I matched with this girl on Tinder in Singapore. I didn’t live in Singapore at the time and as it turned, out neither did she. By the time we started talking I was back in Kuala Lumpur and she was back in Bangkok.
She told me she was half Thai, half French. I had no idea what she looked like. She had one of those very unhelpful Tinder bios, but I was swiping right quite indiscriminately at the time and she seemed interesting enough in our conversations.
It was Halloween on Saturday, so I asked her what her plans were for Halloween.
No plans, she said.
“No plans?” I shot back. “Let’s get dinner then.”
There was a pause for several minutes. Then she sent me a link to an event - Dine in the Dark Bangkok at the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit. “Let’s do this,” she suggested. “ I’ve always wanted to go.”
It was Wednesday. My passport was at the US embassy getting a new visa stamp.
“If I get my passport back by Friday,” I typed. “I’m down.”
I got my passport back on Friday, but I had a Halloween party at a friend’s place in Kuala Lumpur that night and that was where I passed out.
I woke up at noon on Saturday to a text: “Did you get your passport back?”
Did I really agree to have dinner with a complete stranger in a different country? I started making excuses. It’s already noon, I don’t have a plane ticket, getting from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok in time for dinner would be physically impossible, we barely know each other this is kind of crazy right?
“I really wish,” she wrote. “I had the chance to feel this crazy every day.”
Hm. I was just talking about how this person barely knew me, but she was doing an amazing job of appealing to the type of person I wanted to be. But there was no way. I couldn’t do it. I was trying to figure out how to let her down gently when she sent me another text.
“I’ll be in the lobby at 9. Don’t be late.”
“Becca!” I called out to my friend. “I’ll pick up my lightsaber on Sunday! I’m going to Bangkok.” I tried to book a flight on my phone, but the flight I’d been looking at had disappeared. Turns out you can’t buy a ticket online if the plane leaves in less than two hours. Well the airport was about an hour away, so… Challenge accepted.
I drove to the airport, trying to figure out it would cost to leave my car in the airport parking lot for 24 hours. I ditched my car in the parking lot and went straight to the ticket counter like, “Get me on the first flight to Bangkok.”
Lady behind the counter doesn’t bat an eye - one hour later I was in the air. The flight from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok lasts roughly two and a half hours. I landed, cleared immmigration, and took the train straight to… H&M. Because I didn’t have any clothes that were appropriate for a fancy dinner at the Sheraton.
New clothes in hand, I head to the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit, where the dinner is. It’s 8. I go to the counter and get a room. I get ready for dinner. It’s 9. I go down to the lobby. She’s not there.
She arrives at 9:15. Late. She greets me with a kiss on both cheeks, European-style. I’m just relieved that she’s a real person, but I know what you’re all wondering. Yes, she was cute.
It’s dinnertime. For those of you who have never heard of it, Dine in the Dark is an experience where you… Dine in the dark. The kind of the dark where you can’t see your hand in front of your face. In some places, waiters and waitresses with night vision goggles bring the food to your table and guide your hands to the silverware. At the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit they don’t bother with that kind of foolishness. They just employ blind people.
I know. How cool is that?
Dinner was great. Even better, she insisted on paying for everything. “You came all this way,” she said. After dinner we went for a drink at a Bangkok institution called Maggie Choo’s, which I would highly, highly recommend if you’re ever in Bangkok. Now I actually have a couple of friends who have their pictures on the wall at Maggie Choo’s under “Do Not Serve”… But that’s a different story. The night ended shenanigan-free, we just killed an entire bottle of wine and headed back to the Sheraton.
The next morning I asked her about her Sunday plans. My flight back was in the afternoon. She had some family obligations. Wouldn’t be abe to hang out.
“That’s too bad,” I said, getting ready to say goodbye.
“Yeah,” she paused. “Wanna have dinner with my parents?”
So I called the airline and changed my return flight to Monday. But I didn’t want to stay at the Sheraton for another night. This first date was getting kind of expensive. “Any ideas?” I asked her, hoping for the name of a hostel or an Airbnb or something.
“What about the W? It’s really cute.” “Oh great idea.”
So a night the W turned out to be even more expensive than a night at the Sheraton, but she was right there, so I booked it. It was really cute.
That evening I went to her house and met her parents, who turned out to be extremely easy to get along with.
“So you flew all the way to Bangkok just to have dinner with Amandine?” her mother asked as we were driving to dinner. “Yes I did,” I responded, and she made this “hm” sound that was half approving, half impressed.
We had a wonderful dinner at a Thai restaurant, the next day we parted ways and I flew back to Kuala Lumpur.
HOW DOES IT END?