On the day we decided to leave the small Thai town we were visiting to make our way back to Bangkok, we met Miriam. The giant backpacks were probably a dead give away that we too were heading somewhere new and soon we had a friend for our bus ride to Bangkok. She is a freshman in college and decided to randomly book a trip to escape the routine in Germany between semesters. The original plans were 5 weeks in Thailand (including a visa run).
We were reassured, as if it wasn’t obvious, that she was a complete extravert. And she asked to tag along a bit and of course we didn’t mind, after all, she is an extremely pleasant person. It wasn’t until we got to the bus station and she had a mini-panic about what to do, that I realized that she might not be as confident or as comfortable in Thailand as I originally thought. We eventually extended an invitation to stay at the Park Plaza (Radisson owned) with us. That night I booked a room at the Radisson Suites near by, to give us more room. And more room we had. It was the largest room in the hotel (I wrote about it here).
In November we were lucky enough to get in on the Club Carlson promotion where they give 50,000 points for one stay. My wife and I each booked a room at the same Radisson in Canada… on the same night. We slept in the one that got upgraded. :-p
Using the points we had earned to share with Miriam was a good thing. What we later found out is that she was having a bit of a hard time and it all hit her just a few hours before we met. To me, it sounded like culture shock, though she insisted that part of it is traveling alone as an extravert. Either way, she needed some comforting and I’m hoping the largest suite at the Radisson did the trick. But I don’t think she values suites nearly as much as she does friendship. And it was great that we got to meet up with our friends Dave and Michelle. The five of us got to go to their hotel and Michelle made us mojitos before we dined at the Sizzlers salad bar. It’s hard to get better than that while traveling.
After a couple days of our pace, more work than play and more hotel than hostels, she decided to move on. She worked up the courage and made a plan with Carrie and we saw her to the bus station. The email we got from her when she arrived at her next destination was very sweet.
“… The special thing to me is that you did it without expecting anything for it and I think this doesn’t happen very often in this world. It’s great to know that there are people like you still around. Now I feel very confident again an I am looking forward to go on with my travelling…”
Like I said she is very pleasant, kind, and fun to be around. It was definitely our pleasure.
The next part of the story is not as pleasant. Miriam was scratched-up a bit in what for others was a fatal bus accident (Michelle sent us this link after we shared with her Miriam’s frightening experience). This shook her enough that, after staying with friends in the hospital for a few days, she caught a flight back to Germany. The kind of thing that inspires mothers to develope unreasonable worry about their traveling children actually happened to her. I hope it doesn’t completely discourage her future travels but the most important thing is that she is okay.
In the end, we made a lasting friendship and we look forward to visiting “Miri” in Germany.