It is almost a law of nature: if you embark on a long journey, you are bound to loose things. This is especially true when you are travelling with kids and lots of baggage, as we are. There’s just too many opportunities to loose things.
First to go and still unfound, unfortunately, was Noëlles paper (this has to be added, nowadays – so that you don’t think that we misplace small laptops) notebook containing many memories from previous travels, including our honeymoon and the waterbuffalo incident. It’s probably still under the bed of the Symphony Hotel in Hanoi, but it hasn’t been found there. It may just have got lost in Sapa, or in the train between both places. Or wherever.
The second thing we lost was even more precious: Kims bag containing her dearest cuddly toy. This lilac mini backpack was last seen in the back of the taxi that dropped us off at Hue train station for the night train back to Vietnam, but somehow didn’t reach the waiting room with us. Of course the taxi had already left. Due to a chain of very, very lucky events, including Patrick remembering the name of the taxi company and the time of dropoff and the fact that the only Vietnamese person in the railway station who had a decent understanding of English overheard our conversation with the Information Desk at the railway station, and that this helpful Vietnamese woman arranged for the taxi company to drop off the precious bag just before our train left.
The third time we desperately needed the help and blessing of the grandma’s of our children – and as it turned out of some very helpful and friendly locals – was when our dearest loss so far came upon us. It started with a very chaotic hunt for a free taxi that was big enough for the four or us and our luggage in the rush hour of Bangkok traffic. We ended up having to take two tuktuks that took full advantage of our vulnerable position by charging an absurd sum of bahts for what evolved as a death ride in the fumes of the packed streets of Bangkok.
We were still counting if all our limbs and pieces of luggage had survived this memorable ride when Patrick eyes lit up with sheer panic: his hat. His Tilley Hat, a present from Noëlle at one of the first weekend outings together, and our travel companion on every trip to the nearby and far corners of the earth ever since, was not with us. Being the favourite toy of the children on long waits for new journeys, it had been left in the Bangkok Lamphu Tree Hotel lobby, somewhere under a chair, overlooked due to the stress of getting all our things together and find a taxi.
There was no way we were going to challenge the Bangkok rush hour again and retrieve the dear hat. So there was not much more to do than send an e-mail to the hotel and hope for the best.
After the eventful and thus reported Bangkok – Ko Lanta transfer, we got word from the Lamphu Tree Hotel. Yes, the hat had been found. But instead of giving a straight answer (For We Are Thai, And Thai Never Give A Direct Answer When That Answer Would Have To Be ‘No’) to our question if the hat could be sent to Ko Lanta (using the 1000 baht in the secret compartment of the hat – which existence we would reveal as soon as the ‘affirmative’ would have come through), the hotel kept promising us to keep the hat until our next visit to Bangkok.
Since our itinerary only includes southward bound journeys until at least the beginning of January, we checked our list of friends-and-acquaintances on current and planned stays in Bangkok, and started to arrange things that way. Still with only a faint hope to welcome our dear Tilley Hat amidst our party within the foreseeable future.
After a few days of mourning, we were approached at the breakfast table of our Ko Lanta resort. The Lamphu Tree Hotel had apparently discovered the not-so-secret-after-all-compartment in the hat and its contents, and asked humble permission to use it to send the hat to Ko Lanta.
And thus our dear Sixth Member of the Family (with all due respect, but the hat comes after the cat – and not just beacause of the alphabetical order) found its way back to its rightful owner.
Not more than half an hour ago we received this:
Inside the hat were 600 baht. I think we need to adjust the Thailand score once more….