As a Choice Hotels Blogger, I am receiving complimentary gift cards and a hotel stay. All opinions are my own.

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Have you have had a vacation that’s gone totally crazy? Choice Hotels wants to hear about it! Tell them about your VacayGoneCrayCray and you could win a $10,000 grand prize for a chance to have a vacation do-over! Pretty awesome, right? All you have to do is submit your story for a chance to win! Plus, when you submit, Rhett & Link will choose their favorites to share in a video…maybe even re-enact on their YouTube show Good Mythical Morning! Check it out!


My Vacay Gone Cray Cray

I have a few crazy vacation stories, but I think my favorite is the American Girl Lost in Tokyo tale. There will be a video about this coming up. My camera battery died RIGHT AFTER I got all pretty for you. Now it’s thundering out and the dogs are barking at the FedEx guy. Ugh. Forget vacations gone crazy, my life is full of crazy! Anyway, American Girl Lost in Tokyo Tale goes a bit like this:

In January, 1999 (just one year before the Y2K bug was set to wipe out humanity as we know it!), I traveled from the East Coast of the US all the way to Japan. I was visiting my then-boyfriend (now ex husband, but it’s all good) for a month. He was in the Navy, stationed in Misawa (in Northern Japan). I managed to survive a 17 hour flight with very minor drama. I landed at Narita Airport in Tokyo. I had to spend the night at a hotel before catching the last part of my flight from the smaller Haneda Airport.


Landing in Tokyo, I realized I had NO IDEA how to get to my hotel. I did figure out how to change my money over to Yen! I found a nice American business man who put me on the right bus, then told me how to find a cab from the bus stop and what to tell the cab driver. Let me tell you something, if you’ve ever ridden in a cab in NYC, it’s like riding a horse and buggy compared to a cab in Tokyo. My guy actually DROVE ON THE SIDEWALK at one point!

So I make it to my hotel and check in. Yay! I take in the gorgeous Tokyo skyline from my room on the millionth floor (or 10th, maybe, it was high!), then get down to business. Bathroom, shower, bed. Except in the bathroom the toilet has like 18 buttons on it! I have no idea what they do and which one flushes. The picture guides me a bit and I manage to flush. In the shower, it takes me ten minutes to figure out how to turn on the water. I shower, go to bed and wake up the next morning to make coffee in my little in-room coffee pot…

Japanese Vending Machine

Photo Credit: jpellgen– Not from my vacation because I was too jetlagged to photograph my morning beverage experience!

…except I have no idea how to work it! Giving up, I take some of my Yen to a vending machine. I get what I think is orange juice. It’s not. I have no idea what it was. I get something else that turns out to be nicotine water. Gross!! I give up on refreshing beverages and head down to call a cab to take me to the train that will take me to the airport.

The cab comes and drops me off at a big building. I’m told that I have to go to the roof. Okay, fine. I drag my suitcase and take an elevator to the highest level, then drag my suitcase up a flight of steps. I’m standing on top of a building with no doors and no train in sight! I almost start crying, but then see some people walking around to the side. Yay! Train station!

Big problem: I don’t know how to buy a ticket! I don’t know where I need to go! I can’t read ANYTHING! Thank goodness I took French in high school and remembered the very basics. Why French? Because a couple on vacation from France happened to speak Japanese. Through my very broken French and their broken English, I managed to buy the right ticket. Except I didn’t know where to get off. A nice Japanese business man helped me by counting on his fingers how many stops I had to wait.

Finally, I arrived at Haneda Airport! I flew out in a blizzard (nothing grounds planes there, I flew home in a typhoon!) and landed in Misawa. I was so relieved, because I didn’t have to worry about anything anymore. My boyfriend was going to be there and he would handle the rest….except he wasn’t there! My flight was delayed by a whopping ten minutes, so he decided to go all the way back to base for a coffee. By this point, I’m standing in a foreign country, no way to reach him and crying because I’m just so jetlagged, tired and lost.

He did finally arrive and the rest of my vacation went fine. In fact, two days before it was supposed to end, I decided to stay. We were married in the base legal office on Misawa Air Base and I lived there for two years. So in the end, it was okay (well, aside from the fact that we’re not together anymore, but I got my son out of it and we’re still friends, so it’s all good!).

Do you have your own VacayGoneCrayCray story to tell? Submit your story for a chance to win a $10,000 vacation do-over!