So today is a public holiday in Thailand, and I have booked the family into the Marriott hotel in Pattaya for 2 nights, to have a bit of a “mini-break”. We’ve stayed at the Marriott twice before in the last two years, and although the hotel is a bit aged, it has aged well. The location of the hotel is great – right on the beach front and close to Walking Street – and the pool area is phenomenal. It gives the impression of a tropical resort. When you are at the pool you are surrounded by tropical trees etc. and wouldn’t know that just outside is the bustling streets of Pattaya.
It typically takes 2 hours to drive from Bangkok to Pattaya, and the traffic can get bad. However I made sure that we had nothing to rush for when we set out, to give me the best chance of staying relaxed for the trip. Happy to report it all went to plan – until we hit Pattaya! The traffic was pretty heavy, but since I knew we weren’t in a hurry I just took it easy, and the trip took exactly 2 hours to deposit us in Pattaya. Once we got to Pattaya it took another 30 minutes to get to our hotel! Usually it shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes. I must admit I wasn’t prepared for the horrible traffic in Pattaya, and it got my stress levels rising. I read a report a couple of weeks ago about a study done on the stress effect of a traffic jam on the sexes. Apparently women are much better at handling the stress than men. The researchers believe it had something to do with the men wanting to feel in control of a situation, and in a traffic jam they just had no control, whereas women weren’t so fussed.
So I ended up at the hotel a bit stressed. However I took a deep breath and had good thoughts about being by the pool. I didn’t want to get a flare of stress related psoriasis! So I had booked two adjoining rooms, so my young kids could be right next door. As I’m checking in I naturally check that this is still the case. I’ve been in Thailand for long enough to know that you don’t take anything for granted – even a “confirmed” deal. Sure enough the receptionist told us that we didn’t have adjoining rooms, but that they were “next to each other”. Fortunately I didn’t have to explode, as my wife stepped in and calmly told the receptionist that it was unacceptable. The receptionist taps away on the computer for about 5 minutes. She said she’d have to talk to her manager, so I told her we’d leave her to it and go and get something to eat.
We went to a nearby restaurant and I try and think happy thoughts and not focus on how much we’d lose if we had to turn around and go back to Bangkok! After we had something to eat we went back, and they had sorted everything out and got us adjoining rooms. I was relieved!
Sitting by the pool all afternoon was certainly enjoyable, while the kids went crazy in the pool. A bonus was that since I’m a Marriott member I get free wifi will in the hotel! This went to plan while I was pool-side, however when I went back to my room I had to reconnect and I got a screen asking me which plan I wanted (with charges). So I called to reception and they said that they’d have to boot the system. To cut a long story short, after about 15 minutes of calls back and forth they said just to choose a payment package and they would refund me at checkout. I conceded, although I don’t hold much hope that it will automatically be done. I’m sure I’ll have to do some explaining and arguing on checkout.
I wanted to pay for a movie on their in-house system so that the kids could watch a cartoon flick. They system was “blocked”. A long story short – after 1.5 hours they couldn’t unblock it. They offered to make it free for the kids, but it was too late by then – the kids had to go to sleep.
Now it is 11.20pm and the eldest still hasn’t got to sleep yet, and he isn’t happy. A sleep deprived 9 year old is not pretty. It is really noisy here – sounds like they are dragging chairs across the floor upstairs? But it has been going on for about 2 hours? What are they doing?
I’m going to try and sleep now. Fingers crossed I sleep like a baby. Yeah right!