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    Posted August 4, 2008 by
    Dublin, Ireland
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Stuck on a cruise? My vacation was worse

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    The Christmas vacation that went way South!


    The Christmas Vacation that went way South!


    It was supposed to be a great Christmas vacation, 1998. My wife and I were bringing our new 8 month old son to meet my family in Ireland. We'd been looking forward to it forever and thought it would never come.


    We did lots of shopping for gifts for all the family, a gift for everyone, 15 gifts in all. The day of our flight finally arrived and we were good to go. The taxi arrived and we were on our way to LAX - now all we had to do was to just sit back and let it all soak in - we were on vacation.



    Then things started to go wrong!



    As we were unloading the bags at the airport we noticed that the biggest case with all the presents was not there! Somehow, we each thought it had been loaded into the taxi. Well, since we had about 3 hours before our flight I suggested that I quickly take a taxi back to our house and grab the case. The trip is normally about 50 - 60 minutes. Well the traffic on the 405 was horrendous and all I could do was look at the taxi meter and my watch to gauge if we were going to make it in time. After an about 40 minutes I realized that we were never going to make it to my house and get back in time for the flight, so I asked the taxi driver to turn around and head back to LAX. We got off the freeway and entered the 405 going north. Very soon, we were stuck in heavy traffic and going nowhere. Now I was in a panic as I was not sure I was going to make it back in time to catch the plane. We took a gamble and detoured to the 605 north to the 105 west and lucked out. As I arrived back at the gate seating area they started boarding the plane.



    My wife and I were both very upset we did not have the case with the gifts and that an additional $75 had just been wasted on a taxi ride to nowhere! We boarded the plane early as we had our baby and all his bottles, wipes, diapers etc, and the baby seat. It took me forever to get the seat properly attached to the airline seat and then we organized all our stuff for easy access under the chairs etc.. We both sat down and let out a huge sigh of relief. The rest of the passengers were coming aboard. One of the passengers and his family came up to us and said that we were sitting in their seats. I checked, and he was right, we were supposed to be in the row behind - exact same seats. I asked if he would mind taking our seats since there was no difference - he said no and insisted we move our stuff! @#$%^&*



    Arrrrh, what more could go wrong - we were about to find out!



    The flight was supposed to be about 9-10 hours from LAX to London for a connecting flight to Dublin. About 5 hours into our flight and about 1 hour past Chicago, the Captain announced that he was turning the plane around as there was a very sick passenger on board. We arrived in Chicago around 11pm and were told it would be just a quick stop with the sick passenger being taken off the plane and we'd be on our way again. We could get off the plane and stretch our legs if we wanted. About 45 minutes later the crew announced that there would have to be a crew change due to time limits for the existing crew. A new crew would be contacted and brought in to fly the plane onto London and that should take just a few hours for them to get to Chicago. We had to stay in the terminal. All the stores and coffee shops were closed it was now almost midnight. My wife and I along with our 9 month old son slept on a bench in the terminal. At 6 am it was announced that the crew was in the airport and we'd be on our way at 7am. And sure enough, we were on our way at 7am!



    When we arrived in London we had missed all connecting flights to Dublin, it was about 11pm. We had to line up for about ½ hour to get a hotel voucher from the airline to stay in London overnight. Then we had to load onto buses with all our luggage and go check into a hotel. Then our son rolled off of the bed during the night and cried the rest of it!!!



    Finally, we got to my parents home in Dublin the next day after 36 hours of travel - we were beat and run down!



    The next day both my son and I started to feel very sick. He was having trouble sleeping and was congested. I developed a very serious cough which morphed into a full blown respiratory infection. I was bed ridden and not able to eat. I've never been this sick in my life. It got so bad that we had to call a doctor for a house call as I could not leave the house. He prescribed some medication and said that there was somewhat of an epidemic of respiratory infections at the moment in Ireland and the UK. Well, the medications helped a bit but things took a turn for the worst and I had to go to the emergency room. The hospital was packed, literally, people on beds in the hallways. We waited for hours and were finally told by the doctor that they would like to admit me but that there were no beds available! I was given stronger meds and headed back to my bed at my parents house. After about a week I was feeling well enough to walk around and eat a little.



    We were already ½ way through our vacation and we'd done nothing - my wife was being a nurse to both my son and I.



    As we were running out of time and still had some relatives to visit in other parts of Ireland we decided to get going. We loaded up our rental car for what should have been a 3 hour drive to Tramore, County Waterford. It had been raining for the last week or so and continued to do so. As we set off on our drive the rain intensified and roads started to flood. We came to a flooded road about ½ way to our destination. We had to turn around and take a detour along a road that went over a hill and some high ground. When we got to end of the detour road it was also flooded and impassable! We tried another two different roads off of the hill and all were flooded. It was beginning to get dark and here we were driving around, lost, in the Irish countryside in torrential rain on flooded roads. I was becoming really concerned at this point! We found our way back to the original detour road that led us up the hill but it too was now flooded and looked impassable. It was still raining hard and the water was still rising. I turned to my wife and said that I was going to try and drive through it. I would take it slowly and if we started to stall I would gun it. We got through!



    This time we took a detour on a major highway and had to stay in a hotel in the town as the highway was flooded on the other side of the town. We finally made it to our house in Tramore. What should have been a 3 hour drive ended up taking 2 days!



    I have never been as happy to return home as the day we arrived back from that Christmas vacation in Ireland.



    We look back and laugh at all the misfortune but at the time it was hell!



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