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The Darker Side Of Travel

Posted by Lester Madden under Travel

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Wow no blog for 2 weeks. But I have a good excuse. I have been on holiday.

2 weeks in the sun in Barbados doing nothing but sitting by the beach. Only on holiday do you get wife permission to drink alcohol at 10am each morning.(Probably no bad thing). With the holiday a dim distant memory its straight back into work now, I got home from holiday on Saturday morning, the first email I saw was asking if I could be out in San Francisco this week, so here I am. So far it’s been a trip from hell.

I had to get up at 4am to get to Heathrow airport, when I arrived I tried to use the check-in machine but had no luck, so I had to queue up for 30 minutes. When I gave the guy my passport and booking reference he couldn’t find me either, so that led to some frantic calls to the travel agent. To cut that part of the story down, it turned out that the travel agent had booked the flight but the ticket hadn’t been paid for. I had 2 choices either pay for it myself or go home. So I opted to pay for it. Another 30 minutes go by and I get to the front of the queue, by now they only have middle seats available, but I get a message from the travel agent that they have tracked down the payment so at least I am in the clear.

The flight connected in LA and it was one of those where I had 45 minutes to clear immigration, collect my bag and clear customs, then work my way to the next gate. Even Tom Cruise would have scratched his head before accepting that mission impossible.

The first part worked out fine, immigration was empty so that only took 10 minutes. My bag however took 20 minutes, then I had to queue up to clear customs and put my bag on the next flight. I knew it had no chance. After I did that I had to make my way to another terminal, as luck had it (all bad) I had to leave the airport, walk to another terminal and queue up for another security check. I arrived with about 10 seconds to spare before they closed the aircraft door.

When I got to San Francisco airport needless to say my bag didn’t, but it took me an hour before that was confirmed, so after giving them all my details about my hotel I went off to get the free shuttle.

After waiting at the bus stop for 20 minutes I found there is no longer a free shuttle, so I had to get a airport transfer bus. No worries there that only took 10 minutes to arrive. The driver drove around the airport looking for other passengers and we eventually set off to the hotel. For some reason after driving for 20 minutes we arrive in a car park where we picked up 2 passengers whose car had broken down (I don’t know, I was too tired to ask). While waiting for the passengers to put their bags in the car the driver got a call to go back to the airport. So off we go back to San Francisco airport again to get our new recruits.

When I got to my hotel I was tired, I’d been awake for 26 hours by this point. I had no change of clothes, no toothbrush, just a laptop and charger. All I wanted was room service, to eat some food and to sleep. But more good news, the hotel doesn’t do room service so I had to drag my tired smelly body out to find something to eat.

The following morning I found my meeting had started 30 minutes earlier than I thought, and to make matters worse when I left the hotel I had one of those ‘where the hell am I’ moments. I wanted the Marriott hotel, and I got the Marriott hotel, but what I actually really wanted was the Hilton hotel. So as I left the reception I realised that I had no clue where I was. Nokia Maps saved my life and I finally had some good news, the hotel was only about 300 yards from the office and tucked away around the corner so things were looking up. I still managed to walk in to the wrong building but I managed to get where I needed to be.

When I looked at news yesterday the first headline I saw was an article about tremors in the San Andreas fault (San Francisco is on the fault line) and how this could lead to a big earthquake in the near future. With my luck it will. This morning I woke up with a bad sore throat, but at least my bags arrived which is great news, nothing in life is better than a shower and clean clothes.

And all my friends think travel is glamorous.

(I’m actually in San Mateo, it’s just outside San Francisco)

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Reader's Comments

  1. Antony |

    It’s horrible when you arrive from a long trip, finally arrive at your hotel, check-in, have a shower, and are just ready to have something warm to eat and go to bed when you discover that there’s no room service. Sympathy! After happening to me twice I now check.

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  5. abigail |

    woww….I can’t believe!!?

    Is there any hotel like theta? there is no room service….OMG!!
    It’s just never happened to me.

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  7. steve |

    hi dude you don’t know when you’ve had it so good,all that excitment and a holiday. Lol.

  8. Experienced Traveler |

    Not packing a change of clothes in hand luggage = amateur mistake…no sympathy for that!

  9. Lester Madden |

    normally I pack a change of clothes, but you know what its like when you take 10 trips and nothing bad happens to you.. you get sucked into a false sense of security – then wham…. it all goes wrong

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