blogging, Photography, Travel

Friendly Friday Blogging Challenge – On the Way

Even though few people are currently travelling, most of us have travel stories about our global adventures, that we can re-visit through writing and photographs.

Welcome back to the Friendly Friday Blogging Challenge, where I challenge you to create a post and share your stories, photographs, or memories, that you experienced ‘On the Way,’ to, or from, somewhere. It may be a shop, airport, workplace, historic site, residence, or whichever place you choose.

Friendly Friday Challenge Theme

On the Way

Instructions on joining the two weekly challenge is found here.

If you prefer an abridged form, you will find that further below in this post.

Now let’s take a trip through photos and a story:

In addition to the above photographs, I’m sharing a story of Just another person from around the world from 1986 that fits with the theme.

On Our Way – to the Airport

It was steaming hot and humid, as only Thailand can be. The vacation was over, but with our well-cured suntans and fond vacation memories lingering softly in our minds, the ‘Moth,’ (ie. Man of the House), and I were ushered into the rear seat of a Mercedes, by two young men who would drive us to Bangkok International Airport.

This older model ‘Merc,’ clearly nearing its use-by date, was the Taxi Airport Transfer our Travel Agent had kindly arranged, which meant we’d avoid navigating Bangkok’s public transport system in the oppressive, pea soup-like heat that had surrounded us back at Pattaya Beach.

Thankfully, the Mercedes was air-conditioned; mind you, the cooling unit was working extra hard to reach anywhere near the back seat and in reality, a vintage metal blade fan spewing tepid air would have been more effective than this car’s cooling system and I smiled a wry smile to the Moth, now seated beside me.

Photo by tom balabaud on Pexels.com

My hand reached across the numerous cracks and wrinkles in the sweat-caressed leather upholstery and touched the Moth’s hand. He’d been a tad nervous about travelling in South-East Asia and was clearly relieved he’d soon be on a plane heading home, to Australia.

Then something happened which began to make that look a little less likely.

We’d already been stuck in not one, but two, traffic jams and to pass the time, our Thai guide and his young driver would repeatedly push the ‘eject’ button, on the 1970’s era cassette player, and laugh uproariously when the ageing cassette plopped out on the floor. Added to this it seemed that absentmindedly switching the windscreen wipers on and off, and on and off again, despite the sun blazing outside, was an additional source of mirth for these two young guys.

Was this their first city job, I wondered? They looked like they were still a bit wet behind the ears.

Glancing over at the car’s instrument panel, I noticed the temperature gauge was spiking ‘hot,’ while the petrol gauge’s needle now flickered on ‘Reserve,’ indicating the fuel tank was close to empty. I raised an eyebrow and felt a slight tightening in my chest.

Cautiously, I asked the Thai Guide how much longer it might be before we’d reach the airport? In broken English, the reply came that it would be around half an hour, more or less, depending on traffic problems around the airport. I raised my eyebrows and looked again at the Moth.

Should I say something more about potentially running out of petrol?

I hesitated for a moment and crossed my fingers, but remained silent.

traffic jam Bangkok 1986
A Bangkok Traffic Jam in 1986. After two hours, we had travelled 100 metres.

Minutes ticked by and I began to calculate whether we could still make our flight if we did get stuck in another of Bangkok’s notorious traffic jams and whether the car would run out of petrol before we reached our destination.

I decided I should speak up.

“Won’t you need a little more fuel, soon?” I finally said, in a polite, suggestive way.

Both the driver and his offsider looked at each other, befuddled. After a moment, they shook their heads firmly. It seemed I might need to clarify a little more what I meant.

“The fuel gauge,” I said, gaining confidence and pointing.“It is showing empty.”

“Ah, hah,” the young Driver said, with a gentle laugh.

Temperature,” he said smiling and tapping the petrol gauge with a knowing nod.

Umm. I don’t think so.” I offered. I was shaking my head but in those days, I had a soft voice and hadn’t developed any kind of authoritative tone, so the driver easily shrugged me off with a quick, “No problem,” and flashed that broad and innocent Thai smile, that can charm almost anyone.

I sat back in my seat thinking there was no way we’d catch our flight if we ran out of petrol. I looked at the Moth, imploring him with my eyes to say something to the driver. His eyebrows were knitted together, yet he remained silent.

Would you like something to eat?” the driver then piped up? “A bowl of rice? You have time,” he said pointing to his watch.”

I thought a detour may use up even more petrol and remembering his questionable skills in reading gauges, I wasn’t confident we had any time for food. Declining politely, I advised him we’d eat at the airport, adding under my breath – if we ever get there.

Photo by Hassan OUAJBIR on Pexels.com

Several minutes later, the frenzied finger-pointing and gesticulating towards the car’s instrument panel, accompanied by feverish Thai mutterings between driver and colleague, suggested something was amiss.

Without warning, the Driver stepped hard on the Merc’s gas pedal. We sped off at high speed through the traffic. I suspected it wasn’t the pressures of time that had prompted his change of heart. He must have realised his mistake in reading the gauges and surmised fuel was now perilously low.

Falsely thinking that accelerating and reaching the airport faster would prevent the car from running out of petrol, meant we were now overtaking every car on the highway, at breakneck speed. I gripped the armrest tightly with one hand and the Moth’s hand with the other.

Just hold on! the Moth mouthed at me silently.

After what seemed like an eternity, I saw the terminal of Bangkok International Airport loom ahead of us through the windscreen. If anyone had been listening in at that moment, they would have heard four very audible and loud signs of relief from both the front and the back seat of the old Merc.

We had arrived.

Join in with the Friendly Friday Challenge

Do you have a story or photograph or two to share?

Compose a post, be that photograph/s, story or recipe, with the theme, ‘On the way,’ somewhere – and include both the tag, ‘Friendly Friday’ and a url linking back to this post.

After publishing your post, return here and leave a comment with your post’s url. That way other visitors can find your post and visit.

Do Follow the Friendly Friday Challenge blogs: The Sandy Chronicles, and StPA for future prompts.

Remember this challenge runs for two weeks and you are encouraged to post once, twice or as many times as you like.

Sandy will be back on Friday 26th February with a new challenge.

85 thoughts on “Friendly Friday Blogging Challenge – On the Way”

  1. I enjoyed the story of being On The Way to the airport and could imagine the end of trip vibe (tan and all that) and the worry. The Merc experience was interesting and glad you made it

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Hi Yvette, Thanks for saying. It was fun re-living this memory through the story and yes I was thankful that it ended so well. I love how these young boys had fun with their task, even thought it was a little worrying at the time. I think we can learn a little something about keeping joy in our work – be the kid again – look at things simply and notice the small things like cassettes jumping out onto the floor and laugh. It teaches us not to take life too seriously, don’t you think?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. yes – i do think it helps us lighten up and enjoy more
        and i like hearing more about how you have changed and how you pondered whether to speak up
        then did
        little things like that really brought us into the memory

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Phew finally
    I know how you feel, many years ago we were also on our way to Bangkok airport and there was rioting in the streets, we were so relieved when we finally reached the airport

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh that must not have been fun, Alison. I do remember some rioting in Thailand being on the news. I can imagine what the Moth and I would have felt if we had have been there at that time. Was that in the city area?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Gosh, I was with you all the way as I read your story of the drive to the airport! I really thought your were going to run out of gas πŸ˜† As always, I’ll have a think and see what I can come up with πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I don’t know what would have happened if we had missed our flight. In all the years of travelling I have never missed a flight, probably because I am so paranoid about being there early in case of delays – just like this! I hope it doesn’t ever happen unless of course, that means I get stuck in my beloved Scandinavia for a bit longer! Lol!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m the same about getting to the airport very early, but that once nearly backfired on us. We were at Heathrow for a flight so early that we were too relaxed, sitting over breakfast, reading the paper etc. I just happened to glance at my watch and realised that we should have been boarding 15 minutes ago – and at Heathrow it can take 15 minutes just to walk to the gate from the departure lounge! We really had to move quickly – my husband can run better than I did so he went ahead to tell them we were coming while I puffed along behind πŸ˜† As I did I could hear them calling our names on the loudspeaker system! We made it, but we were those embarrassed people boarding after everyone else has already settled in their seats 😰 😳

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh gosh, I could actually see how that might happen, Sarah. I tend to hang around the boarding gate itself after a short wander in the shops to fill in time. That is the only way I can ensure I don’t have the same problem.
          A smaller bag dropped off my luggage trolley without my knowledge as I headed to the departure gate and the airport staff called my name over the loud speaker. I was utterly surprised. They told me I was lucky as they almost called the bomb squad!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. The problem with Heathrow is that they don’t announce the gate until a short while before boarding and as there are so many, in several different directions, all you can do is wait in the central hub. Maybe they want to keep you there where you might be tempted to spend money! Or maybe, less cynically, it’s because in such a busy airport they have to make last minute adjustments to gate allocations?

            Liked by 2 people

            1. No doubt the gates change at the last minute. What a mind-boggling task to manage such a busy airport. No wonder they have to chase up people. It reminds me of the old Japanese international airport terminal building at Narita. In 2004 it was a nightmare- just an endless sea of people and attendants walking around with placards with names searching for passengers. It is much more streamlined and larger now.

              Liked by 2 people

    1. The Mercedes may have been old but the petrol tank lasted at least til we got out of the car. It may be that the gauge was also old and there was more petrol in the tank than it showed, Laurie? A mechanic friend since told me that you cannot rely on gauges to be accurate once the fuel level gets below halfway. That is due to the shape of petrol tanks these days. They are not a rectangle or square but an odd irregular shape to fit around other components.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. That is right Ally, it was a worrying trip and it would have been horrendous to run out of petrol on that part of the highway. Not only was there no roadside assist in those days but anyone trying to reach us to help would have had to negotiate long stretches of traffic jams and we would have been sitting on the side of the road in 100 + degree heat for an extended period. Not fun.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Stories like this are funny now but hair rising at the time. Having survived, I’m always happy to chuckle about mishaps during travels abroad. Funny how a lot of them happen in cars and vehicles πŸ™‚

    I’m looking forward to the posts for Friendly Friday over the next two weeks!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. This post is filled with great memories and such beautiful, striking expressions. e.g. “My hand reached across the numerous cracks and wrinkles in the sweat-caressed leather upholstery.” This expression (and others like it) made me feel like I was right there with you. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That is very kind of you to comment on my writing, Donna. I do appreciate that feedback. I am aiming to improve my descriptive writing and mix history with fiction. Do you prefer writing non-fiction or fiction?

      Like

        1. It does not matter where you are. It is just a post you publish on your blog about your own adventures anywhere in the world that is in line with the theme that we post.

          Like

  6. I was sitting on the edge of my seat for that one, Amanda. What a great story. I did miss my flight once, and what a mess. I was at the airport 90 minutes early, and they closed the flight. It was right after 911 and they weren’t taking any chances that I or any of the rest of the poor folks in line after me might be a terrorist. I had to fly to Washington DC to the Reagan Airport, change my hotel, and get a ride the next day the 90 minutes across town to my meeting. On the way home they did think I was a terrorist and gave me the once over since I missed my flight going to DC. No photos, and no post though!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. My goodness, Amanda – your recollection of your journey to the Bangkok airport was harrowing! My heart was beating so hard from my own memories of too many of the same incidences, also in Bangkok, I might add. But now as I’m writing this, we’ve had this same anxiety in London as well. And given that Loving Husband is a stickler for leaving way before we need to be at the airport. Traffic will do that to you!

    Like

    1. I can imagine getting to Heathrow would require lots of planning ahead of time. Sophie from Lingo in Transit mentions a similar problem at Heathrow in getting to the gate on time. I hope it didn’t stress you too much to read this…. I guess I should take that as a kind compliment on me conveying emotion through my writing?

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