The Accidental Tourist
When I was 19 my best friend and her sister were going to stay with family in Boston for a couple of weeks, and they invited me to go with them. All my family holidays had been in the UK and I'd had one girly holiday in Majorca, so I was rather excited - America seemed much more glamorous. As it would only be my second trip abroad I was quite glad we would be staying with grown ups who would make sure I didn't get on the wrong flight home and end up in Estonia instead of Edinburgh.
The friend's uncle and aunt lived about an hour outside of Boston, so they suggested we stay in a hotel in the city for a night, to let us do some shopping (and give them a bit of peace and quiet probably).
We took them at their word and shopped. A lot. We had exhausted the shops in the Harvard Square area, so we went off to a shopping mall a bit further afield. Once we were done we hailed a yellow cab to take us back to Harvard Square. Now for some stupid reason I had my passport with me in a little backpack, along with most of the money I had left. I also had lots of shopping bags. You can probably guess what's coming. When we pulled up outside the hotel I gaily hopped out of the taxi, making sure I had my precious shopping bags (new jeans! precious!), and the taxi drove off. It was at this moment that I realised my backpack containing my passport and money was disappearing round the corner in the back of a yellow cab.
I mouthed something incoherent whilst pointing and looking horrified, which alerted my friends to the fact that something was terribly wrong. I then found my voice and shrieked 'MY BAG!'
The minutes after this went shooting by like a film that has been speeded up - we saw the taxi turn right and because we knew we were in the middle of Harvard Square, figured there was a decent chance of flagging the driver down on the other side if we ran in the opposite direction. So we tore off at full tilt down this busy street, until we came out onto the street where we expected our taxi to emerge.
We came out onto the street, which was a sea of yellow cabs, stretching as far as the eye could see.
Of course they were all identical, all possible contenders for the one we'd just been in - it was like a scene from a movie. When I saw this I was sure all was lost, and that I was going to have to ask my friend's uncle, who was already being very kind by putting me up, to take me to the Embassy to get another passport. I had no idea where the Embassy was, or how much I would have to pay for another passport. Or even if they would GIVE me another passport, as I clearly should not have been in a foreign country without being accompanied by a sensible adult.
Thankfully the driver of our cab had indeed pulled out onto the street we were on, recognised us (I don't know how because by that time we were shiny-faced, wild haired and ever so slightly freaking out) and pulled over - for which I will be eternally grateful. He opened his window and drawled 'all right girls?' but before he'd finished the sentence I'd already dived into the back of the cab and retrieved my precious bag. I may have kissed him, I don't remember as I think I was in a mild state of shock at how stupid I was.
Thankfully, this ranks highly in my moments of stupidity, and I've never actually boarded the wrong plane, or asked a suspect-looking gentleman with a fake beard to take a picture of me with my lovely new camera.
But I'm still young(ish). I have plenty time for new and ridiculous adventures.