I was super excited to be travelling outside the country, we were flying off to Bangkok and then Phuket for a holiday. This was my first international trip.
Now, the story goes back to 8 years. I was working in Leo Burnett and my husband was working in…. Let me think, hmmmmm, I really can’t recall where was he working because he has changed so many advertising agencies in his career. We can skip the details, that’s not important. So, we had taken one week off from work to travel across the continent to Thailand.
The first pit stop; Bangkok, the first thing which stuck me when we landed in the city was, no, it was not beautiful Ladyboys, it was the colourful taxis. In my life, I had never seen magenta coloured taxis, the only colours I associated with taxi was yellow and black but here they were so vibrant, flashy and lively.
The second thing which I noticed was that everybody was happy and respectful or at least they appeared so. The ‘Swadhika’ (Namastae in Thai) was really warm and long.
Third exceptionally unique experience was the street-food, it was different from what I have ever had or experienced in my life. For me street food was Dhai Bhalla, Chat, Papri, Gol Gappa, you get the drift? I am a Delhi girl. And here, the hawkers were selling deep-fried cockroaches, snails, squids, lobsters, fish, earthworms and all other kind of exotic and routine insects. Some of them were selling delicious smelling fresh fruits, there was a fruit which looked like an octopus and the name did justice to it’s looks, Dragon fruit. And some of the hawkers were selling Beers, Vodka and all kind of Cocktails on the street. So, you can pick up a Beer can while crossing a street, gulp it down and grab a taxi.
Fourthly, everybody around was beautiful. Some of them were very exotic looking and unbelievingly perfect. Obviously, I didn’t know the concept of Ladyboys back then.
It was our first trip and I was very hyper and anxious about security, money, passport and everything else. So, I asked, Az to hand over his passport to me as I had little faith in his ability to keep them safe. He being a reckless, creative guy was not to be trusted with anything. He is the kind who forgets that he is having his tea while drinking it and gets another cup made while he leaves the full cup in the garden. Obediently, he handed over the same to me and I neatly secured them in my hand bag, which I protected with my life in rest of the trip.
Bangkok trip was super fun and the time flew in seconds and we packed our bags for Phuket.
At the Bangkok airport, there wasn’t any security check any where. In fact, there wasn’t any security check anywhere in the country, malls, restaurants, hotels, airports, any other public places, you can just walk in like you own it. And it made me realise that how we are treated like dacoits and terrorist in our country. Number of security scans and bag scans we go through can give us serious horrible diseases.
We boarded a domestic flight called Air Asia and happily landed in the island airport. The view was breathtaking, literally because the airstrip was really small, one inch here and there we could have landed in the water.
We collected our bags and headed to the beautiful hotel ‘Amari’, as we were checking in the hotel, standing in the lobby, we realised, we don’t have our passports. The passports which I have secured in my handbag with utmost care had gone missing.
I was panic-stricken, the moment was a nightmare coming true. In my wildest dream I had never imagined, I, who was so responsible, meticulous and planned was capable of losing the passports. I have always been disciplined, bordering towards OCD and I still lost them.
Hotel staff was kind enough to let us lodge with just the photo copy of the passport. We went to the police station and filed the complaint. I till date don’t know what they wrote in the report as I didn’t understand a word they said since they were speaking in Thai language.
I was in turmoil and grief-stricken and the irresponsible, reckless Az in control, calm and composed. After a day, we found out that I had left the passport in the Air Asia flight and the flight had taken them back to Bangkok where they were deposited in ‘Lost and Found’ department at the airport.
The good thing about Thailand was that we could actually travel across the country with just the photo copy of the passport with quite an ease, without being questioned. Though we had a FIR report with us but largely they trusted our words or so we believed.
It was my first international trip and it actually turned out to be as adventures as I feared.