August 22nd 2014 – Day 21, Goodbye USA, hello UK!
Didn’t sleep so good, wide awake at 5 then back to sleep to wake up at 9:30. The covers in this hotel are extra noisy, any time anyone moves there’s a lot of rustling, more than usual.
Also the beds were narrower than everywhere else we have been to, and the windows don’t open. Even the motel we stayed in was better. And when you have a shower the water pressure keeps playing up… This last hotel was all about location.
We leisurely finished packing, showered, had breakfast. We vacated our room at 12 and left our luggage at the hotel to go for a walk around Chinatown. We bought a couple of bits and bobs: back scratchers, a little Buddha. The shopkeepers in Chinatown – of the shops we visited – just hovered over us the minute we walked in the shop, quite pushy and eager to sell. Off putting it was.
We were weaving up and down the side streets of Chinatown, when I decided I needed to have those good luck waving cats and went into a side street shop. In there we were greeted by a young, second generation, young man, who charmingly and expertly explained an awful lot about which Bhudda each one of us should have – based on date of birth. He had to ask his father, which one for Jeff, and we all got assigned one. I asked how much the bigger ones cost, and he said $10.99. He explained a little about Feng Shui buddhas. He was quite the salesman, well spoken, with impeccable manners and well, adorable, really. Unlike the people working on the other shops he wasn’t pushy, he was just very knowledgeable. It was quite impressive.
So, with a waving cat charm, and three little Buddhas we went to pay. We had no dollars left. The mother said she would give us, as gifts, Jeff and I, two good luck amulets. She said we weren’t very lucky this year and we needed them, to carry them with us all the time. She looked at Daniel and said he didn’t need one as he’s very lucky. Anyway, all very amusing and cute and sort of magical – but they didn’t take credit card, only cash or debit. So I tried my debit card and entered the PIN twice, it was refused (strange as I’ve been taking cash out). So I said I’d get cash from the bank myself. She said no, just show I.D. and it will be fine. I thought, ‘mmmm’. Actually I’m not sure what I thought, I gave her my I.D., as people had often asked for it in other shops. She said it was $43 dollars. All very friendly… I am not superstitious, by the way, but you know, I’m charmed and seduced by its manifestations.
We left the shop and I felt really uneasy. I had just paid with a debit card AND my ID was my driving license!!!! What was I thinking??? I looked up at the shop name and didn’t see anything, well there were a few signs, but didn’t seem to be for the shop. So I took a photo, as that would give me the exact location should anything odd happen. Here it is, the shop is called Yat On Gift Shop…
The thing is, Jeff said he had the cash, but I remember thinking we probably need it for something else, and said it was ok, also I wanted to get this for them.
We walked around more, had lunch and before we knew it, it was 3pm and we were in the taxi to the airport.
We got on the plane at 6, after Daniel got some hassle, because on his passport photo he’s 10 years old and has very long hair. He looks very different from how he looks now. Also my case was 10kg above the limit. So we had to put stuff on Daniel’s case, which was already PACKED FULL and throw away some toiletries, and still 3kg above, she let us through. This woman really upset Daniel because he thought she was laughing at him, she really asked all her colleagues if they thought it was really him. Daniel said she was a horrible bitch. I suggested he’d try a less sexist word: officious jobsworth. To be fair she was only doing her job, but she did make a big fuss of it, she laughed a bit too much and said he looked like a girl on the photo, which upset him. None of this bothered me, but things that don’t bother adults often deeply wound teenagers.
The flight back was actually shorter, just over 9 hours. However it was hell flight. Any overnight flight is always horrendous. None of us got any sleep. Daniel maybe got an hour. I know I got nothing at all, as I remember every single song that played when I tried to snooze. It then took ages for the last case to come out, Daniel’s. Well a bunch of cases got delayed. Then another – what it felt like – two hours in the taxi from Heathrow.
Before that, at Heathrow the woman at passport control also asked for second opinion on Daniel’s passport, but she was more professional about it, although she also said the photo looked like a girl. When we left the check in we decided next time we will get a new passport.
I decided to stay up until normal bedtime, we got home at 14:30 and so I had about eight hours to kill. I knew that if I sat to watch TV. I’d fall asleep, which is what happened to Jeff. So I started editing the holiday photos. Focusing like that kept me awake until 22:00 when I went to bed. Daniel went out as soon as he got home, then to party. It’s good to be home… While I was editing the photos on the computer, Rusty sat in front of the screen then bit my nose, demanding attention! I missed her so!
Well, today I checked my bank account, as this has been playing on my mind, and I was actually charged $80 for the transaction. So basically an extra £20. I have a feeling this happens often. Given that the transaction is less than £100 I’m probably not protected either, and it was done with a debit card. I stopped the card anyway, and disputed the transaction. However Lloyds bank was really quite rubbish at this, twice I got cut off during the call to the fraud dpt. while on hold!
I was actually relieved it was just that amount. I guess given the performance we got if the transaction dispute doesn’t get accepted it would be a good tip! I’d like to say thank you to the family, if they really are a family, who work at Yat On Gift Shop, for you are very good at what you do and the moments we spent together were delightful and memorable…