SERIOUSLY!!?!? We are the unluckiest people. The only thing that could have made today worse would have been serious injury, and actually, my shoulder is killing me! We got up early today, checked out, got the bus and made our way to pick up the van. All went smoothly (apart from my rucksack strap breaking, leaving the entire bag resting on my right, and now very sore shoulder).
We get to the van rental place. It’s sunny, (just setting the scene) there are tiny dogs running around the place and we take a seat. The guy is like, “let’s find your reservation. What’s your name?”
“Charlotte Hacche.” I say. “Hhhmm. We don’t have a reservation for you. Have you paid?” “Erm, yes. £3500 of paid…” “You aren’t on the system.” That’s right, they has not heard of us. We paid £3500 and there was no van! We weren’t in any system, our proof of purchase proved unprovable and we were left with no where to go! Something had gone very wrong and due to the time difference there was no way to put if right. All vans in LA has been booked, and we couldn’t get another.
We were told the only way to get a van was to go to San Francisco , where they would hold a van till tomorrow. Therefore our only solution was to go to LAX to get a plane to San Francisco. This cost $206 each and $25 per bag. Once here we had to get a hostel. But there was no space for two people. So we had to fork out for a hotel, $165. Oh, also, we decided to get a cocktail at the airport, because, quite frankly we deserved it! This cost $47!! For two drinks!! I know I’m going on about money, but money is an issue. I don’t have a job remember! What bothers me most is how worried our parents must be. I had to text them, asking for a card statement as my Dad paid in the first place. (A whole other scary and depressing story) they called the card company who called the travel company who called the van company, and there should be a van to pick up tomorrow. There had better be a van there tomorrow! Whoever is at fault has better pay for the flights and the hotel and the psychological damage or some shit. The LA people told us we would be reimbursed, but how long will that take? None of these companies spoke to us. We had one phone call, which we missed whole trying to get a hostel, but nothing else. I tried to call back no less than eight times with no luck.
This brings me nicely to the fact that the credit on Kate’s global phone number ran out and she tried to put money on it, but the bank wouldn’t release the funds as it’s essentially a random company trying to take money. So she tried other methods of payment and managed to get put on a fraud list. A FRAUD LIST!! This has been put right, thank fuck. But there is still no credit on the phone so we have no way of calling US numbers. Using a pay phone we rang every hostel in San Francisco. Literally, every hostel. A woman at the airport gave us a list. We used all the coins we had, when we ran out, we changed money at a Starbucks. Every hostel was full, or the number was out of service. We had been in the middle of securing beds when the credit on Kate’s American phone number ran out in LA. These beds were no longer available by the time we got to San Francisco. We had no where to go. Off I go to the lady at the information desk, she tells me there’s a board, in another terminal, with hotel numbers and a free phone! This was useful, as we had run out of money. Again. We walked the three terminals to this mythical hotel board and proceed to ring every hotel. We faced a similar problem, many numbers were out of use or just wrong. But finally! There is a La Quinta! it has a twin bed room. We cannot afford it, we cannot pay for it on Kate’s emergency credit card any longer, because of the fraud thing. It came out of our money, that we would be using to live off. Which we knew wouldn’t be enough anyway.
This evening we are in a random hotel in San Francisco, miles from where we need to be watching Honey-booboo. To be fair, it’s a lush hotel and a world away from the hostel. It’s a twin room, but the beds are giant! A huge TV, no other people, what more could we want? Really, I would like to be on a campsite somewhere on the Pacific Coast Highway. We have missed this section of the trip. We have no idea what’s going to happen tomorrow.
I am however proud of how we handled it. We essentially had very little help, and we have not died. We are dealing with the situation and that’s that. We have laughed at how shitty today has been, mainly, to stop ourselves from crying. But we haven’t cried and we have a place to sleep. So I’m counting today as a win.