YOUR HOLIDAY DISASTER
Sunday 21 September 1997
Joseph Schofield's canny way of getting a US visa led to his mugging and a lonely night in a bus station
I WAS in America at a sports camp on an island, having just sat (and almost certainly failed) my A-levels. The camp was on a beautiful lake called Winnepesaukee, but I had failed to organise a work visa. I'd lied my way through immigration and assumed that three months of waterskiing and adventure beckoned.
The chap in charge of the camp saw it differently and told me to go home, get the visa and come back. My $100 wasn't going to cover this so I hatched a plan whereby I would take the bus to Montreal, obtain a visa and be back in two days. I paid for a ticket at a lost town in the mountains at an obscene time in the morning - and managed to lose it within the 30 feet to the bus. By the time I arrived in Montreal, in the middle of the jazz festival, there was not a hotel room to be found. I ended up on the wrong side of town and, in desperation, asked one proprietor for a room. He obliged, and then asked me what sort of wife I wanted. My finances would only stretch to the taste of a beer so I declined the offer but took the room and headed into town. All was fine until I was grabbed around the throat, shoved against a wall and relieved of my wallet.
A fitful night's sleep was not helped when a large metal object was thrown through the window. Terrified, I disappeared under the covers and waited for the morning. When I emerged, the owner accused me of smashing the window and demanded $40. I refused. Two unpleasant-looking men appeared, at which point I would have paid, but I had no money. I stood my ground until I was shoved out of the door, then gave a two-fingered salute and ran away.
At the embassy, staff could not fathom why I was going about obtaining a visa in such an eccentric way. Feeling lonely, broke and certain I was not going to make it back to New Hampshire, I began talking to another chap in the queue who offered me a lift to Boston if he managed to get a visa. He then informed me that his brother had been involved in a slight "security problem" and this was his eighth attempt for a visa. Anyway, after much wrangling and numerous phone calls, I got the precious stamp and so did my new-found friend. Heading south, all seemed fine, until my companion started talking. For five hours he told me about every sexual conquest of his life. At one point he insisted I take notes.
When he dropped me off in Boston, it was pouring with rain. I got lost and missed the last bus. With the money I scraped together from my bag I only had enough cash for a bus in the morning and had to spend a night in the bus station.
I have been back to America since. But I've never again forgotten my visa.
filmFilm producers sue Warner Bros for $75m over Hobbit films
voicesJust when you thought you could find a man, get married, and have a baby by the age of 35... it turns out you’re too late, says Grace Dent
Swedish stars ask fans for £195 pledges on crowd-funding website
musicAs Mariah Carey and Noddy Holder rake in the royalties from their classics, why there hasn't been a decent festive hit for 20 years?
theatreAuthor Daniel Rosenthal recalls the mishaps that almost brought the curtain down on the likes of John Gielgud and Diana Rigg
lifeAs the Royal Mail plans to phase out deliveries on two wheels, it's no wonder posties are in a spin
musicThe 21-year-old beat Ella Eyre and Chlöe Howl to win the honour
lifeFull of the joys and want to help your fellow man? December isn't the time to do it
Life & Style blogs
YouTube: Top trending videos of 2013 - including Tom Daley and Peppa Pig
Chinese scientists 'increasingly confident' about invisibility cloak after making a cat disappear
The rise of goo-goo gadgets: Hey baby, nice wheels!
Maggots in surgeries and out-of-date vaccines: Thousands of patients' lives put at risk by ‘years of basic GP failures’
Pirate Bay sets sail for Ascension Island after SX domain name seized by authorities
- 1 Nelson Mandela memorial: ‘Bogus’ interpreter made mockery of Barack Obama’s tribute in Soweto
- 2 French café starts charging extra to rude customers
- 3 Australia: Gay marriage law reversed by high court less than a week after first weddings
- 4 Exeter to Edinburgh and back in a day: How one fresher's lost bet left him facing a 900-mile round trip
- 5 Australia incest case: Severely deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding
£30000 - £40000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Biomass I...
£45000 - £55000 Per Annum Extensive Benefits Package: Clearwater People Soluti...
£30000 - £42500 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: Working in conjunction with ...
£44999 - £60001 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: A Top Tier firm i...