We have all heard it and as the age old adage of Murphy goes “what can go wrong, will go wrong”. On top of this there is even the amendment “if there is a possibility of several things going wrong, then the thing that will go wrong will be the one that will do the most damage”. And then there is the other variation of where everything just goes wrong with the first of course being “the worst”. So with that in mind, let the story of my first 48 hours of holiday begin (that bitch Karma is totally not getting a Christmas card this year).
Getting to the Airport
I had a 2.30pm flight. It takes an hour and fifteen minutes according to Maps for me to to get to the airport. So I left home at 11am….
After hustling to try and get a ticket for 20 mins and getting the train to Luton I sat with a truckload of other impatient and cranky passengers whilst getting the entertainment of the year. This flamboyant gay guy covered in glitter proceeded to give everybody on the train an entire run down of his last night and pretty much his life whilst on the phone to his friends. Majority of people however couldn’t suppress their historical laughter as he proceeded to inform everybody that the other night he went out and did 14 shots of sambuca, blacked out and woke up with 23 Daim bars from Tesco. At this point I was optimistic and getting geared up for a good holiday.
Then the shit started to hit the fan… traffic was so bad on the highway that it took 45 minutes for a bus that would normally take 6 to ferry everyone to the airport. It is 1.30 pm. I have an hour until departure. I am full blown flipping my nut at this stage….
Because Wizz Air are a disorganized cluster fuck of an operation, when I tried to check in online 2 days earlier it told me I couldn’t and needed to call customer service. So I called customer service. They told me to go and check in at the counter and it would be free.
So as I get to the airport there is a line bigger than Goliath and I was like “fuck this” and pushed through priority queue. I managed to get seen fairly quickly on the proviso I had no checked luggage because their conveyor system had shat itself and left everyone unable to check in.
It was at this time I was told that I was a “standby” passenger for the plane as they had overbooked it. Fury! I booked this flight 2 months in advance to attend a dental appointment the next day. I was getting on a flight one way or another or heads were going to roll. Their massive screw up lead me to this situation so they could fix it.
While “standing by” I met a guy who was also on standby. He was graciously nonchalant about the situation because his boss was having a flip out. If he didn’t get back to the Formula One in Budapest to move a piece of equipment that only he was authorized to move by midnight the company would be fined 50,000 pounds. The guy says it serves his boss right for booking a cheap shit flight with 15 people on standby at the last minute.
Thankfully there was space and we got on the plane. But this wasn’t the last of the stand by… we sat there. Then sat there some more. Then I had a nap. Sat there some more. Read 75 pages of my book. And then sat there some more. After about an hour and a half of sitting on the tarmac going nowhere we were informed that the passenger manifest did not add the same as the number of people on board. So they had to figure out who the passenger was and then find their luggage. At some point a guy got irate on the plane and the cops had to be called to come and get him. The kids were even more off the show running up and down the aisles and hanging from the rafters like a pack of monkeys. One even tried to eat the apple core I put on the floor earlier because there was no bin. So shit was getting crazy and I had another nap and read some more….
5pm rolls around. We have been on a plane grounded for 2 and a half hours when Wizz Air tell us that they will be kindly making food and drink available for purchase. Riotous carnage then ensued and within five minutes we were allowed a free “snack or drink”. By the time I got to the end of the queue that whole thing had gone out the window and people were just taking whatever. I wound up with a sandwich, snickers bar and an orange juice. Eventually at 6pm, things got sorted and after 3 and a half hours of being on the tarmac we took off with a mass eruption of applause from everyone on board.
9pm Budapest time… finally arrived. Four hours behind schedule. Made my way to the hostel.
After checking into the hostel I had a chat to few people and went to bed. Dentist in the morning and I was just relieved to get there. It was hot, the window was open and I set about trying to sleep. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was being gnawed at however and figured if it was on my toes it was probably mosquitoes. Within 3 hours my suspicions were confirmed and I caught a bed bug between my fingers and killed it. I took it out to reception and put it on the guys desk.
“I’m allergic and I can’t stay in there or any room where this is a risk” I told him. I took residence upstairs far away from any room with my stuff and slept (I use the term sleep loosely here) in the beanbag on the floor.
The following day he tells me that what I put on his desk wasn’t a bed bug and that my 9 glorious welts must be from a spider or a mosquito. I got angry. “I put that bug on your desk and you are going to make me out a liar?” He says “but I looked online and the bites don’t show up for a day or so”.
“Not if you’re allergic” I told him. But at this point I had to go to the dentist.
You know you are having a really shit day when the most positive aspect of your day is the fact that you only needed 2 fillings when you assumed you would need up to 6. With a half dead mouth, an incapacity to smile and a slightly happier wallet that I anticipated, I got on my bike back to the hostel to go fight with the manager.
Captive Passport Negotiations
Upon my departure of the hostel in the morning, the staff told me that I had to pay 2 nights accommodation or no passport. I had ‘slept’ there one night. And refused to pay the second. Apparently I need to give them 24 hours notice. And I am like “not when I am in an antihistamine-induced half-coma because of your establishment.
Despite having physically presenting them a bug, I had to deal with the manager berating me like I was a child who knew nothing. “Do you even know what bed bugs look like?” I said to him “Yes. I have dealt with them up to 15 times now and I know what they look like and how my body responds to them.”. He told me he was going to have to “respectfully disagree with me” in his condescending arsehole tone and then gave me my passport back without me paying a cent. After getting my hands back on my passport I told him I didn’t appreciate being spoken down to and called a liar and that regardless of whether he “respectfully disagrees” it is in his best interests to do something about it and then I left.
I then spent a good hour wandering around trying to find somewhere to stay that wasn’t full. And I did. For one night at least. But I still have to move the next night. I now lie here in my gloriously bed bug free bed (I hope) tired, covered in giant welts and cortisone cream still shaking and unable to sleep from my allergic reaction and hoping that the rest of my Balkan’s Adventure doesn’t keep this tone. If it does I might have to hang up the travel shoes for good and become a hermit.