The Devil's in the Details - Tale of the Taxi that Wasn't
It was a long day. A several hour journey from Vietnam to Thailand with my father turned into a 12 hour journey, after multiple delays.
We landed, I was tired and cranky and I just wanted to be at the hotel immediately. Remembering that my father had gotten some Thai currency from his bank back in Canada before we left, I told him I was going to skip the atm, so we could just get out of there as quickly as possible.
The arrivals area in Phuket, Thailand has tight security. They've had some security issues in the past few years, so the police there mean business.
Once you leave the arrivals hall, you cannot go back in. There is an airport taxi booth just outside arrivals and only sanctioned taxis can drive up. I gave them the address of the hotel, and they gave me the price, and my dear ol' Dad, who is eternally confused by foreign currency handed me his wallet with a shrug.
I quickly counted out the cash, barely paying attention, impatient to get to the hotel. As I handed the woman the cash, she stared at it inquisitively and then called over her boss. I furrowed my eyebrows, thinking she must have thought it was fake. I was about to assure her that the cash came from the bank, when her boss looks at me and says "This is not Thai Baht. This money is for Taiwan."
All of my crankiness and impatience flew out the window as I cackled at my dad. If I had paid more attention to the cash when I counted it out, I would have noticed the Chinese characters. He admitted that either he, or the bank staff in my small town got the countries confused. Both are equally plausible, he mused.
I took the cash, and walked back over to the terminal to exchange it at the currency exchange. The security guard who escorted me back inside after quite a bit of explaining and id checks laughed. The staff at the currency exchange laughed and called over their colleagues to hear the story. Then someone gave me a free coin purse as a gift for my funny story.
And we were on our way to the hotel, a little cheered up!