Every trip is not complete without some funny and, often, embarrassing anecdote. I thought my Bali trip was about to end smoothly, but I was wrong. I had an early flight back to Singapore then. I left the hostel at around 4am and asked Ketut (the driver) to bring me to the airport. Since I was feeling happy about my successful “loner adventure”, I decided to be generous by giving my extra Rupiahs to Ketut as a tip. I will not be able to spend the Rupiah in SG anyway, so why not just give it to him for his wonderful service? I waved him goodbye and promised that I’ll definitely recommend their hostel. I entered the airport without any hint of imminent problem. But upon entering the Immigration counter, something unexpected came up. They were asking me to pay for some travel tax (I cannot remember what it was exactly). It was not a big deal, except that I had nothing! I only had 10,000 rupiah which was barely enough for the payment. Before going to Bali, I read somewhere that there is indeed some tax that tourists need to pay, but I thought it would be paid upon arrival. And so, I wholeheartedly gave my leftover money to Ketut thinking that I did not need to pay anything upon departure. Ah..why was I so dumb to give him most of my cash?! I immediately looked for an ATM to try to withdraw. But I knew this was going to be useless ‘coz I did not activate my card for overseas transactions. Yes, I was careless and stupid like that. Haha. I tried to think for other options. I have always kept different currencies in my wallet, some of these bills are remembrances from my other trips, some are given by my friends. I did not intend to keep them for emergencies like this, but thank God I did so. I went to the money changer. It was quite embarrassing because the bills are not of high value and they were very varied – Taiwanese dollar, Ringgit, USD, and Singapore Dollars. But still, it was not enough. Desperation and panic started to sink in. What if I miss the flight? I did not want to spend another couple hundred of dollars for another ticket. What’s worse, what if I’ll be stuck in this airport… forever?? Okay, that’s kinda absurd. I willed myself to find other ways. I knew the only remaining option was to ask for money – from strangers. I’m sure those kind-looking travelers will understand me, right? Whatever, no time to be ashamed. I gathered all my courage and charm and walk straight to the Immigration counter. I strategically chose the one that has no foreigners lined up. Luckily, the girl in the counter was young-looking, I think even younger than me, so I did not feel scared that she would shout at me or something. I explained to her very sweetly what happened – how I was short of cash and that I am unable to withdraw from the ATM. Will she be kind enough to lend me some rupiah so that I can go back to SG? I promise, I will send her back the money. I even gave her my cellphone number and I took hers. Please, please.. take pity on this miserable, dumb traveler. She was smiling at me and I think she was empathizing – or was she laughing at my stupidity? Nevertheless, my prayer was answered and the universe was still wonderfully cooperating with me! Yusmalinda agreed to cover the amount that I needed and she happily allowed me to pass through that ever-important Immigration line! Yay! I was so relieved and I cannot help but to just laugh at my own little mishap. Faith in humanity restored! Thank you very much, Yusmalinda!
This is one embarrassing story that ought to be told over a cup of coffee (or mug of beer, perhaps) with friends. Then again, what’s so exciting about a trip without some bloopers, right? 🙂
- Always have available cash.
- Activate your card for overseas transactions.
- In case of emergency, smile, be calm, and use you charm.
(Right after getting back in SG, I messaged Yusmalinda to ask her bank details so that I can send back the money. But she gracefully declined and told me that there was no need to do so. She said she was just happy to have helped me. Aww.. thank you again, Yusmalinda. I will return your kindness, if not with you, but with some other stranger.)