Sunday, March 16, 2008

Tuition Fees for Life's Lessons

In December of 2005, after five months of running to the Cambodian border in Aranyaphratet, Thailand, I felt scared to go back there another month for a tourist visa renewal because I had been having thoughts of getting questioned why I kept running to the border. It wasn't like something that I was the only one doing--I run to the border along hundreds of other tourists in Thailand who stay either to work or just to extend the vacation in the LOS (Land of Smiles). Guilt and fear worked together to make me look for another "OUT", so when opportunity presented itself to me to go out via Malaysia, I did.

I was a dumb tourist -- not knowing the basics. Upon receiving my visa from the embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Thailand, I just glanced at the date posted there -- March 5, 2006 and it registered in my memory that the next time I would worry about running to any border again would be March 2006. How on earth would I know that tourist visas are normally honored in any country for 60 days only? Nobody told me (Maybe because I never asked! LOL)

Technically, had I looked at the stamp posted in my passport the day I entered Thailand from Malaysia, I should have seen that I was allowed to stay only up to February 6, 2006 - But I did not, I just got stuck thinking about the March 5 date. Naturally when I ran to the Aranyaphrathet border again in March 2006, I was surprised to be charged TB11,000 for overstaying. Stupid me! LOL So the cute, colorful Thailand visa issued by the embassy in Malaysia cost me half a month's salary. OUCH!!!!!!

That is what I call the tuition fees we pay for life's lessons. Not always fun attending the classes though. :-)

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