“So it must be pretty special, to have to return somewhere for the second time after a short period of time.”
& it was because I was so emotionally connected to the elephants (rather one elephant in particular) and the people there are just so full of warmth and friendliness.
When I went back, things were a li’l different cause there was a shuffle of manpower and a few of them I knew weren’t around. Sad, but it didn’t matter much cause ultimately I was back for Ot!
Saw her in the morning and this li’l sweetheart dropped her grass that she was munching on and gave me a li’l trunk-hug when I approached her. AWWW. It’s really nice to think that she remembers people and that she’s so sociable and affectionate.
Photo-post for this update!
But before that, I must say that my volunteering stint shortened to a week due to unforseen circumstances. I stayed from 1 July 2015 to 6 July 2015.
So when I came back from Laos, I did the math and counted the date that I had to leave Thailand cause my 30-day holiday visa would expire on 12 July – a day before my 2-week stint would end.
I had it all planned in my head where I would make a visa run (I saw agencies offering that service in Pai) during my second week stay and that would solve my problem.
2 July 2015, Thursday
Cycled a freaking 7km uphill-downhill route from the camp to town for fun and to check it out. (PRETTY BAD MOVE CONSIDERING I WAS STILL HEALING FROM MY SWOLLEN INFECTED MOSQUITO BITES AND MY STAMINA WAS SHIT)
Approached the travel agencies and none of them did visa runs anymore! I was told I needed to go to Chiang Mai to do it. It was too much hassle/ unnecessary money involved for me! I had no idea that the government clamped down on the visa runs.
Didn’t panic much cause I still had time to sort it out.
Cycled another 7km back to the camp, and out of curiosity I checked my passport. That’s when I found out I had already overstayed my visa… for SIX days.
Shit! I freaked out and couldn’t sleep though I was extremely exhausted.
I googled for the circumstances of overstaying a visa and there were people saying “surrender” yourself and just pay the fine, nothing much will happen, you might stay in jail for one day. I did/ do not want to stay in jail!
I was also frantically trying to find flights to get out of Thailand as soon as I could. The penalty for overstaying was paying a fine of 500baht/ day.
Flights to Singapore were the cheapest but I wasn’t ready to go home yet. My alternative was to Siem Reap, despite tickets being close to $200+ but what choice did I have? Time wasn’t on my side. Plus, if I went to Siem Reap, I could look for Ann to hang out.
I was ready to leave on Saturday after breaking the news to everyone but I wanted to make the most of my stay and decided “screw it, what’s overstaying another two more days gna do? I’ll just pay the fine”.
3 July 2015, Friday
Told people of my situation and I was so bothered and stressed out the whole day. I was pretty bummed that I had to cut short my time with the elephants.
Tried to book my flight to Siem Reap at the camp but there were so many distractions and when I was about to pay, the ride to town was ready to go so I had to put it on hold.
& boy, was I glad I hadn’t booked my ticket cause when I went to Aya Service I saw they had an option for Siem Reap (by bus) for only 1,550baht. That works out to be about $60++, which is way cheaper than $200++ for flying! The only thing is that it would take more than 24 hours to get there which meant another 500baht to pay. But whatever, I was already saving a bit by not flying.
What a blessing in disguise!
More on my journey to Siem Reap in the next post.