It’s now been a couple of months since I’ve come back from an absolutely epic holiday to Bali and Vietnam, which means that I have now safely dived into normal life, routine and just everything regular. It’s also now easier to write about it without missing it too much 🙂
Do note that this is not going to be a travel blog or your definitive guide when you visit these places. Instead what I will be sharing is stories, stories that contributed to creating an experience we would never forget
The temptation is there to start at the very beginning; however it’s over powered by the feeling of sharing probably the most interesting story of our holiday. The story of “How three became two”.
I would urge anyone who plans to travel internationally in the near future to pay very close attention.
After spending 5 days in Bali we were all set to fly out to Vietnam. Our flight was at some 0730 in the morning, which meant that we were supposed to be at the airport at about 0530. With me around that was never an issue :). We reached the airport on time (before time actually). As expected there was not much chatter between the three of us at that time of the morning, the lack of sleep combined with the alcohol the previous night had a role to play. We were just about getting our bearings right
We were in line waiting to Check In, a pretty short and fast moving line. I went in first gave my passport and ticket, completed all formalities and got my boarding pass. Arjun followed and did the same. There was some confusion as our Visa letter was not printed, but we managed to get away with a soft copy. Karan was next in line and the agent asked him for his passport and ticket, to which our man obliged. Only to realize that the passport that he handed over was in two pieces-the cover separate and the pages separate. The agent immediately handed his passport back to him and these were his exact lines “Sir I cannot allow you to travel, Your Passport is damaged.” The three of us looked at each other, typical Indian Mentality took over and we thought that this guy is acting difficult so we requested him to make a provision (jugaad) and went on to say things like “At least the passport is there”, “It’s only the cover that has got detached” etc… None of it worked and this guy was adamant and told Karan once again –“Sir I cannot allow you to travel, Your Passport is damaged”. His supervisor then stepped in to explain to us that a damaged passport could mean that a page is torn or it could be a case like we had on our hands-the cover separate, the page separate, irrespective the Individual is not permitted to fly.
This is when shit got serious and we all looked at each other and in unison were like “WTF”. We thought to ourselves that there has to be a way out of this. Arjun approached the supervisor and asked him for a solution. The supervisor was very clear on the solution and mentioned that Karan would have to visit the Indian Consulate in Bali and they will issue him a letter or some document of that kind which would then allow him to fly. When we heard this, there was some sense of relief, because at least there was a solution. This now lead to a quick conference between the three of us .I’ll give you a peek into the discussion that happened during that short conference:
Karan: “You guys go ahead; I’ll manage and join you guys”
Arjun: “No buddy, we’ll stay with you and figure this shit out”
Kanav: “Yeah, we can fly out the next day”
Airline Supervisor: “For a different flight, I will be able to give your friend a discounted rate (Karan) , but not for the both of you”(Arjun and Me)
Kanav: “We also need to look at budget- money on rescheduling flights, hotels etc.. It is going to end up costing a lot”
Karan: “You guys go ahead; I’ll manage and join you guys” (Face became smaller this time).
Anyway, we did not have much time to take this decision. With whatever processing power we had at that time in the morning, the following decision was made – Karan would stay back in Bali, visit the Indian Consulate and get whatever documentation was needed to fly in to Vietnam, either the same day on a later flight or worst case scenario he could join us the next day. Arjun and I proceeded to take our flight to Vietnam.
We had a stopover at KL for a few hours. This is when we were expecting to hear from Karan. A couple of hours passed and there was no news from our man. We were beginning to get a little worried. Alas, Arjun’s phone rang and the conversation between the two continued for about ten minutes. It did not take a scientist to figure out what Karan was saying on the other end. Long story short – the only country Karan could fly back to was India, which meant that he was not joining us in Ho Chi Minh. The only saving grace was that he could hang around in Bali for a month (till the visa expired).
I guess it’s now clear , “How three became two”. Arjun and I spent the last five days of our holiday in Ho Chi Minh, while Karan spent it exploring Bali. We re-united at the KL airport on our way back to India and trust me when I say this; I have never seen a happier Karan in my life. His immediate reaction was – “Fuck, I can talk to someone” and he hurled out the choicest abuses to us in Hindi like he had never used them before. A very critical component to understand here is that Karan is NOT a solo traveler; he detests it as much as I detest peanut butter and I hate peanut butter. Clearly those five days in Bali were not his best time, but I’ m sure he learnt and discovered something about himself.
Karan now has a fresh passport and plans to travel to Ho Chi Minh very soon. After all he needs to do justice to a tattoo that Arjun and he got done in Bali, a tattoo which has the flags of all the countries they have traveled to together. Among others, Vietnam is also inked on his arm. Little did we know…
We still don’t know how that happened to his Passport (actually I do know, but that’s something I’ll keep to myself J).
Should he have checked his passport earlier??
What could we have done differently??
Did we take the right decision to not stay back in Bali ?? (Believe me, we had no idea that he would not be allowed to fly anywhere else in the world but India)
These are all questions that one can reflect on and wonder how the outcome could have changed. But I guess this is how it was meant to play out and this is what was meant to happen. How else would I have shared this riveting story with you all 🙂
So next time you travel, take care of your Passport like it’s your baby, or dog , or cat (whichever one you love more)