Podcast
My UK Vacation And My Horrible Bad Luck
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My UK Vacation And My Horrible Bad Luck

Vacation Nightmares. It might not end up on Instagram, but a ruined family trip may teach you lessons you'll never forget.

Voiced by Vivica Williams

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First, let me just say, I'm usually a lucky person. I'm not particularly adventurous. Actually, I'm kind of boring and ordinary. I never thought that my vacation in The UK could go so horribly wrong.

The first problem I had was at the airport when I arrived in England. The border guard did not think that I looked like the photo on my passport. I did look a bit different. Since getting my passport, I'd lost a few kilos, cut my hair, and stopped wearing glasses. It took four hours to convince several customs officers that I was indeed the person in the passport picture.

I was so exhausted after this that I decided to take a taxi into town instead of the Tube. My friends had all told me to take the Tube, because it was faster. The traffic going into London was awful. It took me another hour and a half to get to my four-star hotel in central London. The hotel receptionist checked her computer and told me that they did not have a room reservation for me. She told me that, since I had arrived almost six hours late, they had given my room to another guest. And because there were several big conferences in London, most hotels were fully booked. The receptionist suggested I try a hostel on the edge of the city.

I had been looking forward to having a long bath, ordering room service, and then taking a nap in the king-sized bed with the thick, soft mattress. Instead, I had to stay at a hostel in a room with five loud American backpackers, three excited Japanese tourists who were taking pictures of everything, and a silent Hungarian student who sat on his bed and just stared at me. We all had to share a bathroom with just two showers and two toilets. I had to sleep in a top bunk on a thin, worn mattress. I was so exhausted that I didn't care.

I woke up from my nap a few hours later. The room was very quiet as all the other guests had left. I immediately noticed that my luggage had been opened and that my wallet, camera, and mobile were missing. In a panic, I rushed down to the reception desk and told them what'd happened. The hostel manager frowned and told me that the five Americans and the Hungarian student had all checked out.  He said that he could call the police, but there was little they could do.

What could I do in London without money? Saddened, I wandered down to a nearby cafe. I still had a few pounds in my pocket, change from the taxi ride. It was enough to buy a cup of coffee and a sandwich. As I sat sipping my cappuccino, I started to notice the city around me. A red double-decker bus drove slowly down the street. I saw my Japanese roommates riding on the top level and excitedly snapping photos of the picturesque street. There were three pubs with old signs and funny names, a red telephone box, a bakery with a window full of delicious treats, and a traditional black taxi cab parked on the corner.

Then I started to think about all the things I could do without money. For the rest of the day, I walked around London. I visited the free museums and national art galleries. I watched the changing of the Queen's guard at Buckingham Palace. I walked along The River Thames and gazed at all the amazing London landmarks.

When I finally returned to the hostel, the owner greeted me at the reception desk. He was very upset about what had happened to me. He gave me a private room and vouchers for meals at his brother's pub across the street. There I made new friends and even had some more unexpected - but this time wonderful - adventures.

All-in-all, even though it started off poorly, my UK vacation turned into an extraordinary experience.