This morning (technically yesterday morning, but as I haven't gone to bed yet...) I was enjoying my rice and potatoes and finding myself generally amused by the talk around the table of visas, visa runs, and in general the evils of them, when I had the sudden inspiration to jump up and grab my passport in order to check the date for my next visa run. Certainly it was still at least a couple weeks off, but it would be, no doubt, a good thing to keep in mind.
The date January 30 met my dismayed gaze.
"Somebody tell me this isn't right!"
Yes, I had already over-stayed my visa by six days. Jabez was hurriedly put down and life quickly turned into a flurry and scurry as I threw a few miscellaneous items into my backpack. Meanwhile, the Sharon's put together a quick map for me of the notoriously tricky Cambodian border. An hour later found me leaving on a minibus from Sankhlaburi. Destination Cambodia.
Apparently, on my last border run up to Burma I had neglected to fill out a visa number on the paperwork and, unbeknownst to me, had simply been given an automatic two weeks in the country, rather than the customary two months which we would normally try to get.
And so my little impromptu adventure began.
Two minibuses and then another bus from Bangkok. I must say that this is the first time I've ever been in the Bangkok bus station and never before have I seen anything quite like it. Really it reminded me more of an airport than anything else. I was nearly to the police check-point when it occurred to me that I'm not exactly legal... I had a memory dancing in my head of the story I'd heard of some people who had been caught having over-stayed several days and who lived to tell of the horrors of a Thai jail. (Very likely it wouldn't be as big a deal though already being headed to the border.) Thankfully, though the solders at each stop as well as ignored me and I was never so much as asked for my passport.
It was already quite late in the evening by the time we pulled into Aranprathet, the town near the border, where I intended to spend the night. I stood around discussing prices for going to a guesthouse with the couple TukTuk drivers who were vying for business around me. But, no, they seemed far too pricey. I was pondering my next move when a young man (who had been seated across from me on the bus together with his friend and, as I had already noted a long ways back, appeared to be rather dubious characters) approached me and asked me to go with them. I firmly shook my head and quickly turned to snatch up whatever TukTuk driver was still around. Fifty baht would work just fine! Call me overly suspicious. (In defense, it's not very often that just any random person will offer you a ride in a situation like that.)
And so here I find myself all safe and sound in a room for the night. I'm looking forward to tomorrow. It will be another first for me as I've never been to Cambodia before - somewhere that I have really wanted to visit.
God is so good despite the foolish mistakes that I make... Like not checking my visa after it's stamped..........