Friday, April 13, 2018

How Not to Travel to India (or anywhere, really)


LUCY BURDETTE: It's Friday the 13th--a perfect day to tell you about my recent travel disaster... 

But first, I can so clearly remember my grandparents disappearing into our guest room one afternoon during a visit in the early 1980’s. When they finally emerged, it turned out they’d been worrying in advance about the trip home, looking for their keys. They searched and searched, more frantic by the moment. My little grandmother finally found them— pinned to the inside of their suitcase where she’d put them before they left home. I knew that would never be me. 

Fast forward thirty-some years…

Rickshaw ride in Old Delhi

After touring two days in Delhi, the time came to pack up and join our group in the hotel lobby in order to catch the plane to Udaipur. You can imagine my despair when I found my passport missing. John ran downstairs to fetch the group leader and a hotel employee and they rooted through every item in our room, including my cotton unmentionables. The passport was gone. And soon after, so was our group. We were left to twiddle our thumbs for four hours until a driver and translator could be dispatched to help get my documents replaced. (No one drives their own car in Dehli – the traffic is heinous and you must be fearless in cutting off other cars, bicycles, rickshaws, ever present tuktuks, and the occasional cow or water buffalo.)



First stop, the Delhi Police Department. Outside the building, a long discussion ensued between our driver and guide, with consultations with other people by phone--in Hindi so we couldn’t understand a word. It boiled down to this: Tell the police you were walking around the hotel and then when you looked, your passport was missing. Do not mention the rickshaw ride in old Delhi (where I suspect I lost it) because then they will send us to that police station to make the report. Okay, my passport is gone and now I'm fibbing to the authorities.

Lucy with her saviors

The interior of the station reminded me a little of places I’d seen in the Caribbean. There were fierce, unsmiling, uniformed men in berets, carrying rifles. There was a woman in a sari who was seated at a desk providing “women’s services." The back of the office opened out to a dusty courtyard where a set of black metal seats welded together were placed facing the sun, along with what looked like a beach umbrella stand covered with a ratty towel. And behind that was a row of scooters. A dirty black and white dog wandered the courtyard, pausing to lift his leg on one of the bikes. Eventually we emerged with a police report. “I think we should look at this as an adventure,” I told John. “One day it will make a good blog.” 


Here’s the photo taken at the moment we left the station with our copies of police report in hand. All still cheerful, in other words.  “Just think,” I added, “if I hadn’t lost my passport, we never would have seen that police officer scratch his nose with the tip of his assault rifle.”

Next we visited the American embassy. It was around 3:30 when we called from the old-fashioned phone stationed at a table on the sidewalk. I was told that the cashier had gone home at noon and there was no way to get help until the next morning. At this moment, our good cheer begin to ebb. 

As we trudged toward our car, the sidewalk phone rang again and the guard waved me over. “Do you have exact change?” “Yes!” “Do you have passport photos?” I explained we had just stopped to get them taken. “Without spectacles?” the woman asked. Of course that’s not what we had. 

“If you can get pictures retaken and return by four we will try to help you.” 

So off we went to our second photography studio, this one stationed inside a tiny dry cleaning establishment. Two men banged on the back metal door, and the photographer came out and hung a white cloth over the front window. And then took the worst photo of me I have ever had taken in my life. I considered posting it here for you but could not bear to do it. An hour later, I emerged from the embassy with temporary passport. Still, we were short one document, the exit visa.



We arrived at the visa office the next morning, and were advised by a lovely Australian man to visit the "office" on a nearby street where my documents could be uploaded and added to my application. (You might have had such equipment in your office in the 1990's. I was taking this picture from the sidewalk.)



Then we returned to the visa office and waited, hearing nightmare stories of people who’d been waiting 10 days to three weeks—returning each day to try to resolve another mysterious technical issue. (Luckily, I had Rhys’s new book on my phone or I might have gone mad.) The workers buzzed around, seeming to accomplish little as people poured in but none went out. We heard rumors that the office closed down for lunch and I began to get seriously worried. Finally we were called in and given my papers, and then rushed off to catch a plane and join our group.


The next morning as we woke up exhausted. John said: "I’ve been thinking about document discipline. We are going to have one zippered pocket for our documents, no lip balm, no hand sanitizer, no iPhones allowed in that pocket." 


"Document discipline? I’m all in," I said. "How about we pin them to the inside of the suitcase?"

Please come back tomorrow and I'll share a little of what was actually on our tour of India, rather than Lucy's private tour of Indian bureaucracy...meanwhile would you care to share one of your traveling disaster stories?? 

And PS here's John's take on the "incident" with practical suggestions about how to stay organized when traveling...

**Tealady Kathryn is the winner of Edith Maxwell's book, TURNING THE TIDE. Contact edith at edithmaxwell dot com  to arrange for the drop!

77 comments:

  1. My goodness, Lucy . . . what a horrible experience. Thank goodness things worked out okay . . . .

    About the worst travel disaster I can recall is a lost suitcase and, on that same trip, sitting on the tarmac forever waiting for clearance so we could head for home. Nothing anywhere near the frustration of your experience . . . .

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    1. It was definitely an adventure Joan! we were so grateful it went as well as it did.

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  2. Yikes! Glad you were able to get everything figured out and rejoin your group, but that is no fun at all.

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    1. John was a very good sport about the whole thing--I hope I could do the same for him--if we must repeat:)

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  3. Oy, Lucy. That must have been the worst feeling ever.

    One of my worst disasters (of several) was when my husband, sons, and teen nephew were on a bus from our Cote d'Ivoire vacation house into the big city of Abidjan for the day. I didn't think we needed passports because we weren't leaving the country. Armed guards stopped the bus outside the city and asked for our papers. My husband had everyone's passports but mine. The guards made us get off. I told John to go ahead and I'd meet them in the city but thankfully he said no (his French and bargaining powers are way better than mine). I made the mistake of challenging the guard about needing a passport and he threatened to lock me up. It's was pretty terrifying. John finally talked him into letting us go and we took a taxi the rest of the way into the city - and all keep fighting for our rights in the US so we don't have to produce "papers" for no reason at all.

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    1. Oops, something dropped out there at the end. I had written: all the way into the city, and all the way back. Lesson - never leave the passport in the room. Corollary - and all keep fighting for our rights in the US so we don't have to produce "papers" for no reason at all.

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    2. You said it Edith! and don't get sassy with the men carrying guns:)

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  4. Oh,Lucy,that is high on any list of worst travel stories. And I respect your decision to look on it as an "experience." If you are a writer it's all material, right? My worst was entirely my own fault. One of my most air-headed moments ever. My family was going skiing in Utah and I was off for a few days on solo trip to London. It had been years and I was so excited I had planned every single minute. When I went to check in, I found my passport was expiring in a few days! How had I overlooked that? ( I am not an inexperienced traveler) No way were they letting me on that plane. I turned around, went home and packed for the slopes.

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    1. That must have been a horrible disappointment! I hope you got to take the trip another time. One of the men waiting with us in the visa office had overlooked the fact that his had run out and he overstayed in India for 6 days. We did wonder whether they'd ever let him out...

      But these things happen. Really the only choice was roll with it!

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    2. It was very disappointing. I'd been to London for both work and visiting family but it had been a very long time. Some years later, our vacation was Ireland and we had to connect at Heathrow. Aha! I had a wonderful time and did mad sightseeing. Memorable...and worth the wait. Looking forward to reading more about your Indian adventures

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  5. NIGHTMARE! And really, grounds for divorce. John is a saint. My husband insists that I wear my passport in a dorky pocket that hangs from around my neck, and when I got my purse snatched in Barcelona (another not so great travel adventure) I was so glad that's where it was.

    I know this is going into a book. Or short story. Great stuff!

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    1. I had one of those Hallie, but it felt itchy around my neck so I took it off:).

      The frustrating thing is I am not the one who loses things in our family...

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  6. The other safeguard (from our mutual friend Pat) is to put a detailed copy of your itinerary and contact info IN your suitcase. Then if it gets left behind there's more of a chance that it will find you.

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  7. Oh, what a heartbreaking experience! I cannot believe you and John were so patient with it… How completely frustrating! Ahhhhh
    And you are so wonderful to write about it, wow.
    John’s article is wonderful as well, full of great travel tips!
    I already do the one pocket rule, and that has saved me many a time. And I don’t have an acronym, great idea, as John suggested, but I do make a list of the number of “things” I need 1234567 Purse wallet suitcase phone computer ticket itinerary. . Really helps! Travel is just so discombobulating.
    My big constant disaster is hotel room key cards, which I put in my bag and they instantly disappear. And you can’t put them near anything else magnetic, like a phone or credit card, because they demagnetize.
    Oh my goodness, I keep thinking about your travel travails! Thank you for telling us this, and so glad it all turned out.

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    1. Travel is discombobulating--you're so right. That's why it pays to be very intentional...

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    2. Demagnetize? Really? I always put mine with the rest of my credit cards and so far no problem.

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  8. But we still want to see that photo.

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    1. haha not a chance. I said to myself: Hank would not post this, so neither will you...

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    2. Got it. Okay...but in private?? xoxoo

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  9. I also have a passport case, which is bright bright bright blue, and so it is easy to see in my black hole of my purse.

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  10. This was a rough 30 hours in our relationship. Haven't got through that without any unkind words, I think we are going to make it!

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    1. He means HAVING rather than HAVEN'T LOL--a little Freudian slip?

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    2. HAVING is what i meant to say. No Freudian slip, maybe a worst a little PTSD!

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  11. What a terrible experience! So frustrating, but I love the fact that you connected it with your grandparents and pinning important things inside the suitcase. That sounds like my grandmother. And some good tips to remember.

    My experience was not actually mine, except that I was the facilitator when it happened to my own parents. They were on an extended trip (6 weeks) to the Czech Republic and also Kenya - two weeks in the first and 4 weeks in the second. It was with a church group. Anyway, my father's large suitcase got lost on the way over to Europe. They were flying on American as I recall. Anyway, he had taken a change of clothing in his carry-on bag and that was fortunate. A few days later, I got a call from Delta Airlines saying they had my father's bag in Atlanta. They said it was sent there from Chicago, which is where my folks changed planes for international flight (American Airlines again). They asked what I wanted them to do with it. By that point, my parents were moving on to Africa and so I asked if it could be routed to Nairobi. They said 'of course' and did that. Happily, my Dad and his clothes were reunited, though he had been stubborn and existed with just 2 changes of clothes for 2 weeks.

    That particular trip was mostly fun for them. Not so much for me. Soon after Delta called, I got a call that my maternal grandmother had fallen and broken her hip. My mother was an only child and so I had to fly to Amarillo, TX and be with my Gran as she had surgery, was in the hospital for several days and then transferred to a rehab facility for a few weeks. After I got home to Austin, in checking my folks condo, I found it awash in water. One of the toilets had a major leak and water was covering the floors in most of it. We had to get that cleaned up, get the toilet repaired, move all the furniture out, have the carpet replaced and the furniture moved back in. I told my Mom and Dad that they were never allowed to leave the US again. Ha!

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    1. Kay, you absolutely win the prize with that story! Unbelievable...

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    2. Oh, Kay - nightmares with children and toilets are the worst.

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  12. Guess I am happy to say I haven't had any travel experiences that come even close to your nightmare. But what a wonderful attitude you had about it all! In coming years I bet this will be quite some memory!

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  13. We were heading to Key West for Fantasy Fest when I realized at the airport that I didn't have my driver's license. My husband had made me leave me purse at home and only take the essentials (the absolute last time he does that) so, not thinking, I grabbed my credit card and my Barnes and Noble card and put that in a smaller purse (cause rralky...how often do you need your ID?) I managed to get through security with (no lie) a credit card and a Games Magazine that I subscribed to because it had my name and address on it. My husband was pissed. Then I had to get patted down at security and my bag was thoroughly searched. We barely made our flight. My husband didn't speak to me the whole flight, even though I told him it was partially his fault. 😊

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    1. Kristin, I love your priorities, the credit card and the Barnes and Noble card! And yes, it was definitely his fault...tell him we all agree:)

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  14. My worst travel experience has become both family lore and cautionary tale. I was traveling with my children and my husband to Mexico. We were all seasoned travelers and all had our various passports. I did not make a habit of traveling with the children's birth certificates since they had been traveling on their own passports since birth. We got to the airport to board our flight and were informed that since my children do not share my last name and since I could not PROVE they were my children, we couldn't travel. The passport control folks could not guarantee that my husband wasn't taking his children without parental consent. I couldn't write a letter there in the airport because I couldn't, without birth certificates or marriage certificate, prove that I, as their mother, was granting the authorization or that the children were actually mine. We ended up missing the flight, asking our neighbor to break into our house to get the records, paying a courier to drive the documents from our home to our departure location seven hours away and going through the whole departure process the next day. This was in the age before digital everything, so we were limited in our options. The day was made easier, however, by the release of the latest Harry Potter book that my sister in law had kindly purchased for my children. 800 pages can take up a lot of airport waiting time. Thank goodness for books!

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    1. Wow Lysa, that is a truly horrible story! I suppose you could have been the evil woman helping the father to steal them away...

      And I felt about Rhys's book the way you describe Harry Potter. Were you reading aloud to them?

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  15. I live by my father's mantra: tickets, passport, money.

    And I have a PacSafe travel purse with a metal-reinforced cross-body strap. Everything has a designated pocket, including an RFID passport pocket. It's so pick-pocket secure that at security checkpoints, it takes me 5 minutes to undo the secured zipper fasteners. As more than one museum guard in Italy said, "Oh, you Americans and your purses."

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  16. Holy cow Lucy Roberta! Sorry. I couldn't resist.

    I'm pretty laid back when we travel although I guard my passport carefully. I carry only one credit card plus my bank card, and I only withdraw cash at banks, never at one of those free standing ATMs. I have a travel purse, one of those ugly back saver ones that also holds my Kindle and a bottle of water. Julie, on the other hand, treats her wallet, passport, and cash as if they were top secret government documents, everything in a money belt around her waist.

    So guess who left it all in the hotel in Bordeaux as we were on the way to catch a train to Paris? She discovered it in the cab, and fortunately speaks very good French. She called the hotel and waited while they checked our room. Everything was found, no theft. It was under the corner of the bed. We collected it and made our way back to the station, also making the cab driver a bit richer.

    Julie checked the boards, said that our train was late, and she and my daughter promptly found a bar and a bottle of wine. Since it was about ten in the morning, I had a coffee and then wandered around for a bit. I checked the boards again and there was no sign of our train. I went back to the bar and begged Julie to go to the window and see what was going on. It turned out our train wasn't on the boards because it had left about half a bottle of wine ago. At quite a large deal of extra expense, we got tickets on the next one, leaving a few hours later, and bought another bottle of wine.

    All's well that ends well.

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    1. that's quite a day! Love your line that train had left a half bottle of wine ago...

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  17. What a story!

    I suppose the worst travel was trying to get home from Bouchercon in Raleigh. American canceled my return flight and "helpfully" put me on the worst return option possible. But that pales in comparison!

    Mary/Liz

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    1. we can all think of this next time a flight is cancelled. Hate that feeling of arriving at a gate and seeing that RED cancelled notation next to your flight. Traveling is more onerous for sure than it used to be!

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  18. How awful, Lucy. My worst travel experience was more farce than nightmare. It was in the 1990s when planes frequently flew with multiple empty seats and cell phones were far more rare than today (and I didn’t have one). I was flying from Newark NJ to Jacksonville FL for a late afternoon event where I was receiving an award on behalf of my department. I had to change planes in Charlotte NC and that’s where the weird started. The connecting flight was delayed about an hour; after we were finally on the plane and ready to go, the airline announced that they were putting Orlando-bound passengers from another flight on with us (that plane had mechanical troubles) and that would delay our flight by another half hour. And, our flight would go to Orlando first and then back to Jacksonville. My three and a half hour window between supposed arrival and meeting was now down to about 20 minutes and I had no way to reach my colleague in Jacksonville to let her know that I would be late. A flight attendant took information from many of us and promised to let those waiting for us know how long we’d be delayed. We went to Orlando, got caught in another flight delay there and I finally got to Jacksonville an hour after the event I was supposed to attend ended. I got on another flight and went back to Newark. And, of course, the airline had not made the contacts they said they would.

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  19. Lucy, swap Vietnam for India, and our stories are practically the same. My mom lost her passport, and we spent the day at the police station, the U.S. Embassy, and the Vietnamese Immigration office. There were many bribes! A couple of days later, we were contacted by the hotel to say they'd found the passport...in the minibar! I called B.S., and we suspect that we never got it back at check-in, and they searched for a couple of days in their office and finally found it. These experiences make for great stories, but they are not fun at the time! Can't wait to hear about the rest of the trip!

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    1. In the mini-bar, wow! John said he considered bribes but we had no idea who to bribe and whether we'd be arrested. The guys who took us around those two days really saved the rest of the trip

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  20. The news from Rome. My husband and my had a splendid day out in Ostia (highly recommend) returned in the late afternoon for a nap. It was the day after our arrival and we were tired.
    When we were ready to go out for dinner, I dumped my purse - as I do every day — to clean out scraps of paper etc. only when I was putting things back did I realize my wallet was gone.
    And we knew immediately when it had happened. At the train station in the elevator two young women got on. They were told to leave because the elevator capacity was 8 people.
    There was a lot of commotion before they left. They took my wallet out of my zipped purse!
    I spent part of Monday at the Quedtura where I watched every one of Donna Leone’s characters enter and leave.
    Not a great start to an otherwise lovely trip

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    1. So funny about Donna Leon's characters! I had a wallet stolen in Paris on my junior year abroad, also in the Metro. I can't remember if that was the same incident where a man (how do I say this politely?) ejaculated on the people around him. Believe me, that was a big distraction!

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  21. My first trip to Europe with my parents, my dad got his wallet picked at the train station in Rome. His passport wasn't in it, but that was in the days of AmEx traveler's checks, and I remember lots of time spent wait to get new ones.

    I had my debit card skimmed in London--Ack! That was not fun, trying to get a new card in the UK.

    Never lost a passport, though, thank goodness.

    Lucy, I feel for you about the passport photo, however. My Global Entry photo makes me look like a convict with a terminal disease. Fortunately I don't actually have to show it very often!

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    1. The Global Entry photos are the worst Debs! and that reminds me, I have to go back to a GE office and get this new passport in the system...sigh

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  22. OH Lucy, this happened to me in Rome when I was 16 and traveling with my aunt. A whole day lost to Italuan police beaurocracy , photo studio and British embassy. The most annoying thing was that the original passport was found down the side of my bus seat ( and the driver swore he'd searched the bus'. I'm so glad you were able to catch up and enjoy the rest of the trip

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    1. that IS annoying Rhys! we were grateful it wasn't worse...

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  23. Oh wow, what a story! As are so many others here in the comments. I'm with you that while these things are a nightmare at the time, I hope to turn these hiccups into good stories. India can be such an overwhelming place even without losing a passport. I love the photos you shared here.

    On my last overseas trip with my husband, I broke my ankle -- IN CAMBODIA. It was half-way through the trip, and I thought it was sprained so I carried on... But I iced it at the hotel and stayed in the next day at the hotel bar writing a short story that I adore -- and that's coming out later this year! So hopefully I'll laugh at the whole thing -- once my ankle is fully healed ;)

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    1. OMG Gigi, that's a horrible story. How long did you walk around on the broken ankle?

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    2. OMG Gigi, that's a horrible story. How long did you walk around on the broken ankle?

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  24. Lucy/Roberta and John too! It started as a disaster and ended in triumph - 'cept the photo.
    My sister's travel experience was the most challenging in my family. She was traveling in the then USSR with a group of teachers. The travel guide resigned mid tour. Suddenly, Sue was in charge of all the travel plans, gathering the papers, and working out all the trip details. When she got back to the States, we asked 'did you have a good trip?? we were met with a silent glare.

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  25. I've only been out of the country one time. When I was about 35, I travelled to Israel as a student/volunteer. I purchased a round-trip ticket with the return date open. I paid in advance with a check which might not have been in my name. I don't recall just now. I was travelling El-Al partly because they had a good reputation. I am Jewish and spoke a smattering of Hebrew. Well apparently their security had me on the radio. Because after getting on the back of a long line to check-in, I was called from the back of the line and ushered into a private room with two El-Al armed security guards. They took apart all of my luggage while interrogating me for at least 30 minutes. It got to the point where I was worrying about missing the flight and they were quick to assure me that I would not miss the flight and then went on to continue to give me the 3rd degree. I was scared even though I knew I was not a terrorist. Well I indeed make the flight. Six months later leaving Israel I was asked three questions. 1) Did you pack this yourself? 2) Has anyone given you any wrapped gifts or other packages? 3) Has the luggage been in your possession since packing? Thank you and have a good flight.

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  26. OMG - Lucy, I am just going to have my passport tattooed to my back. Honestly! I'd be super cranky. I do love that you made the best of it and your saviors have wonderfully kind faces :) As for my own disasters, so far so good for me, except for that one time in Italy when my mom got into a brawl with a transit authority dude and the police were called. I had to bail her out in euros...yeah, that one's going to be hard to beat.

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  27. Hope you enjoyed your trip Lucy! I took a tour to India a couple of years ago. I can't imagine doing that trip any other way. My bud and I were on a rickshaw ride too when we heard a thump and lots of yelling. Turns out Lili had her multi-zip bag her husband insisted she take unzipped at the bottom and something fell out. The yelling was to get our driver to stop so it could be returned. This was in the alleys of the marketplace. How nice was that? We've been lucky so far in our travels. The only really iffy moment I recall was years ago in Costa Rica. My husband, son, and I were driving ourselves. CR has no military so we were really wondering when a para-military looking group stopped us and insisted we pay a "toll" to use the bridge. We paid. No arguments.

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    1. smart people! Now that is the beginning of a great short story or book...

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  28. What a trial . . . and good for you both for keeping your sense of adventure and humor. The travel agent who organized our storytelling cruises advised us that if we weren't willing to face the unexpected, we would be better off staying home to "sort socks." I had so many that she started greeting me with, "Please tell me this trip went smoothly," to which I once replied, "Well, yes, except for fainting on the plane." In answer to the "Is there a doctor?" announcement, a doctor and a paramedic came forward. ;-) I almost wished for boring socks once or twice, but only momentarily. Toward the end of one trip, I noticed the young woman checking passports looking at me in an uncertain way. I took off my glasses and for good measure, applied a bit of upward pressure to the sides of my face, a mini-lift. She smiled and nodded.

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  29. My Mom and I were on a trip to Bermuda when she got sick and wound up in the hospital for most of our stay. She finally had to check herself out the afternoon before our flight home because the doctor never showed that day. Other than that the hospital was really good and the hotel we(I) were staying at bent over backwards to help, even faxing things back and forth to the trip insurance company. This was before cell phones. A year later my Mom got a letter from the hospital saying her medical insurance company hadn’t paid them. More phone calls and faxes to resolve that. The hospital in Bermuda didn’t bill in a format that the insurance company would accept -they billed a flat rate per day. I finally sent them the list of all the tests that were run and they paid.

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    1. that's a dreadful way to spend a vacation. so glad she rallied and got home!

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  30. 1972 coming back from Argentina with Candy and Liz, we had a 5 hour delay in Panama. Luckily we met 3 guys, an Argentinian, an American, and another. Liz had lemons from the family she was staying with in her bag, which was a no-no but the customs had sympathy for us. Candy who was blind had bought a guitar. She and I also wore our new leather shoes on the plane. Bad idea. The guys helped us get the taxi paid for to get us from JFK to LaGuardia. When we got there, I discovered that my airport had closed for the night so I had to go to Pittsburgh with the others and stay overnight with Liz. I flew home the next day. This was my first time outside the US. Later trips were with tours.

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  31. Our travel woes of lost luggage & returned flights due to mechanical failures pale in comparison, Lucy! Kudos to you and John for making it through all the bureaucracy! Here are some cool travel scarves with a hidden pocket I found on Pinterest just the other day:
    https://www.etsy.com/shop/speakeasysupplyco

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  32. Oh my goodness! That is scary! So happy you both kept your wonderful attitude. Well let's see, I traveled quite a bit when I was younger, never to anywhere as exotic though. I remember coming out of the Frankfurt airport and seeing a tank pointed inside. One time we had to sleep in the airport and the police pointed their machine guns at someone riding their skateboard. Traveling to my grandfather's funeral in Germany, we had to fly to Munich instead of Frankfurt. They lost our luggage. We had to borrow black clothes from family. Come to find out my father's suitcase was actually at the Frankfurt airport and ours came the day after. I flew nonstop to Charlotte for a work meeting (I worked for the airline I was flying). They lost my luggage and found it at the airport the day I was leaving. Another time I was in Charlotte for a meeting I broke my foot getting out of bed (found out later it was m/s that caused my leg to go numb). Had to stay in class all day and fly home with it broken, go to the hospital here. And my favorite is when I was in Newfoundland to tour with my brother's band. We were driving in his big land barge. As we left St John's we came to a four way stop and were surrounded by police. I freaked out because I didnt have a visa and was staying for a while. We were there for about 4 hours while the truck waited for us. Come to find out there had been a robbery and the escape car was describe the same as ours. Not a normal car in that area. So after I have rambled on and on, that is about it. Had tons of other things happen, but all in all it was a great time!

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  33. That would be so scary. Glad everything worked out okay!

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  34. My God! What a nightmare. I am so glad you are not totally over India based on this dreadful experience.
    When I was in the US Delhi embassy, a young woman was there getting her passport replaced. It was in her backpack in front of her in the auto rickshaw. Someone on a motorcycle leaned in and grabbed it!!

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  35. I'm glad it worked out for you. My only worst travel disaster was flight canceled and couldn't get on any other airline, on way to my father's funeral.

    With the temporary passport - do you have to get a new "official" passport?

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  36. Oh my gosh that's like something out of TV show or book, hey it might be something you can add to a future book who knows. I've never traveled out of the US and have always been afraid to do so although my daughter and her cousins have and they love it. (I'm just a scaredy cat!)

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  37. Wow! I can't imagine how anxiety inducing it would be to lose such important papers in such a foreign land. So glad you were able to get it remedied.

    My travel story isn't so bad but at the time it felt like it.

    My son was about 7 months old when my husband's grandfather took ill. He lived in the Bay Area of California and we lived in Seattle. The soonest we could get time off work to go was nearly 2 months away but we bought our tickets and hoped for the best. Sadly, Grandpa passed away a couple of weeks before we were to fly out. We had our tickets and the time off so we went anyway to spend time with Grandma and the family. The day came and we went to the airport, got there in time and sat waiting to board our flight. We got in line and when we got to the door of the plane we were told to wait so we waited. A couple came up behind us and were permitted to board then we were told the plane was full and we had to wait for the next flight.

    So we sat in the airport for 4 hours with a crabby 9 month old who wanted to play on the floor, but no way was I putting him on that nasty floor. Finally we got on a plane and were on our way. We landed in San Francisco and discovered that we'd long ago missed our connecting flight to San Jose but our luggage was on it's way along with our son's car seat. So we had to wait for someone in the airport to find a car seat and arrange a shuttle to take us to Cupertino where our family was waiting for us. By this time it was the middle of the night. We were crabby and tired and our son was at his wits end. The visit with the family was wonderful but what a day we had getting there LOL!

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  39. My ex-husband and I spent the first day of our honeymoon in a Police Station in Rome, Italy. Our travel agent said he did not need a visa. He was born in China under British rule but lived from the age of 3 to 19 in Pakistan. He was holding a passport from Pakistan at the time. I am Canadian and it was me who did not require a visa. When we explained everything the Police authorized a Visa for only 7 days in Italy. We stayed longer but learned if we put our two passports together and mine on top when we were asked to show them we were waived through. The rest of our 5 week European trip went through without any further disruptive incidents. Other obstacles were minor and were handled on this trip. Overall, we had a great time, visited beautiful places, met some lovely people and created lifetime memories.

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