15 hours that time and when I read the paper I really thought that the departure time was 14.15 hours in stead of 4.15 pm, so the plane was already about to depart were my thoughts.

I got crazy and quickly decided what to do. All kind of scenario's turned around in my head, like what would my friends think of me and my spouse and is there a way to find a solution and what about the lost money. I needed to unstress and go home to contemplate and check Internet for solutions if any and to contact my friends telling them what happened

I asked the driver to stop, got out and walked back to the bus station where we just departed from. From there I waited for the bus to bring me back home, meanwhile thinking what would happen if I came back home, a Thunderstorm, believe me. I found the bus that would bring me home and waited for it to depart again.

When it departed I relaxed and contemplated what to do and if there was any change to find a flight tomorrow morning to be in Bangkok on time for the wedding. I took my papers again to find out what a one-way ticket would cost if a flight was still available and checked the flight details again. Now I saw that the departure time was not 14.15 but 16.15. I got crazy again, because of what I had done and how stupid I was.

It was already 14.45 hours and decided immediately that there was still a change to get the plain. I asked the driver to stop and he only did so after he made the big U-turn that all buses make in Dau, so leaving the bus station than after 500 meters right, then a right turn again at the SOGO hotel and passing by the bus station  that we just left. There he stopped and I got out. I didn't pay yet the bus, so no financial impact. I took a tricycle to the taxi stand near the SM mall of Clark, in stead of waiting for the airport shuttle and from the taxi stand to the passengers terminal. When we arrived it was 15.15 hours and the check-in counter would close 45.00 minutes before departure so @ 15.30 hours. I MADE IT. The actual departure was delayed almost 20 minutes.

What would have happened if we were already on the express way when I found that I had made a wrong time reading. Then there was no way to get out of the bus. So I was very lucky that I was just in time to discover my wrong time reading. So far so good. It cost me some money, but it is nothing compared with the loss I would have if my journey had failed.

Now you might think all problems solved, but not. When I was in Bangkok, Suvarnabhumi airport, I took the new Airport Rail to the city center. The year+ that I lived in Bangkok, they were building this train shuttle and now I could finally use it.

And from there the BTS to Nana station. This is close to where I thought my hotel was. The map indicated it was close to Soi 1, but the address was 1503/1-2 Sukhumvit Road. I asked around, but no one new my hotel Lilla. A taxi-driver offered me to find it for 200 baht. It was 20.30 hours and hot, hungry, thirsty and tired. So I took the offer and relaxed. Note there was no telephony number on the confirmation paper I had, so we could not call them.

The driver drove as an idiot, if we were not locked up in the jam, and asked around so many times. He could't find it really and got as crazy as I was that same morning. We even entered another hotel and there they called my hotel for the exact address. It was just at the other end of Sukhumvit, but now he knew, he said.

In that area Soi 67-69 he couldn't find it again. Same again, asking everywhere, driving around, shouting to other taxis's and to himself. Now that I have checked it again in Internet, I do understand why he couldn't find it. You really need a map with directions to find it and I hadn't it with me.

Finally I told him to find me a cheap hotel somewhere close to Nana and I would see the next day what to do. He brought me to Soi 22, hotel Citrus. A fine hotel, but not really cheap. It was after 23.00 hours already and I payed him much more than agreed, so he was happy and I was as well, because in front of the hotel was a nice small restaurant where I ordered my Thai favorites and went to my room to take a shower and check Internet to solve my latest problem of that day, finding the hotel that I booked a couple of days ago.


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