Saturday 4 December 2010

Lounging round in Samui ...

If the greeting at the Business Class/ VIP lounge at Samui's cute little airport is not as warm as you might rightly expect, there's a good reason.

You see, the poor attendant there spends roughly three quarters of her time throwing freeloaders out of the lounge. No, not travel writers, I mean real free-loaders: punters hoping to scam a free meal or free internet or nice comfy sofa away from the madding crowds.

It's not that it's not clearly signposted as the VIP lounge. Yet backpackers who clearly have not showered or shaved in months nor spent more than 25 baht a night on accommodation walk up to the sliding doors with a look of entitlement in their eyes and a feeling of nourishment already in their bellies.

An array of bain-maries holds curry puffs and sticky rice among other delicacies.

'Mmmm, this looks great,' says an American next to me, piling his plate till it nearly interfered with the chandelier. Just then, the harried attendant returns to the lounge and asks him for his boarding pass. Economy class! See ya ...

Another unwashed couple walk up to the doors. with a quizzical look on their faces. Clearly they know they don't warrant entry Asia's Boutique Airline's lounge, but they try anyway. "Boarding pass please." See ya ...

And so it went. Time after time. The lounge attendant rolls her eyes. See ya ...

A ratio of 4 wannabes for every genuine Business Class passenger, jing jing!

With every eviction my sense of smugness reached cruising altitude. I tucked  into yet another bowl of special-order shrimp wonton soup. And another. This is great soup. Order a bowl. Order two bowls. It's worth the price of flying Business Class on Bangkok Airways alone.

But one thing that is available to all passengers at Samui airport, including the great unwashed, is the toilet block with its built-into-the-wall fish tank. Skittering tropical fish and the odd big janitor fish. A bit disconcerting to have that big sucker -- pun fully intended -- staring down at you at close quarters as you're trying to empty your bladder. 

Footnote: Stu Lloyd travelled to Samui with the assistance of Bangkok Airways.
(Photo above is of lounge at Bangkok airport, not Samui.)

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