Apr 16, 2014

Originally I was going to go to Singapore only because I had found a cheap flight out of there to Bali.   When I cancelled my Bali leg the trip to Singapore became unnecessary.

I debated for awhile whether I should still go there or not.   I had heard it was expensive and there wasn’t much to do.

I had extra time though so I figured, what the hell, I’ll go for a couple of days on my way to Kuala Lumpur and then to my final destination of Japan.

I again had Andy at the hostel arrange for a taxi to pick me up and drive me to the airport this morning.   Door to door service actually costs an additional 20 baht (80 cents) on top of what the meter says.   As I would soon find out – this was 20 baht well spent…

The taxi picked me up at 6:45am and we arrived at the airport just before 7:30am – plenty of time to checkin and go thru immigration for my 9:30am flight.

Well… maybe not…

I pulled out my wallet and paid the taxi driver the fare of 240 baht with a combination of 180 baht (the last thai money I had left) and 2 US Dollars which is the equivalent of 60 baht.

I was happy he took the US dollars because otherwise I would have had to break the 1000 baht note I’ve been carrying around that was supposed to be used to buy the flowers from a certain little girl in Phuket.

I’ve been reluctant to spent that 1000 baht even though it’s worth about $30 just because I feel like it’s special and if I do spend it, it will be on something significant.

Crazy, I know, but that’s where my mind’s been at the last little while.

Anyway, after paying the driver I headed inside the ginormous airport.   Seriously – this thing is huge!

I entered the door for counters K and L.   Of course my airline – Jetstar – was booking at counter E.

Waaaaaay down there…

So I took a stroll on down to counter E, checked in and went through security and immigration.

As it turns out, this wouldn’t be the only time I went through immigration at the Bangkok airport today…

The gate I was boarding at was, once again, a long walk to the other side of the terminal.   I walked over and stopped at the food court first.

Time for breakfast.

After going from place to place I finally decided on getting a club sandwich with egg made on pretzel bread at a pretzel stand.

It actually looked really good and the price seemed reasonable (well, by airport standards anyway).

As I walked up to the counter I went to take my wallet out to get my credit card out to pay…


No wallet!

I pulled myself out of line and sat nearby where I proceeded to pull my backsack apart taking everything out of every pocket and compartment.

Yup, no wallet…

Well, this is an interesting predicament…

I didn’t panic and I tried to think of things rationally.

I definitely had my wallet when I paid the taxi driver so I either left it in the cab or someone snagged it out of my open zipper pocket when I had briefly left it open when I took my camera out to take a photo in the airport.

I was really crossing my fingers I had left it in the taxi.   Since I had thankfully booked the taxi through the hostel, I knew Andy would be able to call the driver and ask him.

I just had to find a phone to make a local call.

Easier said than done in an airport.   Lots of phones for international calls but I actually had to go down 2 levels to find a phone for local calls.

With the help of one of the girls behind the nearby information desk I was able to call Andy.

He said he would call the taxi company and I should call him back in 10 minutes.

I hung up and spent the next 10 minutes playing out the possible outcomes in my head.

It was 8:40am and my flight was leaving at 9:25am.   I had 45 minutes.   Well, realistically only 30 minutes cause I’m pretty sure the gates close earlier than the departure time.

My wallet didn’t have much in it.   There was no more money in it, just my debit card and my Mastercard.

The debit card would be useless for anyone without the pin number.   The Mastercard, for the most part, would be useless for the same reason.

Except for online purchases and on airplanes.

I quickly logged on to get the number for Mastercard’s lost and stolen cards.

If my phone call back to the Andy turned up empty that would be my next call.

The other thing going through my mind was what was I going to do for money the next few days.

I had $26 US dollars on me and that was it.

If my card was indeed lost or stolen I had to figure out how to get more money.   Hell, even if I left it in the taxi there was a good chance he wouldn’t be able to return to the airport in time to get it back to me.

Getting a new card rushed out wouldn’t even work because I was only in Singapore for 2 days.

The solution – contact my Mom when I landed in Singapore and get her to Western Union money to me in Singapore.

So, with all this swirling in my head, I called Andy back.

I had indeed left the wallet behind in the taxi.

A great sigh of relief came over me.

When he told me the taxi was only 3 minutes away from the airport I let out an even bigger sigh.

Okay, I can do this!

It was 8:55am and I had to get up two levels and outside to meet the taxi at Exit 1.

I sprinted off towards the escalator, went up two levels and then I realized, dammit, I have to go through immigration again.

No line here for people arriving to Thailand so I was able to go right up to the desk.

After a few minutes of trying to explain to the immigration officer what was going on, I filled out another Thailand arrival form, got stamped back into the country, and continued sprinting towards the exit.

I came out of the immigration area to see Exit 9.

I took a long look at the other end of the airport where Exit 1 was.

This was going to be alot of running…

I huffed and puffed my way to Exit 1 and met the taxi driver.   He smiled and handed me my wallet.   The fare for him to come back was 100 baht ($3) and I just gave him $5 and thanked him.

And then I ran back in.

Through security again.

And then through immigration again.

This time I actually asked people in the line in front of me if I could cut in front of them as it was now 9:05am and my flight left in 20 minutes.

They let me pass and after another few minutes of explaining what was going on to the immigration officer, she stamped me out of Thailand.

So, I went through immigration 3 times within an hour.   Crazy!

I sprinted all the way to the gate and got there as they were announcing final boarding.

I made it.

I sat down in my seat, still huffing and puffing, still sweating, but at least I had a smile on my face.

Out of all the outcomes from a lost wallet, this was obviously the best possible one.

To read about the rest of the day, click here.

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