I’ve made a couple of blunders on my travels, some I’ve not actually admitted to. But I’ve come to learn that it’s not about how or why you get yourself into a rut, because that’s inevitable. It’s about how you react in these situations and get yourself out of them..
Fresh on the scene, I’ve just landed in Bangkok feeling young brash and cocky. I’m now officially a backpacker, and i’m only going to get edgier. Actually, i’m pretty knackered, and the humidity has hit me like a train. But our bags are first out on the conveyor belt – so we swing them over our backs, high five and go outside to hail a Cab.
Despite the Thai cab driver being a lunatic, the hotel is only a short drive away. We came to a halt on the side of the motorway as the argument on the drivers phone stepped up a gear (pun not intended). We wasn’t sure if he even knew where he was going, but despite his erratic driving we managed to get there in one piece.
We ace our check in, eager to get changed and join those in the pool drinking beers. I knew I had packed my swimmers in one of the side pockets for easy access – smug with myself, i unzip the pocket.. but instead of my bikini I pull out a giant pair of knickers that certainly don’t belong to me. Confused i check the other pockets – more Bridget Jones knickers. Has an airport official searched my bag and placed the wrong items back?!
Frantically, i unfasten the buckles around the top of my backpack and open the main compartment – a box of jumbo tampons..Suddenly the reality hits me – it’s not my bag.What are the chances of someone else having the exact same backpack as me that is coincidentally the cheapest one in Millet’s? Apparently not that low.
We race back to the airport, with me in a total frenzy -i’m feeling like a total idiot – here i am self proclaiming to be miss independent, and i can’t even pick up my own bag from the airport. Definitely not going to tell my parents about this one (until they read this post).
Bangkok airport is huge, and panicking really doesn’t help whatsoever when you are trying to locate one out of tens of airline desks. We try to explain as best we can about the mix up to the pretty Thai stewardess, and wait anxiously whilst she makes a couple of phone calls.
‘Miss Ruth bag!!’ ‘you take Miss Ruth bag!!’ I try to explain that Miss Ruth (who clearly has some serious menstrual issues) has the same backpack as me, and that i had taken this bag by mistake, but the language barrier didn’t seem to give off any understanding. The bag is taken from me and two Thai security guards appear, asking for one of us to go with them – and one of us to remain at the desk.
Separated, in Thailand, hundreds of miles away from home in a corrupt country where i have potentially been mistaken for stealing someone elses bag. I wait at the desk chewing my arm off, for Simon to return for what feels like an eternity. Where have they taken him and will i ever see him again!? Okay drama levels are at 100 but my anxiety was generally through the roof. I had no phone to contact anyone, and no idea where i was – so all i could do was wait at the desk in the middle of the airport to find out what was going to happen.
Finally Simon returns with a smile that reads ‘you are a total idiot’ along with my actual backpack, I have never loved the contents of my bag – the few invaluable items i had with with me more than i could in that moment.
I never got to meet Miss Ruth, but i hope she packs her essentials in her hand luggage next time.