Oh, New Year’s Eve, the night that always promises to be a wild ride! Last year was tweedisc, but this year, it was next level craziness. So, it all started innocently enough on the 31st. We kicked off the day with some Indian masala dosa with vada in the morning, because nothing says “Happy New Year” like a spicy breakfast.

Then, we hopped on a ship to cruise down the Thames River for some breathtaking views of London, which is truly a stunning city. We even checked out the aquarium. Then we went to the museum. We were hungry and couldn’t fully explore all of it because, let’s be honest, we were more interested in food than ancient artifacts. Plus, it was mostly Egyptian stuff with real mummies and bones, and I couldn’t help but imagine them coming to life like in those cheesy horror movies.

Then came the main event of the night - the fireworks! But since we didn’t have tickets, we couldn’t go to the bridge to get a good view. After a lot of searching, we finally found a spot, and it was worth it. The fireworks were amazing, and the crowd was diverse, with a lot of Indian folks around. But the real showstopper was this guy who thought he could climb up a building under construction to get a better view (totally unsafe, by the way). The police were on him faster than you can say “Happy New Year”

After the fireworks, we realized getting back to our Airbnb in Zone 6 was going to be a challenge with all the police restrictions. Buses were a no-go, so we sprinted to the tube station, only to find a massive crowd jostling to get in. We needed train passes, but our cards weren’t working. Then a random dude came up to us and said we didn’t need tickets on New Year’s Eve. Turns out, that was just a rumor, and we had to sneak out behind someone with a valid ticket to avoid getting caught. It was like a scene straight out of a spy movie, with adrenaline pumping and hearts racing!

And then the real challenge began - getting back to our Airbnb. There was only one bus that could take us there, but Bus 109 never showed up. So we hopped on a different bus that got us close, but we still had to walk over a kilometer. And when we asked the bus driver for tickets, he seemed clueless and told us to just get on. Turns out, the buses were free on New Year’s Eve or maybe the driver was just as confused as we were!

But then things took an unexpected turn. We struck up a conversation with two guys on the bus who seemed to be living on a tight budget. They insisted we get off at a different stop to make it easier for us. It all sounded a bit sketchy, and we overheard them saying “maarega”, which means “kill” or could be a code word for who knows what! We decided to stick with Google’s directions and politely declined their offer. But when we got off the bus, they were right behind us, trying to get off at our stop. That’s when we knew it was time to activate our fight or flight response. Without even thinking, we both sprinted and ducked into a sideway, hoping to lose them.

So, there we were, sneaking around like spies, trying to avoid being spotted (if anyone was even following us) and hustling to get to the Airbnb as quickly as possible. But of course, we had to mess up the address first and ended up at the wrong place. Talk about bad luck! Finally, we found the right address and tried to open the door with the keys provided by the host. But guess what? The key 8017 decided to play hard to get and didn’t work! We tried everything, dabbling and jiggling, pressing all the bell buttons like a mad DJ, until we got a call from an unknown number. And guess what that call said? Yup, you guessed it right - our booking was canceled because the place was overbooked! Apparently, the host decided to give the room to someone else willing to pay a higher price. And to add insult to injury, the host claimed to have tried calling and messaging us multiple times, blaming us for not picking up. But hold on a second, the only call we got was at 10 PM on the same day when we were already supposed to check-in at 3 PM! Can you believe our luck at 3 AM in the middle of the night?

So, with no place to crash at 3 AM and feeling a bit scared about the safety of the area, we decided to make a run for a safer place. We hailed a cab and headed to the nearest railway station, hoping to catch a train to Victoria. But of course, luck wasn’t exactly on our side. Turns out, that station had no trains to Victoria, probably because we were in zone 5. So, we thought, why not book a train to a place in zone 4 instead? Well, that turned out to be a terrible idea because when we got there, it was nothing but a ghost town with a deserted station! Talk about being stuck in the middle of nowhere. But hey, thank goodness for Google Maps, because we found out that there was another station nearby in Zone 3 with better facilities and, most importantly, toilets! So, we made a beeline for that station, and despite its lack of fancy amenities, it had a ticket machine that we could use. But of course, life couldn’t be that easy - the machine only allowed us to book off-peak tickets, and we needed to travel during peak hours at 4 AM! However, thanks to my brilliant idea to check the off-peak hours, we discovered that off-peak tickets behaved like regular day rider tickets on a Sunday. Huzzah! Finally, we managed to get our tickets, thanks to it being a Sunday and a bank holiday.

Desperate to escape the deserted stations and find a place with decent facilities for a bathroom break, we set our hopes on Canada Water, which also happened to have an underground/overground junction. So, we could switch to the underground if needed. But alas, Canada Water had no toilets either! But fear not, because we soldiered on to Waterloo, where we finally found all the facilities we needed. We were relieved and decided to call it a night and crash at Waterloo, and boy, what a fantastic way to start the new year! Well, at least we can look back and laugh about it now.