I didn’t realize just how much losing your wallet can epically hamper your life.
And yes.. epically is a word, I just evented it.
As we lost in the 1st round of the baseball playoffs, it marked the end of my time in Prague, Czech Republic. As broke as this summer has left me, it was time grind poker very hard until I had enough money for a flight to Bangkok, the city I’ve planned to live in the next half year or so.
It 10 straight days of focusing long hours on Pokerstars and I had made enough for a one way flight and new apartment rent and deposit cost. If it wasn’t for my alcoholic ways, I might of been able to shave a couple of days off that total.
Last minute one way ticket from Prague to Bangkok, $434! Sweet Jesus, great deal. Normally the best price is $680-700ish. But fuck! I can’t book it, I lost my credit cards and atm cards when I lost my wallet. Okay, no big deal, I’ll find a friend to book it for me and ship him money. NO LUCK, everyone was gone or didn’t have a pokerstars account. CRAP! 24 hours later… ..
When I thought all hope was lost of snatching this sick last minute deal, my friend Pavel came to the rescue. We booked the flight and I was set to leave the next day early.
October 1st, Saturday 4:17am
It had marked 1 year since I left Las Vegas and now everything I owned was in a laptop bag and two suitcases waiting on the corner as the bus pulled into the stop. 1 hour later I arrived at the airport and was one of the first people to check in for my flight. No Money, Mo Problems
I hand the clerk at Aerosvit Airlines my confirmation number, passport and flight details, only to find that the flight wasn’t paid for! WTF? He tried to explain to me in broken English that my ticket was reserved, but I needed to pay for it. After 20 minutes of relentless arguing, I am pushed aside as new passengers approach the desk. Did Pavel’s credit card not go through?
Thinking back, I had lost out $100 the day before. We booked it on Cheapoair.com and at the last page, the credit card confirmation froze. Pavel was scared that it charged his card, but I got no confirmation email. We waited about 10 minutes then tried again, flight price went up from $434 to $530… crap… oh well bad beat, but we did get confirmation.
My cell phone had no time, I couldn’t call anyone, I use my laptop to check my email, sent Pavel a message if he could call me and double check my flight confirmations. I wait in line again… the clerk, who didn’t seem happy to see me, listened as I pleaded my case again and I showed him my email confirmations , however, he explained it didn’t matter because he computer showed different. If I wanted to fly, I would have to buy a new flight, $1,200.
My throat became dry, the pulse in my neck seemed to throb rapidly beyond my control. I did everything right, but I felt so helpless in this situation, it was 6am in the morning now, no one was awake, Pavel confirmed 100% with me the flight was booked and I already gave him my saved money. If I left now, would I lose my money? My only choice was to take a 1 hour bus back to Prague and grind poker for another week or two until I could purchase a new flight.
I cut through the people at the desk and leaned over to get the clerk’s attention, I asked to speak to a manager. The clerk asked for my passport and left. I’ve heard horror stories about people booking through 3rd parties having major problems at airports before, but in all of my traveling days, I never experienced anything like this. I hear my name in broken English off in the distance, I follow the clerk across the airport to a “Student Agency” desk. He leaves.
The lady sitting behind the glass nods in recognition as I rant about my situation. I wait patiently while she hammers way at her computer keyboard. ”Do you have a return ticket?” she ask. ”No, I don’t have a return ticket, I’m not coming back to Prague” She then explains that to go to Thailand I would need a ticket showing that I would be leaving from Thailand in 30 days. I tell her I’m taking a train to leave the country, I’ll be traveling all over South East Asia, I don’t have a plane ticket to leave because I haven’t decided where I’ll go, maybe Australia, maybe New Zealand. She prints out some documentation and sets in front of me, I begin to read it as she resumes typing away at her computer.
The printed sheet explains the rules for foreigners arriving in Thailand, and how you can be denied entry, I already knew this stuff, but never had a problem before. She then hands me a paper with some new numbers on it. ”Those are your flight numbers, take them back to the desk”
I return to check in and rudely by pass the line to see my “friend” at behind the clerk’s desk. He sighed as I handed him the papers. 60 Seconds later I had my boarding pass in hand and my 2 suitcases were floating down the baggage loading isle. 2,400 crowns? What? Clerk Jerk now said that I needed to pay him ($150) because my baggage was over the kilo limit. 25 kilos, the limit is 20 kilos, 600 crowns per extra kilo, he was doing me a favor because he is only charging me 4 kilos instead of 5. No way, I told him to get my bags, I could easily remove 4-5 kilos that would be well less than $150 value.
However, my bags were already gone down the shoot, we starred at each other in silence for about 30 seconds, seemed a lot longer. ”fine” he said, “just go” WTF I thought. I shook his hand thanks and headed to the security gate.
Seriously though… WTF? I wonder if they ever pocket that money? And $35 per extra Kilo, that seems steep. I wonder if its even a legit fee? Such a stress morning so far, but the worst was yet to come.
I had been in Prague for 5 months without making a visa run or without paying for an extention. I was 2 months overstay and wasn’t sure what my fate would be. As I walk towards the passport control desks, I look at my options : An older man with thinning hair, a 20′s girl with brown hair, and a
I hand over my passport and try to breathe normally but my body seems to be holding my breath in uncontrollably. After flipping through it back and forth a few times, she becomes fixated on my arrival date. ”When did you arrive in Prague?” she questioned. ”I messed up” I explained. “I got here May 9th, 5 months ago, but I have traveled to several other countries thinking that I was able to do that, but I just realized a few days ago that I wasn’t allowed to do that” she responded. “Which countries, do you have proof?” I didn’t have proof, just showed her my Budapest Hostel shirt I intentionally wore for this encounter and explained how time just flew by as I traveled between hostels and drank a lot of beer.
I was allowed through with no fees! Something was going right, I had read about similar situations in the past that had resulted in bans from the country and 200+ Euro fines before you could ever return.
13 hours and 2 flights of no sleep later. I landed in Bangkok. The Joneses is a good movie by the way. I really enjoy Californication and David’s part in this was similar. Now… just a few more stressful steps to get through before I can relax and sleep.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I handed over my passport to the security at customs control. Was not having a return flight going to bite me in the ass? I had just spent 8 months in Thailand before Prague, was that going to be a problem? I didn’t apply for any Visa, just showed up, would that be okay?
Passport Stamp! No Questions, done and done.
Now all I had to do was exchange the little cash I had left into Thai Baht and then buy a cab over to my new apartment.
If only it was that easy! They do not take Czech Koruna at the airport. In Fact, they don’t take Czech Crowns anywhere in Thailand! No Thai Money, No Credit Card, No ATM card, No Wallet. AND… i realized my sim card was also in my lost wallet, so I can’t even use my phone in Thailand anymore. The worst part of it is, its 3:30am, I don’t know many people in BKK and they wouldn’t be awake right now anyway.
I grab my suitcases from baggage claim and sit down on a bench in defeat. I just want to sleep. Sleep for 10 hours, I lean back and close my eyes. I drift away into the dream world, my mind floating through space into a never ending existence and a new reality.
I have an idea, I log into my computer and check for WiFi, bingo. I get online and as luck would have it find Quinn, my friend who lives in the same apartment complex I am moving into. He agrees to help me, I take the taxi to the apartments and pay the driver when I arrive.
Welcome to Bangkok! May new and exciting adventures await.