At least I made it home alive

When you’re planning a bucket-list holiday, you usually don’t dwell on things that can go wrong. At least not the things that involve total disaster, like dying in an elevator shaft, having one or more appendages removed in a shark attack, or losing your wallet. At least I don’t.

I mean, we don’t go on big holidays very often, but when we do, I try not to fixate on whether or not all of the airplane’s engines are going to catch on fire, or if I might end up getting an incurable rash from eating tainted pineapple, or whether I might lose my wallet.

No, you just fill your carry-on bag with 60-SPF sunscreen and Extra Strength Advil and, positively giddy with the promise of a sparkling week of warm beaches and even warmer memories, you sally forth to a foreign country three time zones away.

And once you are safely there and thoroughly enjoying yourself, when all your world is happy and full of promise, that’s exactly when you lose your wallet. At least I do.

It started out so well, it really did. Four days in the land of Aloha and the weekend arrived, and we were heading to the zoo.

It’s brutally hot, of course, but to save several dozen American dollars for a cab, we decide to take the bus.

The pamphlet detailing the bus routes is 10 pages long and you need a master’s degree in urban planning to decipher it, and by the time we finally manage to find the right bus stop, we (I) are already limping and sweating profusely.

When we finally arrive, we are told the aquarium is “just a few blocks away from the zoo,” so we decide to go there first. We trudge bravely along the famously fantastic Waikiki Beach until many minutes later, we stumble into the aquarium facility, and wander around looking at many weird fishes behind many glass enclosures.

It’s as hot as blue blazes and we decide to head to the zoo.

I may have mentioned I’m not that great with heat. I’m not that great with -20 C cold either, but I tend to get even wonkier than usual when it reaches the point where you can fry an egg on my forehead. And finally reaching the zoo, I could’ve added a side of bacon.

But we spend a couple of hours of heat stroke, wobbling around from shade patch to shade patch, enjoying the lemurs and orangutans and water fountains, until it’s either time to head back to the air-conditioned sanctuary of the hotel, or simply melt into a puddle like the Wicked Witch of the West.

So we sit on a bench under a huge banyan tree and dig out money for the bus — and that’s the last time I saw it. My wallet, I mean.

It’s not a fun feeling. Reaching into your backpack and realizing your wallet, money, cards, lint, self-esteem, etc., is gone, is not fun. Telling your Better Half is even less fun.

So we get off the bus at the hotel and immediately take an expensive cab back to the zoo. No luck. Back at the hotel, we phone five times over two days, and the bank, which shall remain nameless (CIBC), keeps us on hold for four hours and 18 minutes. No kidding.

Spending half a holiday day at the Waikiki police station wasn’t really on our vacation itinerary, but hey, at least we didn’t fall down an elevator shaft.

Harley Hay is a Red Deer writer and filmmaker.

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