…victim of the tourist mafia, being thrown out of the plane and a rather less glamorous return
I was sitting on the plane, wiping away my last tear, while thinking about the past 11 months. But before finally returning home, I wanted to make a last stop in Thailand, where I wanted to travel for a month. This plan almost didn’t become reality as there was an entry ban! Nevertheless, I decided to go.
On arrival, I experienced a real culture shock in Bangkok – the people, the heat, the dust – it was just so different! I was desperately looking for a SIM-card and a taxi – way after midnight, I finally arrived at my hotel that I had previously booked.
On my second day, I took a Tuck Tuck to see all of Bankok and 1000 of its temples – at least that’s what it felt like to me. The driver just drove me to all those other places, which I had never asked him to do. How nice, I thought. We stopped at a store that sold custom-made dresses and, German as I am, I wanted to take a look first. But after what had felt like two seconds, my credit card had already been charged and half of my travel budget was gone. Obviously, I tried to get my money back and started discussing – but nothing helped and so I already knew on my second day that Thailand maybe wasn’t for me. When a Tuck Tuck driver tried to charge me way more than we had arranged and then also threw my backpack on the street, I was officially done. I took all of my belongings and drove to Chiang Mai.
After 18 long hours, I finally arrived. And let me tell you, it was one of the most horrifying things I experienced. When you travel in Australia, you don’t even have to think twice about someone stealing your belongings. In Thailand, people would tell you every two minutes to watch your bags. As I was super tired, I literally became one with my bags because I didn’t want anyone to take them away from me. When I woke up, I was starving and my ankles were super swollen from not moving all night. I had hoped, that we would stop at a train station because I really didn’t want to use the toilet on the train – although it didn’t have much in common with the toilets we know because it was basically just a black hole in the floor. I had waited for 14 hours before I decided that there was no way I could hold it any longer. So I took my bags and locked myself with all my belongings in the “bathroom”.
In Chiang Mai, I had just enough time to enjoy some massages, go to the markets, make a trip through the jungle and do a wild water raft before I got sick. So I decided it was best to return home a little earlier than planned.
This time, I took the bus to Bangkok, which was much nicer than my last journey. I booked a hotel room, which I sadly couldn’t leave for my last two days, as I was still sick in bed. The thing was, that someone in the city had died and so you could hear songs and prayers all day and night. I had the feeling that someone was standing in my hotel room, holding a megaphone and playing music that had no rhythm at all. That’s why I decided to leave my room on my last night in Thailand just to get drunk and buy some presents for family and friends on Khaosan Road.
Day of departure: Somewhere along the way, I got kind of sensitive which was also due to the rather less helpful Thais. I gathered all the energy I had left, grabbed my belongings and tried to get those into the bus – even after asking the bus driver several times, if he could help me I didn’t get an answer. So I just threw my backpack in his arms. It seemed like there was no other way. I got on the bus and realised, that every single seat was taken even though I had booked a ticket in advance. The bus driver told me to sit on a stranger’s lap. Also I was struggling with my 30kg backpack in my neck but I didn’t had any energy left to complain.
I didn’t get better on the plane. The turbulences made me even more sick and when I dared to take a look in the mirror, I was shocked. I was white as a wall and you could see that I wasn’t doing well. Over my time abroad, I had pictured my return so many times – but it never looked like this. Anyway, I didn’t have the time to think about this because my flight from Dubai to Hamburg was boarding. The stewardess noticed that I was ill, and I had to hand them my ticket because they wanted to take extra care of me. Even though we were way past our planned time of departure, the plane didn’t move. The pilot announced that there was an emergency on board.
Who would have thought that I was this emergency? In no time, there were numerous people gathered around me – stewardess, doctors and more people, who wanted to take care of me. They checked my blood pressure, asked questions and I still didn’t know what was going on. Until a stewardess was kind enough to let me know that I had to leave the plane. What a joke, I though! Well, it wasn’t.
I hold onto my seat and tried to explain to them how I hadn’t been home in a whole year, I had a really bad time in Thailand and it was just six more hours that separated me from good old Germany. Nothing helped. The pilot had decided that I was a danger to the other passengers and he didn’t like the thought of an emergency landing because of my condition. I couldn’t really believe that I was now in the airport, surrounded by men with turban taking me to the emergency ward. I got an infusion and the doctors wanted me to stay for three more days so they could do further tests on me in Dubai’s hospital.
I decided to ignore their advice and left the emergency ward, so that I could book the next flight to Germany. My parents had already been waiting for me at the airport before I could tell them what was going on. I guess they imagined our reunion a little different as well. The next flight was not before the next day and I had to find a place to sleep. I protested long and hard to get a hotel – I mean, I didn’t leave the plane out of free will. But to be honest, I couldn’t have booked a hotel on my own – my phone and credit card didn’t work, I had no cash left and I guessed my bag was already on its way to Germany! Six hours away from home, I was standing at the airport with nothing more than my purse and had no clue what to do.
After some time, the employees had enough of my complaining and I got a room in a hotel right next to the airport. The only thing I wanted was a bed to sleep in. But someone had other plans for me! In Dubai, you need a visa to leave the airport and because all of this wasn’t planned, I obviously didn’t have one. Even after explaining everything to them – there was literally no sign of sympathy in their faces – they wouldn’t let me leave and so I was once again trapped here. My patience was tested here and eventually, I snapped. Everyone should know what had happened to me and I made sure they’d hear me. I explained that I really didn’t plan to stay in Dubai any second more than I needed, and my plane was leaving the next morning. Somehow, I managed to convince them – maybe the guy didn’t want to be yelled at anymore, but who knows. I got a stamp in my pass port and could finally get to sleep.
After the journey of my life and the horror trip at the end, I was laying in my parents‘ arms.