Couple finally home after being stranded in Thailand


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(Draper, Utah) A Draper couple finally arrived home Sunday from Thailand after getting stranded for nearly a week. Lois and Kevin Salmon certainly didn't expect to come home with a story like this.

"I think some of the best words I heard were when we entered into the United States and passed through customs, and they said, ‘Welcome home,'" Lois said.

Kevin and Lois left for Thailand to visit relatives on November 16 and were supposed to come home on Thanksgiving. That never happened. Demonstrators occupied the airports, demanding the nation's prime minister be removed from office.

The demonstration stranded an estimated 350,000 foreigners, including the Salmons.

Lois said, "We couldn't get through to airlines. We couldn't get through to travel services, and that's when we started to get a little concerned."

Since the U.S. government wasn't flying out any citizens, they had to find their own way out, even though their family back home wanted them to wait it out.

Their daughter, Jamie Bailey, said, "We of course worried about it, but there really wasn't any stopping them."

So the Salmons trekked from Bankok to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, by eight different vehicles in two days.

"They transferred us to the bus. When we got as far as the bus would go, we got in the back of a pickup truck," Kevin said.

And it kept getting worse. When the Salmons arrived at a motel near the Cambodian border, they couldn't believe their eyes. "The toilet seat was on the floor. There was a frog in our bed, not in our bed but in our bathroom. There were bugs all over," Kevin said.

But once they saw how most Cambodians lived, they were just thankful to have shelter for the night.

They eventually made it to the airport, flying from Cambodia to Korea to Japan to Los Angeles and finally to Salt Lake City.

So how'd they get through it? "Humor. You have to just take the situations as they come," Lois said.

Though they say they'd go back, right now there are more important things, like getting a good night's sleep.

Thailand's main airport reopened Friday and the prime minister was banned from politics for five years.

E-mail: ngonzales @ksl.com

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