“. . . and the Walls Came Tumbling Down!”


Happy Friday, y’all!

And now … more than ever, I am Thanking God It’s Friday … writing it out even!  I thanked my Creator this morning when I woke up … standing in the rest room … just feeling grateful for being where I am today.   That would be including my spiritual, physical and mental health today.  I am just a “happy camper” so to speak … on this journey called “life”!  Peace be still . . .

Just last week, I was having an issue with a booking I made in Amsterdam, since I am planning to go there after I leave Kiel, Germany.  I am looking at flights and trains connecting me from here in Valencia to Hamburg, as I hope to visit a friend there in Kiel, too!  We’ll see … but I do want to see some parts of Germany.  So, I was on Booking.com looking for a deal.  Up until now, all “deals” had a free cancellation policy.  In other words, if you cancel like three days before you arrive, there is no fee.  Where I am now gave me three days and would charge me a fee of 30 Euro if I hadn’t cancelled 3 days before my anticipated arrival.  I am happy … so happy here … that I don’t want to leave this place!  It is essentially a college dormitory but I have my own room.  There are 6 or 7 floors with an elevator to carry you up and down, they call it a “lift”, and there are two wings or sides to each floor!  No television … which I don’t miss … no refrigerator either … but since I am doing a lot of fruits and nuts, I don’t miss one much either.  It is a fairly new building with spacious rooms with huge closets, an enormous desk and an incredible staff – cleaning and front desk, maintenance included.  For example, I needed a new shower head, I reported it in the morning and got it by the end of the day … like 6 in the evening!

Anyway, so I booked this hostel in Amsterdam after seeing multiple advertisements for “free cancellation” within a certain time frame.  As I am completing the booking, I saw a “bold red line” at the bottom of the page and above it it read: “This booking cannot be cancelled. The cost of the cancellation is the same as the cost of your booking.”  I was like, wt@ … and hit cancel.  I was too late! I looked over everything, and sure enough, they were charging me 275 Euro for my stay at this hostel in Amsterdam AND 275 Euro for cancelling it!  In other words, I was being charged 550 Euro for two clicks on their website!!!  My funds are fixed and I am living on my SSA retirement pension and a small amount of retirement monies I get each month from New York State United Teachers Retirement since I put in 10 years teaching at White Plains High School.  I budget like a squirrel …  I checked my on line banking … and I was in the negative by $210.00! I hadn’t paid for the place where I am staying now and was leaving Sabadell, Catalunya, Spain in two days!  My cell phone can only receive calls from the USA and I cannot call the Bank of America customer service number from my cell phone.  I was texting people asking them to do a “three way” call with me, got through to one person, who while we were trying to connect, said she had to leave and had run out of time to help me.  I am thinking, “Homeless in Valencia” … the title of my next book! I had also sent a text to Gordon Derouseau who hadn’t gotten back to me and had called me while I was on the phone with Jacquie Young, a dear friend who helped me get my low rate air fare to Barcelona and back to the USA.  I have two hundred (200) minutes in my “World Calling” plan with MetroPCS each month. After Jacquie and I hung up since she had run out of time to help me, I text Gordon and he called me, we got through to an agent using three way calling, and I got the two charges reversed!  All I could say was “Thank you, thank you, thank you God!”

Okay, I know this is getting long so I am going to cut to the chase.  I had enough in my banking account to pay for my stay here, arriving one day early.  Two days later, I checked my account using my on line banking and find that the hostel in Amsterdam had re-charged my account TWO times!!  I was in the red again by $300 more or less and hadn’t booked my flight for Germany and my pension doesn’t come in until next week!!!  I still had a booking to pay for in Kiel which was about 275 Euro … I had found an application on Facebook to message them with an issue when I first got the bad news of the double fee for nothing … and went back to that.  I contacted them by message, they called me, we set up a dispute and I had to use 100 of my 200 minutes of “World Calling” plan to be transferred to “disputes”and hold for 20 minutes to get it done.  I got an e-mail from the accounting department after my friend in Sabadell helped me to send a “screen shot” of the double payment to the accounting department of the hostel in Amsterdam stating that they would refund one of the fees for the double charging and they were apologizing for any inconvenience.  When I set up the dispute, which redeposited the 550 Euro back into my account (plus international service fees!), I informed them that I did NOT want to stay at a place that had such incompetent accounting because I don’t have that kind of money to “burn”, play with or turn around on!  Yesterday, the hostel’s accounting department put 275 Euro into my account … so … at least I am NOT homeless in Valencia and have a chance to recover my funds, even if they do take the 275 Euro back … I still don’t want to stay there.  My new card is arriving here at Colegio Mayor today via UPS, I have checked the tracking and it should be here by the end of the day.

” …. and the walls came tumbling down!”

Have a great weekend, thanks for reading.


John I. Cook, Director

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