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Origins of Zen

How I Almost Got Deported

THAILAND | Wednesday, 25 December 2013 | Views [211]

     We thought we were in the clear. We acted fast in the Kathamandu airport and paid for a flight to make our connection from Dhaka to Burma. We were then advised not to leave the airport, spent 22 hours in a box of malaria-waiting-to-happen, and eventually boarded our flight to Burma. While eating our unidentifiable boxed plane meals we joked that we had three obstacles before us 1) get our visa 2) have our baggage safely in hand and 3) get to our hotel. With our itinerary and hotel confirmations in hand, as advised by their immigration website, we were told at the visa desk that we were denied a visa on arrival and were going to have to get back on the plane to Bangladesh right then and there. Two officials showed up with our bags in their hand (1 out of 3 ain't bad!) and with stern faces told us we needed to go with them- back to that mosquito infested airport that we wouldn't be able to leave.
     There was a young woman who worked there as well who I felt would be more of a help than the erratic Biman official before us. Had we been on our original flight, Biman would have informed us that Burma was temporarily suspending visas on arrival. This meant that the Burmese government would hold Biman responsible for our illegal presence- hence his erratic behavior. Kendra and I refused to let any tears out, determined to find a solution. I explained that there was a 72 hour transit period for us to figure something out, to use the internet to book a flight elsewhere. "Impossible! Impossible!" the Biman official kept saying, with our bags slung over his shoulders, ready to put us back on the plane to a country that was having civil conflict. "There is no internet in transit section of airport, and you cannot cross immigration to get to booking desk! You MUST come with me. You here illegally! The flight leaves in ten minutes," he said. Ugh, the pains of nonsensical logistics, I thought.  
     I put my back to the disgruntled official and asked the quiet young woman if she could do anything to help, if she could get us on a flight going anywhere. "Anywhere!" I repeated, money all of a sudden not an issue. She asked us to sit down and walked away with the man and his ever-so powerful walkie talkie. We sat in silence, too nervous to even look at one another. Then, by some grace of God, they returned, "You are going to Thailand and we must go NOW!" We were hurried up stairs and through gated off areas, asked to wait around corners while the man who seemed so against us was now chatting up various immigration desk officers. We ran through the airport and were put in the Air Asia office. They took our information and told us we were flying in to Bangkok for 110 USD. Eh! Not as bad of a loss as we thought it was going to be. Twenty minutes later we were boarding a flight to Thailand, a place I once called home. The disgruntled Biman official shook our hands, "I'm so sorry for all of this. My government is difficult and this happen everyday. I don't know why the government website lie. Good luck to you." In that moment I saw him for who he really was, just trying to do his job.
           Our horoscope (yes we're both Sagittarians!) said that this month we would be 'taking a financial hit', and boy was it right. While those 48 hours were chaotic, nerve racking, and unfortunately shaved a month off my travel plan, I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Maybe I wasn't meant to be in Burma? Maybe not getting on that first flight was a warning? Maybe I'm supposed to be somewhere else for some reason I've yet to know? Spontaneity and travel go hand in hand, and every day I learn more about myself, seeing that my attitude and reaction is what defines a situation, not necessarily the situation itself.  So what have I learned in the past 48 hours? That the good and the bad go hand in hand, because without bad we have no way to define good and vis versa. Free will and destiny are easily distinguished: when there is lack of choice, there is no need to get upset because it's out of my hands. All I can do is be flexible. So to Thailand it was. Home for the holidays.         

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Tags: airports, burma, christmas, layover, thailand

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