By Amornrat Sidhu
As the holidays approach, the travel bug begins to bite, and with Bangkok being a hot spot for domestic and international travel, many of us in the community have countless enchanting stories to tell. Yet, holiday bliss goes hand in hand with holiday blunders. Rather than focusing on what went right (we have Instagram for that), a few members of the Thai-Indian community share what went horribly wrong on their journeys in this light-hearted, relatable piece.
STEP ON THE GAS…
JAHNAVI DESHMUKH, TECHNOLOGY CONSULTANT, 29 YEARS OLD
Last summer, I took a trip with my family to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon was breathtaking. However, the drive there—a never-ending journey with a monotonous view of sandy land and tiny rock formations—was not. This was exactly why I gave the duty of driving us back to my dad. He failed to realise that we were low on gas until the car stopped moving! We were on a highway in the middle of nowhere, with no cell signal, and the nearest gas station was miles away!
I had a lot of ‘firsts’ that day. It was the first time I called 911 to try and convince them to rescue us, the first time I tried to get cars to stop on a random highway, the first time I felt like I was going to die on the very same highway as no one seemed to be stopping…
Finally, a driver in a pick-up truck stopped to help us. Luckily, he had a large container of gas that he kept for emergencies, so we were able to make it over to the next gas station. I remember feeling a strong sense of gratitude after the ordeal. I wouldn’t call this a near-death experience, but many things could have played out differently that day, and they didn’t. For that, I am very thankful!
THE LESSON LEARNED: APPRECIATE ALL THE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE AND THINGS AROUND YOU!
ANONYMOUS, SALES MANAGER, 28 YEARS OLD
We were traveling by train from the Czech Republic to Austria when, halfway into our seven-hour journey, my husband casually says, “I have to tell you something, but don’t react…”
Apparently, we forgot our passports in the safe in our hotel…in Prague! After discussing how we were going to enter a country without identification and a valid visa, I remembered that my sister was in Prague, and we were going to meet two days later anyway. She successfully collected and delivered the documents, but in those two passport-free days, my husband and I not only toured Austria, we also crossed over into Germany! We did not intend to waste a single day of our vacation and figured that if we did get questioned by authorities, we would find a way out. Luckily, there were no problems whatsoever!
THE LESSON LEARNED: SOMETIMES IT’S BETTER NOT TO PLAY IT SAFE!
A DAY OF DELAY
PREE CHAWLA, HOTELIER, 30 YEARS OLD
There are two flights to London from Bangkok on a daily basis—one at midnight and one at noon. My family’s original plan was to take the afternoon flight to London, transit in Heathrow for two hours, and then catch a flight to Glasgow at 8pm.
My excited father changed our tickets to the midnight flight, allowing us to depart 12 hours earlier, so we could land in London in the morning, and ideally reach Glasgow in the afternoon instead.
We figured out, after canceling our original tickets, that the only connecting flight to Glasgow was still at 8pm.
Therefore, to avoid a 12-hour transit at Heathrow, we decided to drive to Glasgow instead. Google Maps predicted that we would be in Glasgow at 3pm, but due to road closures from an accident, we were stuck in standstill traffic for five hours. We finally arrived in Glasgow at 9pm—only one hour before our original flight would have arrived!
THE LESSON LEARNED: PATIENCE IS THE KEY TO SMOOTH SAILING!
JASNAM SACHDEV, RECENT MOTHER, 29 YEARS OLD
Last Songkran, I travelled to the States with my sister and her two kids. It was a 24-hour journey consisting of two flights, a stopover, and two boys under the age of two. Both had no seats of their own. Both had to be constantly watched. Both had to be constantly held.
Mealtimes, in particular, were not fun. We had to put one baby in the bassinet, and the other on my lap. My nephew ate with me, trying to hold his own spoon, which only meant dropping food all over my pants…
Not to mention, we had one entire roller bag full of emergency necessities—diapers, wet wipes, changes of clothes—which was inconvenient. By the time we reached New York, we became experts at placating and entertaining two small boys whilst maneuvering within small, confined spaces!
THE LESSON LEARNED: YOU CANNOT RETURN YOUR NEPHEWS TO THEIR MOTHER WHEN YOU ARE ON A PLANE WITH THEM.
UH, DO I KNOW YOU?
RASHI BHATNAGAR, FOOD SCIENTIST, 27 YEARS OLD
When it comes to traveling, I enjoy exploring alone or with people I am close to. I seldom create to-do lists or itineraries, other than booking flights and accommodation. Once, a group of acquaintances and I spontaneously decided to make that ‘quick’ trip to Vegas. We booked hotel rooms for five people. Little did I know that we were going to be joined by five ‘friends of friends.’
Not only did I end up having to sacrifice my bed (which I paid for) for a ‘friend of a friend,’ I ended up caught in a fight between two hotheaded strangers in a bar, where my contact lens was punched out of my left eye. Even worse, I got my car totaled in an accident! Inevitably, I had to crash at a friend’s family home for some time, which delayed my trip back home, too.
THE LESSON LEARNED: STICK TO TRAVELING WITH PEOPLE YOU KNOW AND TRUST!
When the going gets tough, the tough get going. We manage the surprises and setbacks that come our way and, luckily, we are not deterred from traveling in the future!