Monday, September 19, 2011

You Got to be Kidding!

It was a little over 9 years that I’ve been on the old continent. My last trip was in 2002. Jennifer my first-born was 9 months old and I (actually we) 2 months short to my marriage. Funny, at that time we traveled with an Iberia flight and had scale in Madrid.
I made a not very successful attempt to flight to Barcelona in the end of 2009. The evening before my trip I had, let’s say, some kind of health issue that took me right into hospital and not to Europe.
Yes, I was booked on Iberia.
Well, the week before last I made it. On very short notice I had to catch a plane to Germany to pick up my mother. She wasn’t so well but urging to come to Brazil and to stay with me for a while. And though she had a flight booked for November, the cold weather made her change the date and, for the first time in – what – 200 years of happily traveling by herself, she was frightened to travel alone so I went to get her.
Since she already had her ticked, I had to book the same flight so I could be with her. And guess what! Iberia.
Because of the lack of choice and time, the only flight available for me had a nine hours connection gap in Madrid. No way I would stay nine hours sitting in an airport lounge waiting for a connection flight. So I started to make some plans on how to spent this precious time.
Basic rule of life:
Everything comes different …
As you thought it would be!
Our flight arrived at Madrid Barajas exactly … one hour late! By the time I made it through immigration another hour had passed. Not thinking to much, I felt a little tired … I went with the flow, made a wrong turn, took a train (yes, a train with only 2 stations) and ended up in the transit lounge of another terminal at the airport. The place I so much wanted to avoid.
No way! I made a 180 degree turn, went back all the way to immigration decided to take the exit and to go downtown and have a decent meal at a fancy restaurant.
I do not recall if I was high on drugs or simply being stupid. I mean, has any one of you recently been to Madrid Barajas Airport? It is quite a big place, remember, you have to take a train to change terminals … well, I got back to immigration and saw that hum angus line of people waiting to get through … I turned around again and went back to transit.
My connection flight was scheduled to depart at 19:40 h. The late arrival and my back and forth trips in between terminals had used up quite some time and when I finally got to sit down in a not so fancy restaurant in the transit lounge, almost 4 h of my 9 h stay were gone. So, I made some math … 1 h lunch, a little walking around for digestion, I have some movies in my laptop, … I could make it with no further damage.
Basic rule of life:
Everything comes different …
As you thought it would be!
Or in other words “Life is a bitch!”
I had beef, smashed potatoes, salad, juice some ice cream as dessert and a hot cocoa to finish and to use up some more time. They bring it with a cookie aside to fool you and to justify that they charge you the price of a small car for this meal … come on, it wasn’t even on a gold plate!
3 ½ hours to begin boarding.
I found a no to crowded corner to sit, got my laptop, sat back and relaxed. I’d watch “The Proposal” with Sandra Bullock, one of my favorite female actors. This would kill another hour and a half and I’d be just fine.
Basic rule of life:
… you get it! …
35 minutes into the movie my battery went down! “Holly CRAP!”
OK, relax, find a plug and everything is fine.
Did I mention that this is quite a big place. I mean, they have signs where they tell you how much time you need to walk from one gate to the other. Never less than 5 minutes! So there I was, walking the terminal top to bottom and back trying to find a place to plug in my laptop and to finish watching my movie! They have special designated places where you can do it. 3 on total with 8 plugs each, sums 24 plugs in a terminal as big as a city and 5 million people with cell phones and laptops all wanted to be charged …. arghhhhhhh….
But I found one! … only to discover (better, remember) that in Europe they use different plugs than we do in Brazil and that I had forgotten my adaptor at home … … …
I entered literally every store on that terminal looking for an adapter. There was none. Not a single one! I got myself a Coke and a Milky Bar, sat on a bench, grabbed my cell phone, headphones, I would just listen to some music and all will be fine …
And as I started listening to “Fireflies” by Owl City, singing along … my battery went down!
Well, at least time never stops and I had only around 45 minutes left for boarding so I looked for one of them displays to find out what gate I had to go. “Let’s see, Iberia IB number … to Frankfurt … 19:40 h … delayed!”
I arrived at Frankfurt airport 1:30 h late. Almost midnight. My luggage was one of the first to come out. My sister was waiting. I had a bottle of water took the keys and drove us back to Bonn, another hour and a half. It was a gorgeous full moon night, no traffic, music playing on the radio, sister sleeping on the passengers seat.
I made it back to the old continent. I felt good.
By the way, I could have exited the airport through the terminal I was staying with no problem at all. But when I figured this out I was standing in line to board the plane.

A great day you all! Life is wonderfull, I just love it. Never gets boring!

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