As you all know by now, I am an experienced world traveler. What you may not know is that being an experienced world traveler does not mean you are any good at it. In fact, most of the valuable "experience" I have received while traveling was due to some negative situation that could have only occured because I am such a fucking moron. Don't believe me? See below.
Case(s) in point:
*In Auckland, NZ, many years ago, I went to a Singles Party I had won because I called up the local radio station and bitched about New Zealand men. Prior to this party I got loaded beyond relief, as did Kiwi and her brother. Kiwi got so loaded that she smartly stayed behind at puked at home while her brother and I reveled in debauchary. Did I mention that I had my passport with me? That I drunkly knocked my bag under the table? That after searching half-assedly and blindly for my passport and purse contents for about 5 seconds, I gave up and proceeded to go "Meh. It'll turn up." Well, it didn't. And I had the exciting task of trying to get a new passport while in another country. Fun, fun.
*Also in New Zealand...I got viciously drugged one night at a club and lost my cell phone. Even though I never stepped foot in a cab that night, it turned up in one a week later.
*New Zealand AGAIN: My mother and were traveling on a bus to the ferry station, heading over to the South Island. We were seated near the back of the bus. Behind us was a sketchy man who did not look like he could afford to take the ferry anywere. After I got of the bus and gathered my things, I realized I left my Louis Vuitton purse (a fake thank God, but new nonetheless) on the seat. And then the man bolted past us with my purse. We barely had time to board the ferry, let alone catch him. Purse, gone. Wallet with money and credit cards gone. New makeup, gone (Boo hoo hoo).
*Australia; Airlie Beach - Whilst leaning against a wall in reading a newspaper and grinning at Russel Crowe's win for Gladiator that I witnessed on the Academy Awards show the night before, I notice a sketchy man (yes another sketchy man) hovering about. Freaked, I take off down the road, only to leave my wallet behind. Thankfully, this man was actually an angel in disguise and I got my wallet back, money and everything intact.
*Australia, Townsville - I purposely sleep at the backpackers above the bus station so I won't miss my greyhound bus the next morning, which I have already paid for. I go down to the station early and wander off into a gift shop. I wonder when they are going to call my bus to board. Eventually I wander up to the counter and inquire about the bus leaving for Katherine (yesh, it's about 24 hours away by bus. Yesh I am nuts). The man behind the counter tells me that the bus left 10 minutes ago.
I'm about to freak. I'm about to cry. But this other angel in disguise tells me to get in his car and we can catch him. While the other clerk at the desk is radioing the bus to stop, I jump in his ute with my backpack and we race against time. Five minutes later we catch up to the greyhound which is pulled over on the side of the highway on the outskirts of town. I thank the man profusely and chagrined as hell, get on the bus. I think a few people clapped.
*Going to Disneyland - Poor Kiwi. How much of my insanity have you witnessed? This was no exception. I bought tickets to Disneyland online and they were shipped to my house. We were set to fly to LA in a week.
The time comes, we go to the airport. I have my plane tickets in hand. Kiwi asks "Got the tickets" I wave them at her.
Later, in the cab over, she asks again, "You sure you have the tickets?" "Yes!" I yell at her. Can't she see? I'm not a complete moron.
A wee bit later we are lining up to check-in.
"Got the tickets?"
"FUCK!" I cry and cram the tickets in her hand.
"No, not the plane tickets. The Disneyland tickets."
So I find a cab, tell him my story, he drives off like a rocket and gets me home to get my tickets and back to the airport, all in the nick of time.
*Mexico, Cabo San Lucas - You know the story. I arrive at the airport with no money, no way of getting to the hotel, no way of knowing where my parents are and no way of getting in contact with them. Sigh. Again, thank GOD for Angels among us (as cheesey as that may sound).
*Mexico - A few years ago I flew back from Puerto Vallarta by myself. It took awhile since ALL the computers in the terminal were down and tickets had to be issued manually. Which meant we would have to recheck in at LAX (the stop before Vancouver). Thank God for that because, guess what I did? I left my plane ticket from LA to Vancouver in the seat pocket of the plane. Yup. Thankfully because the last checkin was done manually, the ticket was void and they were going to issue me a new one anyway. Sigh.
(As I am typing this and more and more instances flood my head...I'm amazed people let me travel at all. Amazed and ashamed.)
*Norway - Staying at my aunts, I leave a pair of black pants in her closet. I go away for a few days and come back. She didn't know the pants were mine and gave them to the poor. Now this seems laughable BUT THEY WERE MY FAVOURITE PANTS IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD! Do you know how hard it is for me to find good pants? Needless to say, I think I cried and my aunt felt really really bad. Oh and bought me a new pair.
*France; Cannes - I have a hostel room all to myself. But despite this, I am still cautious of others (I'm a careful traveler, :P) so I hide my leg wallet, with passport inside, under my mattress. Next day I check out and head over to this island before I catch the night train later that evening. While I'm sunning myself on the island's rocky shores I realize "Fuck me, my passport is still under the bed!" Or at least I hoped it was still there. It was.
*France; Menton - I run out of money. I spend an arduous day searching the town for a money exchange place or a bank that will allow me to extract money from my visa. Never find one...there isn't one. Not in Menton, not in Ventimiglia, Italy (next store) and not in Monaco (next door, otherside). Spend a few days having a nervous breakdown and not understand why I don't have money. Realize I was taking money from the wrong account.
France; Carcassone - I run out of money. Again. This time it was no accident. Funds that were to be transfered are delayed because of a Canadian holiday. So I arrive at the backpackers, broke and penniless. Luckily the people were super swell, gave me free food, lent me money and even gave me a bottle of champagne upon arrival.
*Germany; Koln - I stay at my friend T's house before I am to take the train to Brussels and then the Eurostar to London (which I was 2 seconds from missing because my train to Brussels was late. It was me and some Indian family running through the terminal while Eurostar employees on the sides cheer us on "Hurry up! You're gonna miss it! It's pulling away from the station! You have 1 minute! The doors are closing! No refunds!"). But I did make the train. Only I didn't have everything with me. You see, a few days later while I was leaving London for the Gatwick airport, I realize I do not have my Air Transat ticket.
Oh well, I think to myself. I'm in the computer.
So I get to the check-in counter and yes, I am in the computer. I even have a seat assigned. But I still need the paper ticket. FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! I don't know why exactly I need the ticket but I do, so says the snotty bitch at the counter.
So she gives me my options. Either buy a new ticket right there. Or dont go home. I explain that I don't have any money, let alone the 300 quid (over $600!!!) to buy the ticket. She basically says tough luck. Tough luck or I can use a credit card number. "Any number," she says, encouraging fraud. Luckily I memorized my dad's Visa number off the top of my head and away I went. Paid for a ticket I already paid for. I was just so grateful to get out of there though, especially since the London Bombings happened 4 days later.
I'm embarassed to admit that there actually are more instances of my incompetence, but that would require me to think about them which I would rather not do. Instead, I will entertain you with a tale of recent woes. Specifically, what moronic thing I did today and how I narrowly averted becoming another walking disaster.
Today I decided to pack. I leave tomorrow for the drive down to Seattle, and early on Wednesday, Ross and I fly to Paris, so I know I'm leaving it a bit late but anyway.
So, as I am packing my backpack I realize something...I have never backpacked in the winter. In the summer, my bag is full enough but in the winter you have to take wintery things such as Xmas presents, sweaters, pants, coats, scarves, hats, boots, etc. These things not only take up a lot of space, but also way a ton. So there I am trying to stuff everything in my burgeoning pack (keep in mind that I will be buying stuff there as well) and it's not going anywhere. I stop my efforts and sit down, thinking about how to streamline the whole thing.
Another thought entered my mind. My mother's voice which, last week, instructed me to locate my passport and important documents. She knows me, knows my knack of losing things, and doesn't trust me with important documents (as no one in their right mind should).
So I think to myself, I better get my passport. I open the drawer where I thought it was. Nope. Hmmmm. I open another drawer. Hmmm.
Twenty-minutes later I am thrashing apart my studio, emptying the cutlery tray, looking underneath the toilet, searching the oven, opening DVD covers. I'm looking in the strangest places because I've already looked everywhere else, while crying, yelling, praying, screaming and tearing out my hair.
I try and retrace my steps. When did I have it last? 18 days ago, when I got off the plane from Mexico. What happened after that? Ross met me at the airport and had hired a limo to take us back to my place (yes, he's a sweetie). Good Lord, did I leave it in the limo? Does the Russian Limo driver have it? Is he gonna try and be Canadian? Where else could it be? Did I have a bag with me? Yes! Is it in there? No! What about the Duty Free bag? The one that I put all my magazines in. Didn't I throw that bag out?
And so on and so on. So, after about an hour of panick attacks and hyperventilating and ripping open kleenex boxes (the low point of my insanity) I start to accept that my passport is gone. That it's probably too late to get an emergency one (it takes at least 24 hours and you have to still fill out the form, file a police report, get photos, get a gaurantor to sign it, produce your birth certificate and stand in line for hours). And that Ross is probably going to France and Scotland by himself. And I'm gonna be stuck in Canada, left behind and alone at Xmas.
The thought induces more hyperventilating. Then one beacon of reasonable thought enters my mind. You threw out the duty free bag, but you did not throw out the magazines. I start to think of what magazines at had bought at the airport. The People magazine with Prince William on the cover has been sitting underneath the covers of my bed for weeks (its not what you think ;). I race over to it, open the magazine and out plops my passport.
Now all I have to do is clean up the mess I made.
And now after re-reading this post, I wonder what's going to happen to me next. Meh. I'll be sure to blog about it, whatever it is.