This came via SMS this morning. Bits of it included "M @ Narita. Only fnd out flight wz 2335 n going to Tokyo (not Kobe!). Going to Ter**o fctory 1st thn tk shinkanzen to Kobe..."
That was from Ayah. He took the Airport Limo and left the house at 9:00p.m last night, informing me that his flight to Kobe was to be at 2355. Trust Ayah to not pay attention to all those irrelevant details...
He knew that he was going to a Cardiology Conference in Kobe, and he knew that he had to be the moderator for 3 of the sessions. He also knew that all expenses would be paid by Ter**o (a Japanese company which supplies medico-cardio equipments). That much he knew. And I guess that was why he thought that he would be flying straight to Kobe! Logically, THAT should be the case, right? And Ayah only dwells with logic, being a melancholic that he is.
What he didn't know was that his sponsors had arranged for a visit to their factory in Shin-Fuji, and that they would be bringing him and a few other cardiologist to the factory, and that they would be doing a demo and that they would be promoting some of their new machines to them. Luckily he was travelling with his sponsors and a group of other cardiologists. If not, AIIYOOOOO! Pengsan! I guess, all these 'little' details were rather trivial for Ayah to pay much attention to them? (Double Aiiiyyyooo!!)
Just like it was SO trivial to him to check whether his passport was still valid for travel or not. This was what happened three weeks ago. Ayah was scheduled to go to Ahmadebad, India on 17 January 2007 as a Faculty member for a Conference there and his sponsors had asked him to give his passport to them so that they could apply for his Visa to enter India. He did just that on 4th January 2007, only to be told 4 days later (i.e. on 8th January 2007) that they could not apply for the Indian Visa on his behalf because apparently his passport had expired in June last year ("apparently"?! Duuuhhh!!!) Anyway, as it was a bit of a rush, and it would be risky for Ayah to try to renew his passport then and apply for the Indian Visa, and as there was no guarantee that he would get his passport back from the Indian High Comm before 11th January, Ayah decided to cancel his trip to India. (YESSS!!!!)
Why did it have to be before 11th January? Well, he was scheduled to go to Surabaya on that date! So, off he went to renew his passport on 9th January at Pusat Bandar Damansara. Have to say that we were VERY impressed with the Immigration Department. No hassles, no queues. Only an ATM look-alike machine to deal with, and Ayah's passport was ready for collection after 2 hours (but he only went to collect it on 10th January,) and off he flew to Surabaya on 11th January.
And guess what? You guys wouldn't believe this - that was NOT the first time that this happened. Check this out - way back in 1992, Ayah managed to fly back to Malaysia from London Heathrow without ANYONE realizing or noticing that he was in fact travelling with an expired passport! It was quite mind-boggling that the security and the check-in counters had not noticed this when they were (supposed to be) doing their job at the airport! I guess security at Heathrow was pretty laxed then. Ayah was only told about this by his Arwah Daddy when the latter was going through all the passports belonging to the entourage, while he was waiting for the next boxed meal to be served on the flight! What can I say? That was just pure luck!
In a way, this is somewhat a blessing in disguise.
If it was not because Ayah had to apply for his Visa to enter India, he would not have discovered that his passport had expired.
And if he had not discovered about it then, he would have probably ONLY found out about it just as he was about to check in at the airport on the morning he was to fly to Surabaya, and chances were - he would not have been allowed to leave tanah tumpah darahnya to go to tanah seberang that day!
And if he did not leave the country that day, he would not have come back from Surabaya with all the batik tenun for me (Hahaha!), and the 15 kilos of keropok Indonesia.
It is also of course, a blessing in disguise as because of that, he had to cancel his Ahmadebad trip. Remember in my earlier posting in which I wrote that I was hoping and I was trying very hard to persuade him to cancel at least one of his trips abroad because of his slipped discs? Well, God is Great and truly works and moves in mysterious ways. My prayers were answered... So, his trips abroad were cut down from three to two this month (Lucky me! Happy me!)
I guess Ayah had been pretty lucky with all things which seemed trivial to him. But, I hope he would at least try to make an effort to dwell on seemingly trivial issues from now on. Who knows how "UNtrivial" and how life-changing they could be? But, for now, let's pray that Ayah's lucky stars are here to stay. Amin. :)