“They’re saying you need your passport.”
“Don’t you have a copy?”
“Yeah, but they need your visa page.”
“Some stupid COVID thing.” I turned away from talking to the BF, back to the front desk clerk. “I promise you he hasn’t left the country in three years.”
“Sorry, it’s the policy of the government.”
I start scrolling through my phone, my mind problem solving rather than questioning the bureaucratic bullshit.
Later, after I get my hands on an electronic copy to give to the hotel, and we’re in our room, I say to him, “I didn’t think they’d need your passport.”
“Me, either. If I would have thought about it, I would have brought it. Whenever I travel with someone I go on autopilot.”
Normally, I’d be annoyed by that statement, but we’ve been together long enough that I know that I’m the planner and he’s not.
In fact, I don’t think I could trust myself to let him take the reins. Isn’t that horrible?
To plan or not to plan: That’s really not a question.
I’m not an over-planner. I don’t create an itinerary or anything like that. Well, I do if I’m visiting Chiang Mai because we have friends we want to see, but if it’s a city I haven’t been to before, then no. I visualize an outline for the day, and I may or may not plan where to eat. Okay, I know what you’re thinking, but truly, I’m not like Effie from The Hunger Games. [But you know what? I appreciate her efficiency.]
I can’t show up and look for a room. I have, but I’d rather not waste my time doing that. Even in Asia, where the hotel lobby is not an accurate reflection of what you’ll be getting. Even in Asia, where you might be astounded to see that your pre-booked hotel is next to a massive construction site. Even in Asia, where photos and price do not match the reality.
Getting lost. Over or underrated?
When I was traveling in Austria with my family, it was challenging changing hotels, catching trains, and even visiting museums with my brother, sister-in-law, mother, and two young nephews, and baby niece. At that time, Donovan hadn’t quite mastered waiting until a toilet which as you can imagine (oh, please do), created a mess both logistically and literally.
The craziest moment occurred when we were out in the city exploring, and Big D had an accident. My brother immediately hailed a taxi and took off back to the hotel without any of us knowing it. No phones, no contact, just pure adrenaline and in-the-action doing while we walked up and down the street trying to solve the mystery of the missing boys. Then! Trying to figure out how to get back to the hotel as we were hopelessly lost.
They say getting lost is fun and a must-do, but it’s stressful especially when children are involved. These days our phones make things easier. [Why have I just now downloaded Google translate?] But I still operate like I don’t have one because I traveled for so long without it. In fact, I sometimes forget to use it – kind of like my great aunt who has a tiny notebook with phone numbers rubber-banded to her phone – old habits are hard to quit.
Over easy or hard-boiled?
I’d like to say I’m pretty easygoing, but I’m not as easygoing as my mom. She’s pretty amazing, patient, never complains, goes where you want to go, doesn’t have an agenda or ego in the game. When we were in Las Vegas attempting to share a bed together with my friend, she offered to sleep on the floor, Thai-style. I forbid it, but couldn’t imagine my first-generation American butt on the floor either so we all slept like sardines that night.
Unfortunately, I go from hungry to hangry in under three seconds and have had to learn the hard way to carry snacks and deal with my hunger quickly rather than keep looking for a restaurant that looks good. My decision making abilities drop down to nonexistent and my partner has had to learn how to treat me like the petulant child I seem to become.
Two minds but one road
During the early days in our relationship we traveled to Sukhothai for Songkran (the Thai New Year). If you aren’t aware, it’s known as the water-splashing festival or countrywide water fight. Sukhothai is known for its UNESCO World Heritage Site housing 193 ruins from the 13-14th centuries.
We took a bus to the ruins, rented bikes, and had a great day taking photos and exploring the park. But apparently I got ‘hungry at him’, eventually though we found some noodles to calm my nerves and decided it was time to head back into the city. Traffic was also starting to get backed up since folks were getting ready to ‘play water’ around town.
However, we soon discovered that all transport back into the city had stopped. After stunned silences and deliberations we decided there was nothing we could do but walk back. Traffic by then was practically at a standstill as many revelers were splashing around from the back of pickup trucks and other vehicles. We walked by them all, often easy targets as we gave in to the water guns, buckets, and powder. Yes, baby power of various colors are also popular forms of ‘blessings’. Thais came right up to us and spread the goo on our faces.
Our first fight was unequivocally beaten out of us as we dragged our soaking wet asses 12km back to the new city. We laughed over our plight and were grateful that the road had widen considerably and was flat and straight. When we were on the outskirts, we finally were able to hail a motorbike taxi who took us back to our hotel.
How do you travel? 😉 What kind of traveler are you?