31st December. New Years Eve. Siem Reap, Cambodia. The NYE 2016 was the first one I was celebrating outside India. The family and I were on a eight-day vacation to the South East Asian jewels of Vietnam and Cambodia. The last day of 2016 was spent exploring the various Hindu and Buddhist temples around Siem Reap, Angkor Wat being the most liked. 15 kilometres of intense walking later, we found ourselves in the comfort of the air conditioned car, which dropped us at our hotel at 3, giving us enough time to get ready for the NYE gala dinner at the hotel.
I am someone who likes to dress up in formals, and I did the same, changing quickly from my exploration outfit of shorts and a printed shirt, to a more shirt-trouser combo, throwing the shorts on the bed. I eventually missed my shot, and the shorts fell down. We proceeded downstairs, and were seated in the garden, a little away from the poolside. The gala dinner began with some really good live music and wine (I had Coke) for the adults. Turkey was being served, along with some really interesting Khmer starters. The rest of the evening flowed well, and I was really sleepy by around 10:30.
Getting up at 01:30 AM was going to be a task. Of course, I had to wish my friends back in India. Eventually, I woke up at 2:15, and with a lot of effort, typed out the customary “Happy New Year” messages and sent them out. I went back to sleep as we had to wake up early to catch our flight back to India. Knowing the heavy (pun not intended) sleeper that I am, I put exactly 7 alarms, the first one going off at 05:20 AM, and the rest following it in gaps of 10 minutes. I think my hand hit the snooze option on my phone about six times, because when I finally woke up because my parents called on the intercom and my brother started freaking out, it was 06:23 AM.
One of the key things to do if you have an early morning flight, is to pack your bags the night before. This piece of golden knowledge eluded me the night before, and obviously all my luggage lay there, all strewn across the room. The plan was to get out of the hotel at 06:30, to get to the airport by 7. 06:24 AM. Six minutes to go for departure. This amazing idea of having a bath before leaving struck me, and I rushed inside the bathroom. 06:29 AM. My parents and my brother started shouting at me, while I was still changing. 06:31 AM, I got out of the bathroom, opened my suitcase, put every thing inside it, took the key card, and rushed downstairs with my ridiculously large amount of luggage- One suitcase for clothes, one bag for the camera and one more for the laptop.
The time at the airport was rather uneventful, except I was really tired of removing my belt and shoes at security for the eighth time in this trip. The flight was a fun one, as I got my Hindu meal changed for a normal Thai meal. Thank you, Thai Smile. We landed into Bangkok by around noon. Our flight back to Hyderabad wasn’t until 10 in the night, and we decided to head to Bangkok to shop at MBK. Thank You, Thailand for the Visa on Arrival system for Indians. We gave up most of our luggage at the Left luggage counter, keeping only our valuables on us.
The taxi stand had a token machine to hail taxis. We got one for us, and our taxi arrived just 3 minutes later. My parents and my brother all sat in the brand new Corolla Altis, as I passed my heavy camera and laptop bags inside so that I could sit comfortably. And I did. Was it because of all the travel fatigue from the past eight days? Possible. But why would my bum cheeks be balanced comfortably on the seat? Something’s not right. Oh. OH. SHIIIIET. My wallet was missing from my left bum cheek pocket. The last time I saw it was in the pocket of the shorts that I nonchalantly threw off the bed. In that time post-demonetisation, I just lost my debit cards, a few id-cards and most importantly a few hundred rupee notes! Cash gone, Cashless gone!
I laughed at myself for a bit, amazed at myself of how stupid and absent minded I could be. The stakes of being called a traveller were extremely high (much more on the negative side), as my family made fun of me as the skyline of the capital of Thailand started appearing.