Rochester >> Bangkok >> ???
Allison and I officially bought tickets to Bangkok the other day. We leave October 17, which is 54 days from now. It feels like there's a lot to do, planning-wise, and I'm trying to get a little mental perspective on whether that's a long ways away or a short one.
Getting a 60-day tourist visa for Thailand is the first snafu, as one of the requirements is proof of a return/onward plane ticket, which of course we don't have, as we are NEVER coming back to a country where either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump is president. OK, that's probably not true. BUT, we don't have plans that far in advance. Our "plan," such as it is, is to take a train to Malaysia when our 60 days in Thailand are up. The catch is that train tickets can't be purchased that far in advance, and they may not even be acceptable as proof of an "onward" journey—I can't tell from these jankey travel blogs and forums, most of which seem like they're about three years old. Even the Thai Consulate website is frustratingly unclear. It seems like many people just buy a $50 plane ticket from Thailand to some nearby place in Southeast Asia to satisfy the "onward ticket" requirement.
We were also immediately appalled by the exorbitant price of passport photos, which are necessary for visas everywhere. Approximately $13 for two at most drugstores! Since we'll likely be be going to at least five different countries (Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, possibly Laos and/or Cambodia) that would be another $100+ each down the drain. Far more sensible, Allison (always the thrifty one) pointed out, to just download the PassportBooth app and print out 4 x 6 sheets of passport photos at those same drugstores for a few cents each. I thought only pharmaceutical CEOs could live with a 1,000 percent markup, or whatever the hell it is, but apparently the people at CVS, Right Aid, etc., have no conscience either. Must be something about being in the "health care" business that turns people into rapacious extortionists.
In any case, these are just details. I'm sure we'll sort them out. I'll feel better a couple of weeks from now when I have my Thai visa in hand, and better still a month or so after that, when we get off the plane in Bangkok. Until then, I'll just have to keep to a minimum my anxiety about being turned away at the gate by the Chinese airline that's flying us to Thailand (apparently they're the ones who would have to foot the bill if we made it all the way to Thailand and were turned away by immigration). We'll be flying out of the Toronto airport, so maybe Allison and I will see Drake in line for some far-flung adventure of his own (a birthday bash in the Maldives?) and can grab a selfie with October's Very Own himself. It would be only fitting, as we are obviously on our way to becoming international superstars ourselves very soon...