For our third installment, we talked to Nut and Maprang, two best friends who embarked on a very interesting journey to their first Comic-Con in San Diego, California, this summer. Read about their saga here.
Why did you want to go to Comic Con?
Maprang: We are fans of Big Bang Theory and the characters were always talking about getting tickets to Comic Con. I didn’t know what it was at the time so I wanted to find out. And I quickly found out that the event is basically for us.
Nut: We’re not comics fans but we’re huge T.V. series and movies fans and Comic Con has over the years expanded beyond comics. But there are still people who go there strictly for the comics.
How did you plan your trip?
N: You have to have an ID first, and you will use this ID to book your ticket later. When it was close to the booking date, they emailed you and you would need to log in with this ID to get into the “Waiting Room”.
M: Once you’re in the Waiting Room it doesn’t mean you can buy tickets right away. Everyone will get randomly picked to go onto the next stage to buy the tickets. We were both home at the time and keeping our fingers crossed.
N: When we were waiting to be selected it was so stressful as we could see the tickets being sold in front of us. And once we were selected, we had to pick which day we would like to attend and we had to do it without knowing who or what movies or series would be at the panel on that day. But we had some ideas judging from the movies that were being promoted that summer.
And you went to Los Angeles first?
N: We decided on the Bangkok-Los Angeles flight as it was cheaper than a flight to San Diego. Plus, from L.A. we could drive to San Diego.
M: It was my first time in the U.S. After I landed, I took a taxi without knowing how it’s really done in the U.S. The driver wanted me to pay cash and demanded a tip as well. I didn’t know how tipping works in the U.S. so I just asked him how much he wanted. It was late and I just landed! So I overpaid.
N: So much happened to us while in L.A. We rented a car and I didn’t know how to drive on the right side so I punctured the tire. We then had to go back to the car rental center at the airport to get the tire changed. Even worse, after we drove back and stopped at a restaurant for dinner, our windshield was smashed within an hour.
M: But it was more like a prank than a theft since the car wasn’t broken into. So we had to go back to the airport again and also to a police station. I never thought I would have this experience.
N: The 911 dispatcher was very calm when she picked up the phone it sounded like this happened regularly.
M: And the police were not like in the action movies at all. They just asked questions and gave us a form to fill. In the movies it always seems so much more exciting at the police station.
Finally at Comic-Con. What was your experience at the event?
N: The event is massive and the Hall H panel that everyone wanted to see because of all the big name movies and celebrities was as big as our Impact Arena. It also wasn’t easy to get into Hall H. Having a ticket doesn’t mean you can get into the hall.
M: But we still had hope!
N: We had to get in line to get a wristband the day before the actual day of the panel we wanted to see. We wanted to go on Saturday so we had to get the wristbands on Friday, which they started distributing at 9pm.
M: But we didn’t know that people had started queuing since 8am! So we just hung about that day.
N: We thought we still had time so we went to see other Friday panels such as Big Bang Theory, iZombie, Dominic Cooper. So we thought, “Oh, this wasn’t as crazy and complicated as we were told.”
M: But we were wrong…
N: We went to the Hall H line at 5pm and asked them where the end of the line was and one of the staff pointed all the way down the street.
M: The line just went on and on and on. We kept walking and it kept going!
N: We stood in line from 5pm until 2am when we found out the last wristband was given out just 50 persons ahead of us.
M: There were 6,500 wristbands, so who would have thought they would run out?
N: That night we went home at 3am and came back out again at 6am as we were told some people are allowed into the hall if they come and wait in line early in the morning.
M: But then it was like the night before as some people didn’t even go home, they camped in front of Hall H since 3am the previous night.
N: In previous years they would let people without the wristbands in if others leave the hall during panels. But this year, the panels included DC Comics, Warner Bros., Marvel, Star Trek so no one left!
What was your biggest regret?
M: When we were waiting in front of the Hall H, two girls next to us were reading tweets from people inside the hall who said Eddie Redmayne from the movie Fantastic Beasts was handing out wands to all the fans! I was devastated.
N: And on Friday while we were waiting to get the wristbands, on Twitter people were saying that those who were in front of the line were greeted by Benedict Cumberbatch who cheered them on and even gave them pizza!
M: I couldn’t take it. I never read tweets from this Comic Con again. I would cry.
And what surprised you the most about this trip?
M: The people definitely. Everyone is so nice. Like the people at the car rental center who took very good care of us and expressed real concern for us.
N: When we told people we were from Thailand they all asked how our experience in the U.S. was. Everyone laughed when I told them about what happened to us but then they apologized for laughing.
M: We didn’t meet anyone who wasn’t nice. The people who were in line with us were all nice and friendly.
N: So it was actually fun 15 hours in the queue.
M: I am also impressed with the food. The price is about the same as a plate of food in Thonglor or Ekkamai but the portions are massive. It will take you three days to finish it. So it didn’t seem as expensive.
Will go you back?
N: Yes we have to go back and tackle this again.
M: We will plan better next time.