The day of infamy

London Travel Blog

 › entry 33 of 33 › view all entries

So I woke up at a decent time and went downstairs to check out.  I would leave my bags there so I could see the Parliament building, and I knew what time I had to be back at the hostel to get to the airport.  I dropped off the key and mentioned that I had left my passport with them.  Calm searching for my passport turned to frantic scrambling as the lady behind the desk could not find it.  Needless to say, my patience was running thin as she checked the entire area.

As much as I like London, I certainly didn't want to be stuck there.  Plus, that passport and I had a lot of memories, and I wanted it back.  After 5 minutes of searching, the events of yesterday came back to me.  There was another Noah at the hostel who was checking out before me to catch an earlier flight home.  As calmly as I could, I asked the girl if there were any passports belonging to a Noah.  She said, "Sure, but it's not yours."  I knew right away whose it was - and the picture on the passport confirmed it.  It belonged to the other Noah, the one who had checked out an hour ago.  He had taken my passport by mistake and was long gone.

I knew he would not get very far, but I had no idea what would happen to my passport.  I demanded that the girl at the desk give me money and call a taxi so I could get to the US Embassy to get a new passport.  They can turn something around in the time I needed, so I took 80 pounds and hurried out there.  On the way, I had to stop and get passport photos taken.  The driver was great to work with and quick, he knew where to take me to get instant photos.  That out of the way, we drove quickly to the embassy.  I thought that getting in without a passport would be tough, but it was not a problem.  I had plenty of other ID.  As I waited in line to get the form for a new passport, I knew time was running out.

I also began to think about my poor passport, and how much I would miss it.  As dumb as it sounds, I wanted to fill that thing up with all sorts of stamps, but now I would be starting over.  It was really sad for me.  Finally, it was my turn and I explained the situation to the lady behind the counter.  She confirmed that I could get something very quickly, informed me of the cost, gave me the forms, and I went to fill them out.  The whole time I was thinking about my passport and how it was probably lost forever.  I went to hand the completed forms in, and the lady told me, "This will void your old passport, is that ok?".  In a moment of hesitation, I asked for a minute and called the hostel, hoping that they had heard from the other Noah.  It really was a time crunch, and it began to look like I would not make it even if I got a new passport quickly.

The same girl that had searched for my passport at the hostel answered, and she was delighted to hear from me.  She informed me that the other Noah had indeed called, and he was waiting at Luton airport with my passport.  However, I was not going to Luton airport.  My flight was out of Heathrow.  Another wrench in the plans.  Again, it seemed hopeless, but I asked her if the other Noah had left a number to be reached at.  She gave me the number and I gave him a call.  I explained to him that I was not going to Luton, and thankfully he agreed to head back to the hostel and give me my passport.  After all, he had to head there to get his.  He was not happy, he had missed his flight and was unsure what to do.

I took the taxi back to the hostel, and after only a couple minutes of waiting, the other Noah showed up.  Time was so tight that I grabbed my passport from him at the door, thanked him, and kept going.

Fortunately for me, I barely made it to the airport on time.  Heathrow is a huge airport and I had to do a lot of rushing around, but I did indeed make it on my flight.  I have no idea what happened to the other Noah, but hopefully things worked out for the best.

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7,154 km (4,445 miles) traveled
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photo by: ulysses