Day 12: Chiang Rai

Trip Start Dec 26, 2012
Trip End Jan 29, 2013

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Flag of Thailand  , Chiang Rai,
Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Me and Marty have decided today was the worst day of our trip so far. We caught a 5:30 am mini bus to Chiang Rai, which we had booked in advance as we thought we could sleep on the bus during the drive and end up with almost a full day in Chiang Rai. Getting up was the worst, especially since I panicked that we may miss the bus and made us get up extra early. The bus ride was super windy almost the entire way so neither of us were able to sleep at all.

The bus ended up getting in at 11, 2 hours later then we had expected and so we were rushed for time. To make matters worse in the last half hour before we arrived me and Marty had fallen asleep and so we woke up to the bus driver yelling at us to get off the bus. I quickly shoved my stuff in my bag and jumped off the bus. We caught sâwngthâew to another bus station in town so we could book our tickets for the bus to Chiang Khong the next day. When we arrived Marty asked me to pay for the sâwngthâew. It was at this point I realized that my purse wasn't in my bag.. (Yes I know obviously this would happen to me- very irresponsible). I'm guessing it must have fallen out in my scramble to leave the mini bus. My purse included 1000 baht, my Visa card, my camera, and my passport- great.

In a panic, we grabbed a tuk tuk back to the bus station hoping the bus was still there and that no one had taken my purse ( there were only 12 people on the bus, all backpackers, plus the driver). Of corse the mini bus had already left, and so we ran to different counters asking if anyone had turned in a purse. No one really understood but Marty finally communicated what had happened to someone and they showed us how to call the bus company. Through rough translations on the phone by Marty, and me continually running back and forth with bills changed into coins to keep the pay phone running, we were able to relay what happened to the company. They called the driver and he said he had found the purse and would be stopping back in Chiang Rai in a couple hours and could drop it off.

We waited nervously at the bus station hoping he would show. To make matters more worse, we had an old thai man - definitely on drugs, drunk, or both- who decided to sit by us for about 20 minutes. Normally, not a big deal, something pretty easy to laugh off, but during the present situation.. not cool. During this time he preceded to try and talk to us in jumbled Thai and English. Mostly what we understood was him yelling at us to go home- real nice, and he continually tried to grab and touch our stuff.

Finally, the bus driver pulled up, it was then 2:30 and handed me my purse. As was expected but was still shocking, my camera was gone and all of my money was missing. Since he had no new passengers and the company had told us he searched the bus before he left the Chiang Rai station and found the purse (from our understanding anyway) we assumed it must have been him who took everything. He sort of gave himself away as I knew he spoke English very well as we had all had conversations with him, and when I asked him if he knew where my camera and money were he said I don't understand and drove away. The worst part of it was we had taken a bunch of Marty's bahts and gave them to him before I had looked in the purse to thank him for bringing it. Rookie mistake.

Anyway the passport was there which is what matters and my Visa card is safe and sound. It's not the money or the value of the camera that's upsetting, but it's really upsetting to lose half of the memories from our trip. Luckily Marty still had his camera for almost everything so we still have pictures!

Lesson learned, no matter how much someone is yelling for you to get off the bus, triple check you have everything. Also maybe I should glue my passport to my forehead.

We grabbed some food, since we hadn't eaten anything but a muffin each all day and large beers. We both decided we weren't feeling up to anything much so we just walked around town and visited some stalls at the night bazaar. Unfortunately we are missing out on Chiang Rai sights but both of us are sort of bitter at the city and are going to be happy to leave it behind tomorrow.
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Elva and Ian on

Sorry you had a "mis" adventure but happy to hear that the most important things were still there. Better days ahead.

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