Rome Airport’s got the most cutest little shuttle train that takes you to your departure terminal. I wish Auckland had one of these!!
For the first time, I had to remove my shoes (for the x-rayed) and be “patted down” as I passed through the final stages of security.
Sad to be leaving Rome, I traveled to London’s new Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport,
Of course I was extremely happy to be flying onto Bangkok to finally meet (face to face) and stay with my amazing online colleague and friend, Kim Cofino!
The Bangkok Immigration Desk was scary! Immigration officers do not smile AT ALL and there are two footprints on the floor to stand on as you look directly into a webcam to have your photo taken on entry. I did not have Kim’s address handy (it was in my luggage) and I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t be allowed into the country! Thankfully they were happy to sight my ticket to fly home in five days and let me just write her name on the declaration docket. Phew!
The ever-thoughtful Kim had suggested I book myself a taxi-van driver who was waiting for me in exactly the pre-arranged spot and took care of me straight away. Unfortunately I was not prepared the humidity and temperature of May in Bangkok! If I thought I was melting in Paraná, Argentina – I was seriously wrong!! It was incredibly hot and sticky! Luckily my taxi was fully air-conditioned and soon I found myself flying down the motorway towards Bangkok City. Several tollbridges later, my driver found the address that Kim had provided in the booking. Unfortunately a combination of a language barrier, Kim & Alex just moving into the building three days previously and a very vigilant/security-conscious doorman, I spent half and hour outside in the van. I was no help as I had no idea if I was in the right place!
Eventually Alex came downstairs to see if I’d arrived yet and as I spotted him I leapt out of the van shouting
“that’s him, that’s him, that’s my friend’s husband!”
Now I need to share with you the fact that I had never met Alex before. But here’s another tick to having an on-line friendship – I recognised Alex from Kim’s personal blog (great read and inspiring photos!) Now that’s cool!
Within no time I was hugging Kim and “eeeewing & ahhhhhing” over her new downtown apartment! It was amazing, here I was, “catching-up” with my friend I’d been connected to for the past year or so, but had only minutes ago, met physically, like we’d been mates for years. The opportunity to meet, in person, someone from your network is a real buzz!! It is so affirming that the connection you make online can so seamlessly mooch over into a face-to-face connection. I felt like I’d known Kim forever and it was so easy to talk to one another like we lived in the same town and not 9800-odd kms away! You can read Kim’s thoughts on Virtual Friendships too.
Of course we celebrated our inaugural face-to-face meeting with some serious hand to face tasting of various culinary delights! While Kim was pumping over how awesome it was to be living downtown, I was blown away by the traffic, the HUGE shopping malls and the most amazing FoodLoft I’d ever seen!
By the way, I tried a Vietnamese Soup and it was an absolute pleasure to digest!
Bring on more culinary firsts!