Sunday, May 18, 2008

Day 7: Flat Broke in Paradise

The day starts off well, I arrange for Bank of America to send my cash
via western union. There's one on the island about 20 km away. So I
have a delicious breakfast at the hotel. (grilled tomatoes, bacon,
beans, French toast, mango, papaya, dragonfruit, buttery croissants
with coconut jelly, Yum!)

I also remember my emergency 20 dollar bill I keep stashed in my
wallet, for emergencies. I exchange it, and go go about finding my
way into town.

I'm told that a taxi ride will cost about 500 baht (about 15 dollars)
Expensive! But I can rent a motorcycle for the day for 300 baht.
After renting it and getting gas, it costs about the same, but now I'm

I head into town, slowly. In Thailand they drive on the left side,
and there are huge potholes in the road to watch out for. And... This
is the first time I've driven a motorcycle since my accident 13-ish
years ago. But still, it's exhilarating!

I get into town to find the western union closed for the weekend. Not
only that, Monday is Buddhist Lent, so their closed then too! As are
all banks and post offices.

But there is one ray of hope...the Moneygram office is open. I call
Visa /BofA and tell them to send my money Moneygram instead. But all
I get are lame apologies and excuses about how they don't do business
with moneygram.

The rest of the day is spent on the phone with visa as I plead with
them to send the cash moneygram, they can easily do it online! And
all I get is "here's another western union in Thailand, and it's 2
hours away, and it's closed."

I'd like to mention that it this point I'm fairly irate with both Visa
and BofA. Not only did BofA cancel my card, mid-trip, but now, the
one thing that they can do, that is an option for me, they WON'T do,
out of some lame policy.
This is the second day I don't have access to my money.

I'm surrounded by awesome things to do, but without any cash, I can't
do any of them! Thankfully, I have a place to stay and eat, due to
Phil, and his credit card.
But I can't leave the island without cash, and I'm checking out on

Towards the end of the day, though, Phil saves my ass yet again, and
sends me 350 US Dollars via moneygram. I agree to pay him back as
soon as I have access to my cash again. Phil is a lifesaver! Also, I
extend my stay here one day, so I can be here when western union opens
on tuesday.

Tomorrow will be awesome!

Jason Phipps
Art Director
Big Boss Creative

1 comment:

Phil Pham said...

I have two things to say.

1. You're welcome.
2. I still have not gotten my $11000 Bhat worth of photos yet.