Saturday, March 22, 2008

Remorse Code

These Figures Are Music To My Ears


Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON


There is no remorse like buyer remorse. Hmmmm, yep. But having pondered that profound statement, I think I can take it one step further. There is no remorse like buyer remorse when you are overseas and your suitcases are filled to capacity and you know that every item you buy is going to add an obscene amount to what you will shortly have to hand over to the airline in overweight charges.

With today's Photo Hunt theme being "Metal", this episode bears tellling. So there we were, the whole Authorblog family, in Bangkok at the tail end of a six-week holiday. First we had shopped well but not wisely in Hong Kong, then we had shopped well but not wisely in three cities in India, and now we had a week in Thailand before returning home.

The suitcases were splitting at the seams. The order was out, in triplicate. No shopping in Thailand. But we bought a few things on the first day. And we bought a few things on the second day. And we .... oh, you get the general idea, don't you?

On the second last day, I made superb use of my scientific background. I got all the Thai purchases and stashed them all together, the better to calculate the cubic capacity of the extra - yes, extra - suitcase we had no option but to buy. Let's just say it was a large suitcase.

Then the order went out again, this time in deadly earnest. No more shopping.

On our second-last day, we walked into this bric-a-brac shop. Big Mistake. BIG Mistake. So we bought a reclining Buddha, some big (but very light) masks, a beautiful carved wooden mirror and some other odds and sods. Finally we saw these three figures of traditional Thai musicians in full regalia. They weren't very big - not quite 15 centimetres. So we agreed to buy three. And then I realised how incredibly heavy the metal was. Each figure, despite being so compact, was about two pounds or almost a kilogram.

In for a penny, in for a pound - literally. Or maybe that should be "in for a baht, in for a pound". We bought the figures and took them back to our hotel. Next day, it was my solemn duty to wheel the trolley laden with more suitcases than a rock band towards the airline counter, whistling nonchalantly to create the impression that they were light as a feather.

Let's cut a long story short. The woman at the Cathay Pacific counter just gave us our boarding cards, didn't ask if we were part of a travelling circus - and didn't charge us overweight either. After the episode of the three Thai musicians, yes, that was music to my ears.

44 comments:

Maggie May said...

Well you got it all back home, by more luck than management, but WHERE did you display it all when you did get back to your house? Sounds like a serious amount of nicknacks!

ChristineEldin said...

Okay, this is weird. I'm reading your post, and in the background a BBC reporter is saying "Music to your ears."
So I guess I should read this post carefully for clues on how to lead my life.
:-)

Dave Coulter said...

My theory is that the more miles that these treasures travel the greater their value.

I speak from experience!

Carolyn said...

David - we're on the same wavelength this week! How often does one get to use the phrase "travelling circus" in life? And yet we both used it in post within a day of each other. Check my reference here:

the mind of a three year old and the story behind rainy day bunny

You'll find it in the paragraph that begins "After much searching..."

It's a long and silly story. Sorry.

As for your travel and overweight baggage woes, I can SO relate. I lived on a cruise ship for six months and I did it three times. You can only imagine how much in overweight baggage charges I have spent in my lifetime!

Great story, great pictures, thanks for sharing.

Lee said...

Brother! You were lucky there. I've had to pay for increased weight before. It's incredibly expensive.

Beautiful statues btw. Thanks for sharing these lovely images with us.

Cheers!

CrazyCath said...

Clearly your whistling fooled her. Or maybe she just wanted you to stop...(smile)

Beautiful pieces. Well worth the risk of the possible extra charge. I'd have done it.

Lana Gramlich said...

Somehow I manage to travel out of a single knapsack these days. I make sure not to bring enough tops, as I typically treat myself to a t-shirt from every destination, but that's about it. Glad you caught a break, though!

---Michael--- said...

When my unit was ordered to Korea for annual training, we were warned about overbuying (everything was homemade in little shops and replicated anything you can imagine famous-brand-wise, and then some) by the pronouncement that EVERYTHING we took over we had to bring back, and that EVERYTHING we bought over there had to fit into our ONE duffel bag with the rest of our gear. What ensued was some very creative packing and stomping and compressing, and some of those bags took two men to lift properly! Thanks for bringing back the memory...

Janice Thomson said...

What absolutely divine pieces - I'd have found a way to bring them home too. How wonderful you were not charged.

Carver said...

Great story and lovely metal figures. My downfall when traveling has been books. At least with books, I know they are going to be heavy. Small metal figures could be very misleading. Hope you have a great weekend.

jennifer h said...

Maybe she thought you were whistling AT her. :-)

Amazing that you didn't get charged for the weight. They are beautiful, and would have been worth the added cost.

lime said...

they are lovely!

i can remember trips to trinidad where i carried a ton of items down that were requested by friends and then bought plenty to tote home myself. one time i had a huge iron cooking pot and about 30 yards of fabric in addition to many bottled and jarred condiments and seasonings. my bag was just BARELY under the weight restriction.

SandyCarlson said...

Well worth the trouble! Beautiful, David.

Anna said...

David that sounds like great trip. I used to buy stuff during travel, but then I was having difficulty to find a place at home. Therefore, camera was the best ever investment, because I take photo memories back only. And sometimes I buy postcards, lol. Thanks for sharing, these are very nice photos. Anna :)

leslie said...

You went all that way and I took a walk around my neighbourhood to find metal stuff! Good story. :D

Napaboaniya said...

That's the norm of traveling. You leave with 1 baggage, you return with a couple more!! Must have been great visiting HK & BKK. A lot of Singaporeans travel to these 2 places just to shop over the weekends. It's a mad rush buy in 2 days!
Chatuchak is a great place in BKK for shopping bargains :)

Dav, wishing you a blessed Easter weekend!

Tammy said...

Shopping for knick knacks is the best part of vacationing...well at least for a women it is. LOL!

Kathryn said...

Whew! You got lucky that time!

jmb said...

Well how could you resist these lovely statues. Just as if you knew they were needed for this week's theme.

Gawdess said...

beautiful detail on these and I think our families share the same accruing tendancies.

Cowgirl said...

Yeeha! Must have been the nochalenance that got you through! Bet you wish you bought more now.....

Great story, David, reminds me of the time the guy at the airport asked if I had rocks in my carry on luggage.... erm, yes, actually. Had been fossicking about on a West Coast gemstone beach and found some beauties. Maybe a few more than some to be honest...

quilly said...

When I went to Guatemala, I took two suit cases -- one inside the other -- so I had an empty suit case ready for treasure. Actually, I filled BOTH suitcases, and left most of my clothes behind at a women's shelter. Priorities, you know.

rajson said...

Great Story!
It,s so easy to shop too much, but you make it!
Happy Easter!

Lynn said...

Can't blame you, shopping is hard to resist. You have here beautiful pieces.

Julie at Virtual Voyage said...

Great post, and these comments are priceless.

All I basically bring back from holidays now are photographs - digital - and one chosen piece of rock for the garden. (Usually weighs a couple of tons, but you get the drift)....

oldmanlincoln said...

Interesting that you were able to accomplish this without any problems.

Have a nice holiday weekend.

Abraham Lincoln
Brookville, Ohio

Ivan Girl said...

lovely pieces! :)

must be gratifying to shop there.
reminds me of my carefree travelling days. :)

Happy PhotoHunting!

jams o donnell said...

Ha, they were well worth risking the excess baggage charges! I love them. Have a great weekend

Hootin' Anni said...

Loved the background to these beautiful pieces of art. And they ARE beautiful!!!

Happy Easter [or happy weekend, if you don't observe the holiday], and if you can, drop by for my metal interpretation!!! See if you can guess what it is.

Akelamalu said...

You just cannot NOT buy in Bankok it's impossible. We vowed if we go again not to take any clothes and just buy new when we get there remembering to leave room for the souvenirs!

We have never been charged extra for luggage, I guess we've been lucky like you! :)

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Those are wonderful! Had I not sworn off lust for Lent, I would... well, you know.

Cindy said...

Did they have to have a second airplane to haul it all home for you?
My metal is here.

Sarge Charlie said...

this is an excellent entry.

Seamus said...

My sister and her family live in Bangkok and Jakarta for nearly 20 years and she says you just never get over the shopping bug - it was just too easy apparently. She now lives in Washington DC and wrote recently that she doesn't know what to do with all "the stuff" - LOL!

Katney said...

Souvenirs--always a question. Precious artifacts to remind us of our travels. Gifts to bring home to let those who didn't go know we were thinking of. I find souvenir buying difficult, too.

I have fifteen grandchildren. How can I find something worth giving to each of them and still afford my return ticket?

Then there are the precious items that you wish you had gotten one more of because you will never have an opportunity to return to whatever far distant place you ahve visited.

No wonder we need an extra suitcase.

Charles Gramlich said...

Beautiful pieces shown here, though. They'll be cool when you get them home. Glad that attendent didn't charge you overage.

aims said...

It must have been the whistling....
Good job!

LibertyBelle said...

I agree - very beautiful!!
Happy weekend
L

the teach said...

David, those Thai musicians were worth every penny and every pound (pun intended)for their beauty.

I have a Easter greeting for you here

archiearchive said...

I would like to nominate Smoke and Mirrors - especially his poem for his father.

archiearchive said...

Oops - I accidentally posted the previous comment on this posting - it was supposed to go on the "post of the day" for Friday - my bad :(

denz said...

Wow! what a lovely picture for this week theme, just keep it up and enjoy what you are doing!

Check mine also in HERE!!!

Happy Easter!

Pato & Pearl said...

Great find in Bangkok. I never grew tired everytime i stepped in that country full of smiles..;) and shopping of course..hahaha

pearl - have a good weekend

Amrita said...

Good stuff.
Happy Easter