Sunday, November 22, 2015

A Slight Panic

Young Buddha disciples . . . Chiang Mai, Thailand
A few days ago I was in New Delhi, India biding my time waiting to go to the airport and catch a plane scheduled to leave for Thailand at 15 minutes after midnight the next morning. I had to book my quarters again from the previous night so as to be able to relax with my luggage in the room until 9 PM. The last time I had such a flight, I missed it because the 00:15 confused me. I arrived at the airport in Rome, Italy the same day but thought the flight to Nairobi, Kenya was in the afternoon. The attendant sadly told me I had missed my flight, so I had to book again at considerable cost.
This time, I was careful and while I waited I also made sure to check Thai visa requirements. I knew Thailand does not require US citizens to have visas on entry. But on one website, a British site, mention was made of the thirty day maximum stay requirement and I was surprised to see that a return ticket must be shown. A slight panic ensued, as I did not have one. Not recalling being checked on my previous visits, nonetheless I was uncomfortable at the prospect of being turned away at the airport. I called the airline and a lady in Thailand told me to check with the embassy! This, with only five hours to go.

In this day of instant possibilities via the internet . . . I began plotting. First, I took out my map of the world and looked to see where I might go in thirty days. I have been planning to possibly visit New Guinea, but in the end I chose somewhere nearer that I could get to from Bangkok for less than 100.00 dollars. In ½ hour, I found a deal and reserved my flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia, where I will be near the famous Angkor Wat temple, the largest religious monument in the world, originally constructed as a Hindu temple around the 12th century for the Khmer Empire, but now a Buddhist temple.

At last, with all my proper paperwork in hand, I arrived at the airport and caught the flight to Bangkok and Chiang Mai. And guess what? Nobody asked to see my ticket out of Thailand.
Dragons, guarding a temple entrance. Chiang Mai, Thailand

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