You know you’re screwed when you find yourself sitting at the aiport floor surrounded by all your belongings, departure is only one hour away and you realize that your passport is the only thing that is NOT with you! The next four hours were the most stressful ones in a really long time..
Good thing I knew exactly where my passport must have been when I was at Denpasar airport in Bali. The problem was it would take more than an hour to go get it and go back to the airport in time. The optimistic in me tried anyways!
Leaving the airport building, I wanted to get a reasonable price for the cab ride but of course the cab driver wanted to rip me off. An Australian looking guy overheared me explaining my situation in a panicing voice, so he stepped up and handed me 200k Indonesian Rupiahs. I started to cry because I was so touched by that reaction, thanks again to the nice stranger saving my ass!
I got in the cab, still crying, but soon realiyed this wasn’t going fast enough with the trafic jam. The driver recommended a scooter taxi. I think at this point he felt sorry for me since I was still crying, just couldn’t stop. I got on the back of the scooter and we drove off en route to the hostel we stayed a week ago where I had to leave my passport at the reception. We must have fogotten to pick it up at check out and they didn’t mention it!
My driver was, much to my dislike very laid-back and not in a rush at all. Instead he thought it would be nice to tell me something about the sights while passing by. At that point I didn’t know wheter to laugh or cry, needless to explain that I was pretty desperate and overwhelmed.
As we got to the hostel, I ran in and the guy took his sweet time looking through the passports to find mine. I was literally jumping up and down at his desk trying to hurry up the process. When he finally handed over the right one, I ran off and tried to explain the scooter driver that we only have 20 minutes left until departure. He started a discussion about his knowlegde of the city and that he didn’t need the maps this time. “Fine. Just hurry up, please!!!”, I thought.
Traffic was horrible. I watched the minutes running down on my cell and at 6:05 PM, departure for my flight, I knew that my intention to make this flight had been ridiculous all along. I looked up at the sky and tried to relax because it was too late now anyways. A few minutes later I saw my plane in the air, leaving without me.
After arriving at the airport, I had a new mission: I needed to get another ticket, cheap and fast. If I would have known what a hassle this was going to be, I probably would have had a shot of vodka first!
The woman at the information desk sent me through the entire airport to buy a new ticket at the counter where I could purchase a ticket to Shanghai for 300€. I had a connecting flight sitting there plus my friend that already had taken our original flight awaiting me in China. This was still much cheaper than the route to Germany so obviously I wanted to get it right away. The only thing I still needed to do was transfering the money from my bank account to my pre-paid credit card that I use for traveling.
Now of all days, the next thing had to happen on THAT day! The website of my bank had broken down and the online banking wasn’t working for that matter. I couldn’t even reach their 24/7 hotline. I mean, for real?!
I didn’t know any other way but call my dad for help which I hated to do since I usually take care of everything in my life alone. But at that point I just was clueless of what to do next. He didn’t answer his phone – great.
With tears filling my eyes I called my big brother. He didn’t answer either. Instead he sent a text asking what was going on. I simply replied ‘I’m in trouble’. Enough to get him on the phone immediately. He did everything to calm me down and gave me his best friends credit card info (my brother doesn’t own one) so I could pay that flight and getting out of my mysery.
The woman at the counter apologized but she could only do the booking with a credit card that I had on me, she needed to swipe it.
Of course every possibile thing had to go the wrong way..I mean have you every had one of those days where everything, really EVERYTHING goes wrong?
My brother, being my hero in that situation, calmed me down and tried to book the flight online. That didn’t work either because as it turns out, you can only book flights online when departure is more than 4 hours away.
The very last option was getting money on my credit card, no matter how but as fast as possible because I only had 10 minutes left to book my flight before the counter closed the tickets for that route. So my brother said he would transfer money through paypal and in the meantime I tried one last time to transfer it from my own account through online banking and thank god, the website of my bank worked and I was finally able to make the transaction and buy the ticket just in time to rush to my gate and board!
When I sat down in my seat, I was so relieved. All the stress from the past hours was blown away. Well..the free wine on board helped, too 😀
Touched down in Shanghai, my friend gave me a ‘welcome back’ hug and we enjoyed a freezingly cold but beautiful day in China before heading back to the airport to check in for the final flight from our 6 weeks of traveling when I had to face the next issue, but that is another story for another day..
What was your biggest travel disaster? Let me know in the comments below 🙂