Foggy London Town: Passport Shenanigans

So we arrived in London on December 26th after a lovely but strange first Christmas away from home. And Andy forgot his money belt on the plane. He decided that it was bothering his neck and so he tucked it away in the seat back pocket and there it stayed. We discovered it was missing when we arrived from the train to the immigration. The security lady almost let us ride back to the plane on a security truck but after a call to her manager she changed her mind. So we stood in line and Andy made it into the country with his Spanish ID card and we rushed to the easyjet desk only to find out the worst news ever from the lady there. She told us that easyjet contracts with a lost and found company for everything left on the plane and our only option would be to call them, leave a message and wait for them to call us back if they found the item. She also told us there was no way we would be making our flight to Dublin so we trudged out of the airport and tried to use our spanish bank account to access money but the atm wouldn’t recognize the card so I had to use my card from home and suck up the crappy exchange rate so we had some money. So we bought a coach ticket into London because the airport we arrived at was an hour and a half outside of central London. So we rode and rode through the traffic and arrived at Victoria Station disoriented and overwhelmed by the fact we were in a city we knew next to nothing about with no one we knew and no place to stay. But we wandered a bit and found a “hotel” that cost only 40 pounds a night and we booked it. It was seedy and dirty but it had a tv so we crashed on the bed and watched the Chronicles of Narnia. At 4 am, I woke up to what I truly believe were the sounds of prostitutes soliciting business in the hallway outside of our room and I listened to their drunken raucousness for hours. But the breakfast the next morning cheered my spirits especially because of the tasty tea and the stack of toast we received. So we set out for the day and walked around looking at Westminster, Big Ben, the London Eye and Buckingham Palace. We also found an internet cafe so we could book a new place to stay asap. We stayed one more night at the “hotel” and utilized some Nyquil to assist our sleeping process and thigns went smoother. Then we moved to a great youth hostel where we made some great friends even though we only stayed for two nights. We called the lost and found people several times over the days and finally yesterday we received an email from them that they located Andy’s passport. The stress of a missing passport is difficult to convey but Andy also had 150 euros in his satchel and when we checked in with the embassy for an appointment to get a replacement passport, they didn’t even have an appointment available until the day we were supposed to leave London. Rediculous. So we were incredibly relieved to find out it was safe. Although, getting is was a whole other battle. It was in an office beyond Stansted airport so we took the tube, a bus and a train to get there. We spent all our money on the transportation and Andy forgot to save 5 pounds to pay the fee to get it back so we had another crisis until we used our american card again. And then we had seven minutes to run back to the train platform and catch the train so we ran and ran with our lungs burning in the 1 degree weather, and just missed the train. The town we were in was tiny tiny tiny and everything was closed. The next train wasn’t for another hour. So then we found ourselves in rural England stomping around on a train platform in the cold counting down the minutes until the train came back for us. And finally it did after several dance routines for me to get my blood flowing. So we rode back, checked in with the awesome five star hotel we are transfering to tomorrow, courtesy of my dad’s holiday inn reward points, to make sure there wouldn’t be any problems. And now we are sitting in the basement of our hostel using the internet and waiting to take the bus to go to our hotel. I feel very very lucky to have turned things around for the best and I am truly enjoying our time in London. It’s a very comfortable and beautiful city. And New Years is going to be wonderful and I think we will camp out near the fireworks over the London Eye with some champagne. I am also hoping we can find some discount tickets to go see Wicked and I want to take a tour of the Tower of London. So lots to do and fun to be had.


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