Travel Days Better Left Forgotten

It was our last day in Athens, Greece. We had left our island paradise of Drios, Paros Island, the day before so we could make our flight the next day to Taipei, Taiwan. We were prepared, or so we thought.

It started out as a good day, the sun was shining, we were excited to go do some last minute shopping before we had to be at the airport for a very long flight, with a couple of connections.

We ate a yummy “American” buffet style breakfast at our hotel and headed to the Monastiraki Flea Market area to buy whatever caught our eyes. We had plenty of time… we didn’t have to be at the airport until later in the day.

We shopped around a bit, stopped and had a lovely caffeinated beverage from Starbucks (have I mentioned my love of Starbucks before?), and ended up purchasing some small things to remind us of our time in Greece. We had a great time. We finished up our meandering and decided to catch a taxi back to our hotel, hoping that Zoë would take a nap while we finished packing our bags.

It was in the taxi ride home that all hell broke loose for us. Chad and I thought that our flight left at 4:30 pm and we had to be at the airport at 2:30 pm. I felt a twinge of unease and had Chad check our flight times on his phone… good thing we did that, because our flight left at 2:30 pm. We had to be at the airport by 12:45 pm. It was 12:00 pm and we were stuck in bumper to bumper traffic.

Remaining calm, Chad and I discussed how we would have to pack quickly and get in a taxi right away and hopefully we would still make our flight. I started checking my purse, making sure that I had both our phones safely tucked away, and that I had all the diapers and other things I needed to make it through the long (24 hour) traveling day ahead of us.

That is when I realized that my iPhone 5 was not in my purse. Zoë’s was still there, but mine…GONE!

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It suddenly dawned on me that I had left my phone in the Starbucks’ restroom. Talk about a horrible nauseous feeling in the pit of one’s stomach, I think I had that times a hundred. I was flabbergasted that I had done such a thing! I was embarrassed and chagrined at myself.

We quickly discussed what I should do. Chad checked on line and it showed that my phone had not moved from the Starbucks, so we decided that I should take the taxi we were in back to the Starbucks, get my phone (hopefully) and he would stay at the hotel, pack, and check out of our room. Zoë had fallen asleep in my lap, so I took her with me. It was 12:06 pm.

After being stuck in traffic for 15 minutes, we arrived at the Starbucks, I ran into the bathroom with my still sleeping toddler in my arms… no phone. I ran and asked the employees of Starbucks… no phone. I asked to use their phone, just to call and let Chad know I was safe and realized that I did not know his greek phone number. I ran back to the taxi. It was 12:25 pm.

I was stressed. I was disappointed in myself, and most of all I was worried that we would miss our flight because of my stupidity. I was stuck in traffic again. It was at a stand still. I remembered that I had our hotel’s business card, I would just call Chad there. I asked the taxi driver if I could use his cell phone only to be told, “it’s for me to use, not you.” I started crying… yep, I am a big baby. It was 12:35pm.

The taxi wasn’t moving, so I asked the driver where the closest metro station was, it was right up at the corner, so I threw the fare at him and started running for the metro. Zoë was amazingly still asleep. I ran in, bought my ticket, just missed the train. I saw a women holding a cell phone, explained to her my situation (while crying… so embarrassing) and she let me call Chad at the hotel. I explained to him what had happened and that I would be there as soon as I could.

Z finally woke up and sweetly looked me in the eyes, while holding my face in her hands and said, “Hi Momma”. It was exactly what I needed to get over losing my phone… I had everything I needed in life, my wonderful daughter and husband. I could replace my phone. I finally calmed down and stopped crying. It was 12:45 pm.

I had to switch trains once, but arrived at the hotel (running from the station) about 10 minutes later. Chad was waiting with the taxi and we hopped in. Chad was so kind and understanding, Z was happy and excited to see her daddy. We were on our way and prayed that we would not miss our flight.

Our taxi driver knew that we were running very late and broke every speed limit to get us there quickly. He was pretty much the awesomest taxi driver ever. We arrived at the airport at 1:10 pm, checked into our flight and breathed a sigh of relief. We had made it.

Looking back I probably should have not gone back looking for the phone, but you know what they say about hindsight… it always makes you feel like a lousy loser who makes silly decisions… wait maybe that’s not right.

Our first flight to stopped in Abu Dhabi and ended in Hong Kong, where we had scheduled another flight to Taipei separately. Everything was great until Abu Dhabi, where the flight was delayed for two hours, then they boarded us only to tell us that the flight was delayed another 2 hours. But they were great and took good care of us, not only that but the flight was almost empty, so we had a row of 4 seats all to ourselves and Zoë was able to sleep laying down the whole flight. It was awesome, we were all rested and happy when we arrived in Hong Kong.

We went to go check into our flight to Taipei, which was leaving in one hour. They asked a questions, which seemed silly at the time and we answered truthfully, did we have a flight back out of Taiwan? No, we didn’t. They said that we could not go to Taiwan then, we had to have a flight out. I just thought…really? More to add to this crazy travel time?! We were lucky and a wonderful lady booked us on a later flight that day and emailed Taipei and got special permission to let us go and if we were stopped at immigration on the way in, we would have to buy a flight out of Taipei within 90 days before we could enter the country. We were ok with that, we had been to Taiwan before and had never had that issue.

We got on our later flight and an hour and a half later, we set foot on Taiwan soil. We had no issues at the immigration desk, and exited the airport at the same time as some Taiwanese heartthrob and had news cameras and girls screaming as we walked by. Z of course thought that it was for her and shouted “Yay!” as she saw them. Any stress I had that was left over from our travels melted away at that moment.

We had had a couple of trying travel days, but there was so much good, too. I am so thankful to be back in Taipei. I am so thankful that Zoë was excellent the whole time we were running around. I am so thankful that I have a husband that wanted to take this adventure on with me. I am so thankful that we made it safely and that I am back on the island that we used to call home. I am thankful that our awesome friends, Alan, Heidi, and Stella have opened up their home to us these past few days. I am thankful for black milk tea with boba. I am just really damn thankful.

Phone… what phone? I have everything I need right here.

photo credit: crap via photopin (license)

  6 comments for “Travel Days Better Left Forgotten

  1. Denise Heaney
    July 26, 2013 at 8:10 am

    this last entry brought tears to my eyes, i love how real your writing is! thanks for sharing!

    • andthreetogo
      July 27, 2013 at 6:46 pm

      Thank you so much Denise!

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  4. Shelley
    September 11, 2016 at 11:31 am

    OMG, but what a douche that first taxi driver was…amazing how much difference there can be in kindness from person to person. And um..yeah, I totally would’ve gone back for my phone too.

    We’re thinking about stopping into Taiwan this year for a short trip with our little one (while it’s still free), and you convinced even more to head there. Lovely post. 🙂

    • andthreetogo
      September 19, 2016 at 1:39 pm

      You really should! I love it so much, in fact lately I have been missing it so much. If you end up going email me and I can share all my favorite places!

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