Editorial: I lost my passport going through security at Bangkok’s international airport. I didn’t leave it in the plastic security container along with my new MacBook Air computer and plastic baggie of priceless carryon liquids (particularly the mosquito repellent with high Deet content that all the travellers are looking for over here). Instead I placed it on the conveyor belt and walked through security without it.
I know this because it was videotaped and when I raised an alarm Thai security searched through the tape and showed me the sequence. I was devastated. We continued to watch the video as a suitcase came up behind my stuff and swallowed the passport, perhaps in an exterior pocket. That was it. My passport was in a suitcase of an unknown woman who could be flying just about anywhere departing from an airport that is so large that it is called the hub of travel in Southeast Asia.
Thai security gave me a seat and said they would look for her, which I thought was a ridiculous suggestion since there were zillions of travellers clogging the many aisles as they rushed towards their gates. Yet they found that woman and my passport. Yes indeed. And as I waited at my gate I smiled at the ‘watchers’—those security cameras and personal that helped me out.
The experience humbled me for sometimes we old-time travellers think travel is rather easy—until it isn’t. Those who haven’t done much of it, on the other hand, can be creative in their worrying. Like the guy on an online travel forum the other day who asked if anyone knew if there were restrooms along the 27-hour bus route through Vietnam and Cambodia or if the bus driver would just let him off in places where there could be landmines. It took no time at all, of course, for one of the “informed” to respond: “I hear they lose one tourist to landmines while he is taking a piss every second month.”
This month we have stories from travellers just starting out and two from a woman who is about to land in Egypt where she will celebrate her 71st birthday. They all seem rather plucky to me.
© Riding the buses 2011