So you know the phrase “rules are meant to be broken”? Well up until recently I was unaware that the word “plans” could replace “rules” in certain situations.
Autumn and I had been having a good time in Thailand when I was knocked down and out by a rough bout of Thailand Tummy (traveler’s diarrhea plus some). I had the first inkling of it in Pai, but it came fast and furious as soon as we got back to Chiang Mai on March 9th. Our travel plans had us flying to Yangon Myanmar at 5pm on the 10th, which was now suspect. After a very rough night with little sleep and more sickness, my wonderful wife decided that we were not leaving Chiang Mai until I was better. I actually told her that I was “good enough” to travel 9 hours, but she overruled me. The winning point was her position that she felt much more comfortable in Thailand versus Myanmar if I ultimately needed to see a doctor. Point Autumn.
While things didn’t get better too quickly, I did start recovering slowly which gave us an opportunity to relook at our plans since we had already missed our initial flight. What interest I had left in exploring SE Asia left me (along with everything else) so we said “enough of Southeast Asia”. So, we decided to do a quick 10 day trip to Darwin in the Northern Territories of Australia.
We had not been planning on going to Australia until May, but the long list of things we wanted to see/do meant that we could sneak in some adventures if we went to Darwin now. Australia has been on the top of my bucket list forever so I have been advocating hard to spend lots of time here. By making this change we can get a few things crossed off the list in a country where we really wanted to go without interfering with our other plans. Awesome!
We were pumped about the decision. A little while later we had tickets and were primed to hit the road. Unfortunately… Thailand wanted to make sure we didn’t forget them before we left.
We arrived at the airport with plenty of time for our flight, checked our bags, and headed toward security and immigration. Security? No problem. Immigration? Problem…
Turns out that foreign countries don’t like it when you overstay the time on your travel visa. The immigration officer handed us off to the police so we could receive our fines and paperwork. We were each fined 1,000 Baht (about $28) for overstaying 2 days in Thailand. That wouldn’t have been an issue, but we only had 1,890 Baht left from our travels. Shoot. Back down the stairs we went, exchanged ten whole US dollars, then went back up, through security again, and paid the fine. Whew! Good thing we give ourselves lots of time at the airport in case things go sideways.
All in all I think we handled things quite well and rolled with the punches instead of getting worked up about it. Lesson learn; although I’m not sure how we could have handled the immigration thing differently.
Anywho, we made it to Darwin safely and are about to enjoy a great first day!