"Thrilling" Thailand

Review by: Lakshmanan Ramanathan

I am a public sector executive, living in Delhi with my wife and daughter. An engineer by profession, I have a passion for writing.

Destination: Bangkok and Pattaya

3

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Curious queries (read inclusions and exclusions) to the travel agent, intriguing Google searches to know the destination, multiple searches on food and weather conditions at the destination, continuous grasp on the reviews on the destination, rigorous preparatory discussions with friends & family, and a continuous count down towards the d-day, as any other typical Indian family, we went through all these and more of excitement even before our first international family trip began. Three, two, one and …. The d-day was ‘ON’ us.
International terminal, Forex and the immigration clearance let us on board. Oh I should not delay any more to reveal the destination. It was none other than Pattaya and Bangkok. On arrival Visa and a three hour drive from the Bangkok airport led us to Pattaya. Wait. Though we visited the following places (yes. We have proved it by posting pictures on Facebook & Whatsapp and getting double digit likes), I am not going to tell you about the Alcazar show, coral island tour, the Gems gallery, the Noong Nooch Island, reclining Budha, Safari World Park, the Dolphin show or the boat cruise. If I review these destinations, it will become yet another review, probably the 9979809898808th on the web.
After visiting the customary tourist spots of Pattaya, we were back to Bangkok and were checking into our hotel. The receptionist asked for our passports. I picked it from my bag and handed it over to her. Oh! What is special about this to write it about? Yes. It there is. We were three of us. But there were only two passports. Yes. My daughter’s passport was missing. I understood the real meaning of one word ‘Shock’.
Looking at each other’s face, pointing out each other’s mistakes, hard search through all the bags and pockets, umpteen attempts to find it from the empty cover that was carrying the other two passports – all these were in vain. Having lost something which can neither be borrowed nor be purchased even from the widest of the markets in Bangkok, we were in soup. Consider it as reptile soup, as we were in Thailand!!!
Eight year old daughter, my wife, two passports and three return tickets for all of us (for the early morning flight) and few bags of luggage have and lots of anxiety and shock. This was all I was surrounded with. At one point of time, we even started working out logistics as to when each of us will reach India and with whom! I can’t even search anywhere else as the last place we left was Pattaya, which is 3 hours away. This was one of those situations where it feels better to have a ginger spiced tea at your couch rather than being in the midst of the Bangkok‘s streets or the best beaches & museums of the world. A bollywood climax like scene. I am the villain, my wife and daughter were the audience. You know what audience does to a villain!!
All corners of my mind together confirm that I have not left the passport at the Pattaya Hotel. Nevertheless, no other option being left out, we called the Pattaya Hotel. The receptionist talked on my behalf. The receptionist at the other end (Pattaya hotel) took some to understand our query; however the conclusion was nothing less than bollywood movie, as she confirmed that she was having my daughter’s passport. I was still not able to believe how left behind the passport. But that could never be a reason to hold on things. The formalities were worked out; a driver carried the passport and handed it over to us at Bangkok. Now, I realized the meaning of another word ‘Relief’. Until now, I was cross checking and counting the passports every hour. After this incident, I increased the frequency to half an hour. One, two, three... 1, 2, 3… 1, 2, 3… More than what they spell in kinder garden..
Now, we had all reasons to enjoy Bangkok and its places. We had time, money, two eyes, and most importantly my daughter’s passport with us.
I suppose very few would have to gone around Bangkok with this mindset.
I am back in India. Thanks to the bollywood climax, we had a near miss from being a shabby trip. Now my daughter is with me. Her passport as well. Now, I think twice rather thrice, before planning an abroad trip. May be if some country allows to come as well as go out without passport, that would be my first choice!!!
Leaving behind the passport story (not the passport itself!!), we had reasonable ‘excitement’ and ‘amusement’ at these places, It would be only for this review, if I say use the words ‘fantastic’, ‘fabulous’, ‘wonderful’, … to describe our trip. As such there is nothing wrong with the destination. However, the way we chose a destination often determines the success of our trip. How do we choose a destination? When my cousin visits Amsterdam, it becomes my next target destination. When my neighbor visits Dubai, it turns to be my summer vacation destination. When my colleague talks about his South African trip, I get triggered. When my child sees her classmate’s Australian snaps on facebook, Australia gets on to my list.
I am not against going abroad or any other place nor keeping your passport safe!! Only suggestion is that the choice of destination be based on our needs and interests and not on peer pressure.

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