Written on July 17
So now on to Thailand.
Chloe had planned to travel upon finishing her volunteering, while I hadn’t planned anything. At all.
It had occurred to me before my trip that I was going to Asia. There were countries in Asia. Maybe I should stop at a couple of these countries.
That’s where the thought ended.
But while being in Cambodia for a month, I met people passing through the guesthouse who literally slapped me across the face for not booking a flight to a neighboring country.
Truth be told, it was Goff (Gregarious) who convinced me. He made me feel like an idiot for staying in Cambodia. –(G: Where are you traveling? M: Oh, you know, I usually just stay in Manhattan most of the time. Sometimes Yonkers if I’m feeling particularly unruly. G: I mean, in Asia. Silence.)
So, after Chloe shot me a couple of ideas, which I barely heard over the sound of The Parent Trap playing in my headphones while simultaneously reading my single, prized issue of US Weekly, I nodded obliviously, to which she responded—“Okay, I’ll look for flights.” And that’s how, in a team effort, we decided on Thailand.
Two weeks later, our volunteering ended, and I booked a flight to Bangkok, (which I had heard was the capital of Thailand or something) and watched Chloe meticulously fold and refold every article of clothing she brought into a newly-acquired backpackers’ backpack deluxe. And on the following day, I haphazardly threw my clothes (that didn’t have orphanage stains all over them, and then, why not, even the ones that did) into my suitcase an hour before the flight, and hopped on the tuk-tuk, headed toward the airport.
The line to check in was long, but I wasn’t worried. We still had 40 minutes to go before the plane was to take off. Listen, trust me, I’ve traveled enough in my lifetime to know that nothing can ever go wrong. Especially with such trustworthy airlines as Air Asia, budget airline extraordinaire.
Chloe was checked in immediately–her suitcase was one kilo under the limit, whereas I was three kilos above (story of my life, am I right?). Whatever, no worries. Chloe took care of it right away, and she placed the newly-lightened suitcase back on the scale.
I handed my Mexican passport to the attendant, sweetly smiling. “Miss, your visa?” She inquired. I shot her a look of death. “My WHAT?” I snarled, baring my teeth. “You need visa for Thailand with Mexican passport.” Chloe hadn’t needed a visa. Why was I being discriminated against for being Mexican? So I like to kick back a taco or two from time to time, so sue me.
But if you refer back to one of our first posts, readers, you’ll recall that I am the proud proprietor of two passports.
“What about French passport?” I said as I whipped it out. She immediately flashed me the Cambodian equivalent of a two-thumbs-up: a giggle and a “Yes, please,” combo.
I sighed a sigh of relief. And then: “Miss, your passport expire in 5 months. You need expire 6 months for Thailand.”
She turned to her boss, a Cambodian Air Asia manager, and presumably explained to him the issue at hand. The color immediately drained from his face and he looked at me with a pained look of disbelief. “Oh, my God,” the Cambodian man said in a Cambodian accent, “I think you can’t go to Thailand.”
“But it expires in FIVE months! That’s ALMOST six months! And I’ll only be in Thailand for a couple of weeks!”
“Oh, my God. Oh, my God,” he repeated. I truly think there’s a chance that this was the worst thing that the man had ever heard of happening, “Oh. My God.” Then he closed my passport, handed it back to me, and called the next passenger in line. That was it. He was through with me.
“THE FLIGHT LEAVES IN THIRTY MINUTES!” I said exasperatedly. The man looked at me, “Oh, my God.”
Cut to the chase—I managed to get him to call Air Asia Thailand and ask if they’d let me in the country one month shy of expiration. They immediately conceded. I grabbed my carry-ons, threw Chloe over my shoulder, and ran through security, just in time for boarding.
But then in line to board, I realized I was unbelievably parched. I had to get something to drink. And if I missed my flight because of hydration reasons, at least they were worthy reasons. So I moseyed over to a nearby snack stand and purchased a refreshing beverage.
But then I saw Chloe standing patiently at the gate, and realized she had been such a good sport during my flight booking-suitcase packing-baggage checking-visa expiring fiasco. I at least owed her a bag of potato chips. So I purchased a bag of those as well, and then—finally—made it to the gate.
But then Chloe saw the flavor of potato chips I got for her (inadvertently). And she didn’t mean to be picky, but, like. They were “Alaska Crab Curry” flavored. Can you think of a less appealing chip flavor? Than Alaska Crab Curry? When you’re on an airplane in Cambodia?
So then I ran back to the snack stand, traded the chips for a bag of four cookies, and finally. Finally. Made it to the flight.
I wonder what language they speak in Thailand.