Bangkok Airport

I stood in the Bangkok airport with no plane ticket, no plan, and no personal belongings aside from the care package from my Mom that I picked up at the post office that morning. Gently chewing on my bottom lip, I scanned my exhausted mental space in search of an idea of how to get to Vientiane to renew my visa. Earlier that morning, I had taken a day trip to the big city from my rural University campus in Thailand. Half way through my luxurious urban getaway, I received a frantic phone call from the University Program Director with the news that my visa was set to expire the following day, and I had to leave the country immediately to renew it. Reluctantly spending 30% of my current monetary worth, I purchased a last minute seat on a plane to Laos, due to depart in 45 minutes. I landed in Vientiane. I cried. I scrounged up enough money to buy one can of beer.

The next morning in Vientiane I spent over four hours waiting to apply for my visa at the Thai Embassy. Around hour two I felt the unmistakable discomfort in my lower abdomen and felt the rising panic that I was seconds away from a serious bowel movement emergency. I barely made it to the restroom only to the horror that there was no toilet paper. In my squatting state of dismay I had the wherewithal to flip through the Cosmo magazine from the care package, and tear out pages I didn't want to read later. My sincere apologies to the Calvin Klein models.

After the bathroom trauma, another couple hours passed and my number was finally called. My application was just nearing the first pass when the attendant flipped through my passport to find that I had no full blank page for the Thai Visa. Oh man, you have to be kidding me. I was ordered to head to the US Embassy, apply for the extra pages ($100 fee) and return to the Thai Embassy the following day. I arrived at the US Embassy to find out that they only see people by appointment that can only be made online. In the classiest way I could muster up, I calmly said "I am going to freaking lose my mind if you don't let me through that door". Luckily, a nice middle aged America woman emerged through the door and told me to find a bank that would issue me $100 US dollars and return within the hour. I kind of felt like I was on the show Amazing Race, but I was alone, and I didn't apply to be on the stupid show, and there was no prize at the end, and all my friends and family were watching from their cozy American sofas laughing at my continuous misadventures.

So anyway, I got the extra pages, I recovered from the bathroom mishap, and treated myself to a gin and tonic in the lobby of the fanciest hotel I could find. I returned to the Thai Embassy the following morning and successfully got my visa, then returned to Thailand to continue the masters degree that seemed to me more full of life lessons than didactic sessions.

Some people dream of what it would be like to live an extraordinary life, but lately, I daydream of one, just one, ordinary day.

G Pritchard

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