Oct 7, 2011

Scotland/Ireland: Screw you, Patrick at Yahoo, if that is your real name.

My previous traveling buddy, Jennifer, and I have been planning a trip to Scotland and Ireland for months now.  Several long, grueling months of 5:30 and 6:30 am texts (what the f*ck who does that shit?  If I happen to be awake at that time I'm doing something you don't want to know about), a continuous email flow about sights, hauntings, suggested readings, and tedious conversations about what to see and where to go.  I am at vacation saturation.  I am so ready to just get on that plane and get this over with.  You see, I'm not much of a planner.  This was probably evidenced in my solo trip to Texas where my only plan was to head southeast and eventually hit the state line.  Jennifer is a planner.  A planner of epic proportions.  She could probably design a trip for a family of ten in about an hour.  Word of caution:  throw out the budget and remind her to pencil in some bathroom breaks.  You order a plan and she'll hit you with emails of spreadsheets that have what you must do, what you should do, what you may like to do combined with the addresses, gps coordinates, website address, interesting facts, and for the love of all that is holy, the hours of operation.  To me, that's f*cking overkill.  Just point me in the direction and let me go!  Just get the hell out of my way and let me pee when I need to and eat when I want!

So, after all the planning (err, yeah, thanks for your hard work, by the way, if it were up to me we'd be sleeping on someone's floor and eating at people's houses that we met along the way) the moment has finally gotten close enough for me to start pondering if I need to get a new rain jacket (which if I do, I'll wait until the night  before the flight to procure).   In about two weeks and two days I'll be on a plane to the  land of greenery and men with accents (bow chica wow wow).  But first, an over priced vacation wouldn't be complete without the pre-vacation drama.  

So this week I get home from work and check my email.  It's a lovely email from our tour company with the subject line of :    Urgent Travel Documents for your Trip.  It reads as follows:

      Hi Jessica and Jennifer,

      It is Patrick with myguidebritain. I am just contacting you to give you the heads up on a few things. 

      Our sister company myguideireland has gone out of business. They are the supplier we used to book your Irish              hotels. Therefore, we have contacted the hotels direct and have arranged for prepayment for your rooms. However, there might be some confusion when you are checking in depending on who is going to be working the front desk. If you run into any problems please tell them to have someone in accounts or reservation take a look and they will see that credit card details or a bank transfer were made for your rooms.

     Also, I had to rebook the Hertz car through a local travel agent in Boston we work through. Attached is the new voucher and confirmation number. Please print it out and use it to pick up the car. While picking up the car through Hertz it would be best to not mention myguide as it could cause some confusion.

     I am sorry about any inconvenience this has caused you but I assure you everything is all set. Obviously it wold be a good idea to check your flight time on the aer lingus flight the day before you take it.

     Please email me to let me know you have received this attached voucher. Also let me know if you have any questions. It is best to reach me through email.

All the best,

Patrick Phelan

So naturally, being the investigative superpower that I am (no, really, I am) I note a few red flags immediately (with my first impressions directly following).

1)   Gone out of business?  (What the f*ck!)
2)  There might be some confusion when you check in?  (Holy Shit!)
3)  It's best not to mention myguide when picking up the car?  (Motherf*cker!!! Son of a bitch!)
4)  His email is a yahoo account?  (gee those are special, right?  Damn it! Fn yahoo account.)
5)  All the best?  (I am going to f#cking cut you!)

I text Jennifer right away.  Unfortunately she's at happy hour and can't be bothered (slutty lush) but she assures me she saw the email and sent one back asking for a phone number just in case we have issues while we are there.

Hmm, pardon me,  but this investigative superpower did not just fall off the turnip truck and a phone number is not going to be enough to pacify my yearning for more knowledge.

I do a quick internet search (cause that's where all the good stalkers...cough, investigators, get their information) and see that the company actually went belly up in August.  That was months ago.  Those bastards didn't say a word until today?  At this point I am wondering how many of my frequent flyer miles I'm going to have to use to hop on a plane to Boston and kick Patrick's ass.  That is, IF he IS in Boston.  He's probably in Malasia in a tiny room with 50 other experienced fraudulent tour booking agents.  

I shoot him an email back (oops, without consent from my travel mate) and ask in the best possible way if we need to call the credit card company and stop payment.  Cause that's how this aggressive freaked out bitch rolls.  (and, ok, so maybe I wasn't that nice, but what the holy hell is going on!)

Patrick responds with an email within a few hours indicating everything was fine, no worries, no need to  contact the credit card company, chill.   And although Patrick's words would be soothing to the average traveler (maybe), I'm still on red alert and my opinion was he wrote everything he needed to write to try to stop us from reversing the charges.  Screw that.

Jennifer steps up to the plate and decides to contact EVERY hotel, castle, bed and breakfast, car rental place (and choir boy we may have eventually had contact with) to ensure we have reservations and they are paid in full.  Which, frankly, IS now a pre-requisite for my ass getting on a plane to Scotland in roughly two weeks.  Emails start pouring in and indicate everything is fine.  One place doesn't have us at all but that's because her name is spelled incorrectly.  Whew.  Well, she's saying, Whew.  I'm still wondering what kind of brain surgeon Patrick must be to be able to stop and redirect all the emails to each location and answer them himself.   That could just be my paranoia asking.

So, it seems, crisis adverted.  In a few short weeks we will hop on the plane for roughly 14 hours and start our journey through Scotland and Ireland...noting all excel spreadsheets and paying close attention to the timeline.  (Cough  bullshit! cough)  

Still haven't gotten a bike reserved but apparently responding to emails isn't the rental company's strong suit.  So much for their large ad in BMWMOA magazine.  We'll see what happens with that and you can bet I'll be bitching and moaning about that along the way.   Aren't vacations supposed to be a time for relaxation and laughter?

yah.  Expect a lot of photos of me laughing while Jennifer is being pulled into mysterious panel vans.  I've already started the bidding.  This vacation is going to pay for itself!  

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