A Spontaneous and Relaxing Vacation by Hal Marquez
I can be fairly anal when making plans. In my job, I live by the calendar in Outlook. Meetings, Conferences, Training and the daily routine are all governed by my calendar. I do the same thing when going on vacation.
I know that a vacation is a time to relax and not watch the clock. But, I still like to have some sort of schedule to get the most out of my 2 1/2 week holiday. Planning works well for me everywhere except for Pattaya. I haven’t quite figured out why – I just know that all my plans get thrown out the window every time I go to Pattaya.
My upcoming trip has already been disrupted and I haven’t even left home yet. Me and a couple of buddies go to Thailand every year – usually in the September/October time frame. My son wanted to come along again with us this year but couldn’t get time off from his job until December. So, the rest of us changed our plans and we set things up for December.
Well, my son went and got married in August (while I was on my last holiday in Pattaya) and his wife gave birth to a beautiful little girl 3 weeks ago. So, now the proud papa needs to be with his wife and baby and the 3 Musketeers will still go in December.
But, we almost didn’t make it. With the price of oil rising and tickets relatively scarce during December, we decided to purchase our tickets a little earlier than usual. We usually get tickets about 4 – 6 weeks prior to flying. So, I called my travel agent and booked 3 tickets on September 18 and the very next morning there was a coup in Thailand.
I followed the news, contacted some friends in Bangkok and Pattaya and got the “inside” info and found that there was nothing to worry about. Martial law was in effect – but it had no impact on tourism. Then a bombshell was dropped. The Command General of the Army in the Pacific banned all travel for Military and Government Civilians to Thailand – period. Great. As government civilians, we all fell into this category.
I couldn’t understand the reasoning since the US State Department didn’t impose any travel restrictions to Thailand. But, the General is the big boss and his word is law. We sweated this out for approximately one month until October 20th when the good General lifted the travel ban and we breathed a group sigh of relief.
I hope this isn’t a sign of things to come. Or maybe I should just change my plans to be – Have a great time in the Land of Smiles and not worry about the day-to-day activities. That will certainly make it less stressful but the lack of a schedule may just drive me nuts. Oh well, I will try my best to just have fun and not worry about the minor details.