Language warning in this post. Apologies grandparents, but I think it was justified.
15th January (yes I’m still 3 weeks behind, don’t judge me): I hopped on the bus out of Sukhothai this morning heading up to Chiang Mai, where I planned to get my Chinese visa – looked like it was going to be just as easy as Bangkok, and hopefully a nicer place to spend the waiting time in. Once I’d checked into my guesthouse I went into the inside pocket of my rucksack where my little stash of visa dollars are kept.
Only they’re not.
Fuck fuck fuckity fuck fuck shitting monkey bollocks.
The money wallet is still there, but all that is left in there is a single creased one dollar bill, which I feel has been left purely so that George Washington can give me the middle finger. On further (frantic) inspection I find that I need to claim for/cancel a camera, a driving licence, a credit card and 240 dollars. Well, bugger. I know I had them when I got to Sukhothai, so they were either stolen from my hotel room (camera may have gone out with me but my cards and dollars certainly didn’t), or the bus to Chiang Mai. Given that my rucksack was locked with two combination padlocks that were still locked when I arrived, my money’s on the hotel.
First things first, call Halifax (OK, second thing. First thing was thanking heaven that I have a global simcard.) After cancelling my card they ask if I’d like to check whether anyone’s tried to use it. Um. Yes? Shouldn’t that be obvious?
On hold for a while… Using the time productively on the DVLA website getting a new driving licence. This is really easy thankfully, though it does cost £20, and at some point I think the lost/stolen questions and the damaged questions get mixed up because they ask me if I’m going to post them my old driving licence.
Still on hold… Read entire loss/theft section of insurance policy
Still on hold… Starting to consider plucking my leg hair in boredom.
Eventually I learn that yes, someone had used my card for a cash transaction of £493 on the 13th. Oh shit. It’s still pending, so there’s a chance I won’t be charged, but as it’s still pending I can’t do anything about it, so I have to just frantically watch my credit card statements in case it shows up. This has taught me two things.
1. It was stolen before the bus journey. Which means it was stolen from my LOCKED hotel room. Which means it was probably stolen by staff. And since I have the public’s attention, staff at 4T Guesthouse, Sukhothai.
2. £493 is about 25000 baht. I swear every ATM I’ve used has told me the maximum I can withdraw is 5000 baht. If I could catch the thief I would really like to ask how they got around that as the ATM charges are really annoying. You know, after I’d finished sewing their arsehole shut and forcefeeding them laxatives.
While I was reading the insurance policy I noticed another problem. I need a loss report, which is usually a report from the police station or my tour company to say I’ve had stuff nicked and it hasn’t been recovered. I’m not with a tour company, and I’m not exactly close to Sukhothai police station anymore, so I called the claims number for advice. Apparently I can have a loss report by email from the hotel manager. It takes me at least five attempts to draft an email that doesn’t sound too furious. After all, I would really like a reply if my other option is taking the six hour bus all the way back to Sukhothai just to go to the police station.
I try to console myself with the fact that I had my passport and ATM card in my handbag and I recently got a smart phone for pictures, so at least nothing immediately vital is gone. Consoling myself this way doesn’t really work, so I go out for Mexican and try to find solace in a large burrito instead.
16th: Printed out a claim form at the internet cafe this morning while sorting out my visa stuff, then sat staring at it twiddling my thumbs since it’s useless to me without the loss report. Meanwhile let the devoted boyfriend know that he’ll have to print and post stuff for me. Fell like the worst girlfriend in world again. Hey, I know I’ve abandoned you for a year but would you mind running errands while you’re busy sat at home missing me?
17th: Still no email back from the guesthouse. Send them another rather sterner one to let them know that my next option is to go to the police. Not sure if I’d prefer them to take this as a threat or a plea, but it does seem to work and I get a vague garbled email back in the evening without a hint of an apology which says the staff didn’t take anything when they went into my room, quickly followed by saying that no one went into my room. Hmm. Well I suppose I don’t need an admission of guilt, just an acknowledgement that I reported the loss. Just in case, I forward it to the insurance company explaining what happened to ask if it’s sufficient in case I need to go back before leaving Thailand.
18th: Martin can’t find my camera receipt in my files. Damn. Hopefully a bank statement to Jessops will be enough. On the plus side my replacement cards have arrived.
20th: Late evening the day before I was planning to leave Thailand I get an email back from the insurance company saying the loss report isn’t good enough because it doesn’t say that I reported the loss on the day it happened. Cue bashing head against wall. Luckily when I call them they understand what I’m on about and why I couldn’t report it when it happened and say the loss report will be fine if I just explain all this on the claim form. I bite my tongue and decide not to mention that I did already explain all this in the email to them.
Hurrah, time for form filling, my favourite!
25th: Finally find an internet cafe with a scanner to send everything to Martin and cross fingers that this will be it until the claim is settled.
31st: No. Of course not. They need more letters, more statements and yet another essay explaining exactly what I already explained on the claim form. Oh, and they tell me there’s going to be an excess. I have asked them to explain why, since I paid extra for the excess WAIVER, but so far they have not seen fit to answer that part of my email.
6th: Given that I discovered this loss 3 weeks and 2 countries ago I had hoped I would have more of an update by now. Maybe by the time the blog is up to date they will have replied. I can’t decide which part of that sentence was least likely.
In happier news, getting my Chinese visa was way easier, despite my worries about traveling overland and therefore having nothing booked. It also turns out that in Chiang Mai you pay in baht, so I didn’t need dollars anyway (though I’d still need them for the next three visas). When I went to pick up the form I explained that I was entering and exiting by land so I didn’t have any flight details and I was just advised to write a letter with a detailed itinerary and show bookings for at least a weeks worth of hotels. Bit nervous about that since I haven’t actually decided where I’m going yet so I asked if my plans could change and she smiled and said yes, they could change once I entered the country. I think she must get that question a lot. With a map and a calendar I tried to come up with a vaguely plausible route in, out, back in and out again, and booked a few hotels on booking.com (no booking fees, free cancellation), and 6 days later (it would have been 4 if it weren’t for the weekend, which I reckon is pretty quick for what is supposed to be quite a complicated visa) I’m handed back my passport with a nice shiny double entry visa sticker in it.
I’m going to China!
This had been a fairly dull post, so here, have a picture of a temple.