Sometimes, it’s not the destination but the people you travel with who make or break a trip.
My first unfortunate experience is back in Christmas 2012. It was supposed to be a leisure trip to Phuket, Thailand… to get away from all the “Christmassy mess” back home in Singapore (the festival tends to be way overrated here with people using it as an excuse to just get drunk). Nothing much was planned, except watching the Simon Cabaret + booking a day tour to some of the popular islands… yeah, just general touristy stuff.
The trip started off on quite a meh note. Person (let’s just call her Est) holding to the flight itinerary was almost an hour late meeting us (me + another guy, W) @ the airport which resulted in some anxiety making the check-in before the counter closed 45min prior to the flight time + an unpleasant mad rush to the boarding gate. Being a person who is very finicky about punctuality, I wasn’t happy. It didn’t help that Est has a track record of being late for an hour or more & I hated every time that I was made to wait for her. Her reason for being late & nearly causing us to miss our flight? It was raining. Epic lame excuse, considering Singapore has an awesome MRT network that isn’t affected by weather. But since it was a vacation, I hid my irritation and let it slide.
Upon arrival @ Phuket airport, we realized that Est’s luggage did not arrive (me & W were merely holding cabin luggage so no probs on our end). There goes another hour waiting around, filling up the lost-baggage form and more waiting. What apparently happened was, due to us checking in that late, the luggage did not make it up the plane, and will only arrive the following day. Awesome huh? The irritation from further time-wasting is greatly increased by the fact that it’s past dinner time and I was freaking hungry. Again, I hid my irritation.
The rest of the night was a pain. Checked into the hotel pretty late, got a room with a window facing construction lights… made a neutral comment about it and Est told me to stop complaining (lolwut?) since we are paying a “low” price for that (trust me, I can get much cheaper rates in Phuket). Had a quick rushed dinner, then went around shopping for her stuff – cos she needed clothes to change into due to baggage delay. Oh, it’s just a 4 day trip btw. Bringing so much things that require checking-in in stupid to begin with!
Day 2 was uneventful.
Day 3 was the day we took a boat trip to a couple of islands. One of them being the super crowded, extra commercialized Phi Phi Island. Anyway, it was during the snorkeling segment of this trip that I managed to hurt my foot while getting off the boat – jumped off what I thought was the last step of the ‘ladder’ and hit full force into the real last step. The wound bled immediately, and didn’t stop. As there was no way I could make the tour boat return to mainland at that point of time, I had to wait till the end of trip (which was like 3hrs later) to ask the operator to drop me off at a clinic instead of our hotel. All this while, the guide was like… oh it’s a small cut, it isn’t a problem… etc. and Est was joining in. Got kinda pissed cos look, it’s MY foot. I know darn well whether it’s just a “small cut” or otherwise. A “small cut” would have stopped bleeding within minutes.
Either it was miscommunication, or the total lack of concern… maybe both, the transport dropped me off at a pharmacy. Hence it was decided that I return to the hotel, to enquire about the nearest clinic & use the wifi to check with my dad regarding insurance claims. Then it was a quick shower and off to the clinic b4 it closed. Est of course, didn’t come along… cos she was still showering, and didn’t meet me there after either. Thankfully W accompanied me there as I didn’t have enough baht to pay for the med fees of more than 1,300 THB. Forgot to bring my debit card either (this part was my bad).
As I barely had cash left, that night I tried to borrow a little from Est for lunch the next day, like 200-300 THB. She blatantly refused, saying that she needed her money for shopping (she has a credit card ffs, could easily do ATM withdrawals). Then she went on a tirade about how I ruined the trip for her by being a princess… for insisting that I see a doc over a small cut. Whoah! Shouldn’t I be the one being pissed right here after all that extra hassle from the first day and all that insensitivity?
Needless to say, since that night, we haven’t been on speaking terms anymore and I have no intention to rectify that. Ever.
It’s good riddance to bad rubbish. Life’s too short for having people like Est taint it further. It’s a shame that with her being part of the group I usually go diving with, I ended up kinda cutting contact with everyone else too (seriously, I don’t wanna attend a group gathering with her there)… but further thinking about it made me realize that it isn’t too much of a loss anyway. They might be a bunch of nice fun people, but they are always going for things that I can barely afford – it always tears a hole in my budget after a group dinner, and they don’t understand “my world”. I’m a geek first, traveler second. Putting up with anti-gaming sentiments did stretch my tolerance to the limit.
Well, of course, this entire ‘story’ is from MY point of view. It might seem a little unfair, cos it’s clearly one sided, but I needed to get this off my chest (I did refrain from talking about this to our mutual friends). Why didn’t I post about this sooner? Well… I guess it’s cos I was too angry back then to relate stuff coherently. This might still sound angry (I don’t deny that I get irritated whenever I think about it), but hey, there are some things that I’ll never forgive nor forget… despite how forgiving is the ‘right’ thing to do. I am certainly no saint, and definitely am not a 100% wonderful person. However, I daresay for sure though, should my friend get injured in a foreign country, I would try my utmost to help instead of being all bitchy… and this is one quality I expect from MY friends too.
Despite all that, I’d say Phuket is a relatively nice place. I would definitely have enjoyed the trip more if it wasn’t for all the tension with Est on the last day + the flight home. So yeah, company can definitely make or break a vacation. Friendships will be tested, and it can be an eye-opener about who a person really is.
…. and now, for those who can stomach ‘gross images’…
PS. That’s the “small cut”. Left is it after being cleaned a 2nd time (at a doc) back in SG, and right is the same wound on it’s way to being healed about 2 weeks later. It healed up well, and am glad I didn’t take any chances. Yeah, tiny it might be, but can you imagine the infection that might have set in on that? It’s a f**king puncture wound btw, not a cut as everyone claimed it to be. Ugh.