Stickman Readers' Submissions July 29th, 2003

Hiding Money

When you are half way around the world there are three things that you need to avoid:

1. Ill health – being sick, or incapacitated, or hospitalized in a Third world country is a horror. Simple diarrhoea can take away your pride and your ability to defend yourself.

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2. Police problems – all problems with Thai police are police problems. Intellectually I find the bribery system reprehensible and not in keeping with my obviously superior person. But Thailand is not an intellectual environment. So I heartily endorse the practicality of the bribery system and try to always have some 'grease' money on me.

3. Losing your money – you would think this would be obvious: but not one person in a hundred has really thought it out. We are so egocentric that we assume that we have value simply because of who we are. Wrong. Your value is directly related to how much money you have. Lose your money and you lose your value.

So here are some tips on how to hide your money in your hotel room. I know what you are saying: "I put all my extra money in the hotel safe in the lobby." Really! All your money? You put all your extra money in one place! And you really don't believe there is a master key to all those lock boxes? Suppose you put a fish in your lock box and after 10 days the whole lobby starts to smell like rotten fish. Are you telling me that they can't get into your lock box?! Of course they can! And that means a hotel employee who is trying to redistribute the wealth can also. And no you won't get your money back. So I spread my money around a little bit. That means some of it is in my hotel room.

When I get to Thailand the first thing I buy is a little screwdriver. It used to be that you could travel with jack knives or screwdrivers in your luggage but those days are gone. Off comes the back of the TV and in goes some Baht. Next I take down the hollow shower rod and in goes some rolled up baht. I got that idea from my father. The man was a genius. I may put it on his tombstone. Next I crawl into the corner of the closet and I pull up a corner of the carpet and under the carpet goes some baht. Next I take one of the chair cushions and remove the chair cover (there is always a zipper). Using the screwdriver as a knife I slash a nice slot in the foam seat and in goes some baht. You can put a lot of stuff in these cushions and never feel it when you sit down. Unscrew the bottom of the phone and in goes some baht. You can put baht inside pillows similar to the chair cushion routine. I've had little thieves sleeping with their heads on pillows of baht and they didn't even know it. But the best idea is the simplest and the most convenient. All window curtains all over the world are constructed the same. They roll up the bottom and sew in a giant hem. By cutting a few stitches in the corner of the curtain you have a convenient baht pocket. This is where I put my 'honey' money. I wait until their backs are turned or they are in the bathroom and then I quickly take out what I need. From their point of view the money just 'appears'. They never see me go to my wallet.

So there it is guys. Rob my wallet and credit cards. I've still got money. Clean out my hotel safe. I've still got money. Ideally, I always have enough in my hotel room so that I can get a cab and airfare out of the country. Remember, it is only a vacation if you know you can leave. If suddenly you can't leave, you are in Hell.

Stickman says:

I do actually get a lot of emails from people who have had stuff stolen from their hotels, from their room when they were sleeping (no bargirl present – or so they claim), and the big one, from hotel safety deposit boxes. worst of all, hotels will often shirk any responsibility, irrespective of where the belongings were stored EVEN IN THE SAFETY DEPOSIT BOX! So, it is wise to be careful!

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