Since I've been away from home, all I could think about in Korea is the glorious varieties of foods we have back home. The mouth-watering spiciness that combines the best of our three cultures. Korean food is often spicy but in my opinion, it lacks the "11 herbs and spices" factor.

I got sidetracked there thinking about food; my point is, I've anticipated going back to Penang after two weeks in Korea, but all that anticipation disintegrates and turns into irritation and disgust once I into the airport.

One of the many "joys" of travelling of course, is to be greeted by a surly immigration assistant first thing in the morning, 7am; to be exact. I mean, I get the importance of their job; sitting in a little booth/counter all day squinting at hundreds of passports. You'd think if they'd smile once in a while, the job wouldn't seem as horrible. But no, these people; given whatever little authority they have, try their very best to make lives difficult.

The flight into Bangkok was pleasant. I hope I am not speaking (or rather typing) too soon though since we have another flight into Penang in about two hours' time. It's my first experience with the airline and I'm surprised at how pleased I am with their service. Bonus points for providing real cutlery (as opposed to disposable ones)!

However, as soon as we got to Bangkok; it's a whole different story. The following happened shortly upon arrival:-

Encounter 1
Eric: Excuse me, our flight is in another 6 hours, but can we go up to the waiting area upstairs now?
Surly Attendant 1: No trolley (very weakly gestures at our carts)
(Note: When I say "gesture" I mean, not even pointing at the cart, merely a general wave of her hand)
Eric: Yes, okay, you mean no cart?
SA1: No trolley!
Jill (that's me!): I think she means, yes no cart!
Eric: *sighs* Okay...is there a smoking room upstairs?
SA1: Boarding pass
Jill: Omg, just give her the boarding pass and we'll go see for ourselves!

With no help from her at all, we find ourselves checking in for our flight (6 hrs early). The only money exchange counter had a card which said "BREAK" - no indication of the time this "break" might be over.

So we went around looking for a smoking room.

After wandering aimlessly for a few minutes, we spotted two attendants talking and laughing among themselves.

Encounter 2
Jill: Oh let's ask them if they know where the smoking room is?
Eric: Excuse me, where is the smoking room?
Laughing Attendant: *continues laughing for a few more seconds*

The next thing you know, I swear, it's the funniest thing I've seen today, yet. The Laughing Attendant does a wave in no apparent direction at all. Indicating that the smoking room might be in that general direction. Eric looked at her puzzled and asked again. She did the same thing, the entire time, still making eye contact with her other attendant friend, still laughing at whatever joke they shared earlier.

In the end, we got directions from a janitor lady who was way nicer than any of the airport attendants we've met so far.

Yes, THIS is Asian hospitality!

I am sure there will be more rude-ness awaiting us at the Penang International Airport, they have never failed me before, in that sense. Stay tuned
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