I thought my trip was going well until I was left stranded and abandoned twice in the same night. Twice, my brain froze in stunned disbelief….
I was supposed to be leaving Chiang Mai, a city in northern Thailand, on an overnight bus. The buzz of the night market outside was a distraction. It must have muffled the noise of the diesel motor of my first bus when it departed. I had returned to the bus office in good time, but when I saw the building in total darkness and no one inside, I nearly fainted: no bus, no luggage. No lodgings either and it was nightfall.
What was I going to do? I had no idea which part of the city I was in. A worker appeared, grasping my dilemma and panic and speedily drove me to the main bus terminal. I was so thankful for this Good Samaritan. I breathed my first sigh of relief. However, to my amazement, the original bus wasn’t there. And where was my luggage?
I went to the bus station manager’s office with my problem. All the buses were ordered to stay put and one of my bags was found. The other, a blue one, the manager remembered seeing on a bus that had already left. I was assured a bus hostess would help me find it at the eventual destination. I now left on “Bus #2,” destination Bangkok, feeling hopeful of being reunited with my remaining travel possessions. Two hours later, this bus made a washroom stop at a café along the highway. Not wanting to lose this bus, I rushed in and out of the building. I came out and blinked in disbelief. The parking lot was empty! The bus was gone and not a single person was around. Just unbelievable! Panic punched me in the pit of my stomach. I felt like crying. Although it was a hot clammy night, I shook with an uncontrollable fear. Here I was in the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhere Thailand, alone, abandoned and missing luggage.
I spotted a young man by the café doors and asked, “Is the bus gone?” “I think so,” he responded, “but maybe it’s just gone around the block and will be coming back.” I was sceptical. This was a highway; there was no going around the block. I stepped onto the dark road and in the distance, spotted two headlight beams piercing the night. “Bus #2” was coming back. My legs turned to jelly. I was saved.
All the passengers, like ghosts emerging from the darkness, reappeared and filed silently back onto the bus. The hostess approached me carrying my missing blue bag. Now all I wanted was to get to my destination by daylight. The bus stopped one more time. This time, I refused to get off. Being abandoned twice in one night was just too much.
You’re invited to give your feedback about the piece.