Saturday, June 30, 2007

Naked in Scotland

I'm sure that no one will believe the travel story I have to tell today, but I will proceed anyway...

After spending 3 hours trying unsuccessfully to purchase my ticket to South America (using Delta miles) between the hours of 2am and 5am this morning, I gave up and finally got three much-needed hours of sleep. I felt like hell when I dragged myself out of bed and into the shower at 8, but the possibility of running into traffic on the way to the airport had scared me into taking a taxi at 9am even though my flight to Heathrow wasn't until 11:30.

And good thing I did. No, there was no traffic, but there was a strike. A British Airways check-in staff strike. Phenomenal! So what should've taken 3 minutes (bag drop after self service check-in) took 90 minutes. But then my flight was an hour late taking off, so I had time for a quick coffee before boarding.

Landed in London and had 3 hours to kill before my 4:15 flight and figured I'd spend it at the Delta ticket desk trying to sort out this South America thing. Wrong. I was ushered straight off the plane and in to an excruciatingly long security line. What? I just came off a plane.... Anyway after that I had to go through UK customs, where I was grilled for a full 10 minutes by a very stern British lady who wanted to know what I'd be doing, whom I'd be visiting, where I'd be staying, and if she could take my first-born child in the name of the British throne.

This was my favorite part of the "conversation:"

Stern lady: "Where are you going on your trip?"
Me: Scotland and England
Stern lady: How long will you be in Scotland?
Me: Six days.
Stern lady: How long will you be in England?
Me: Four days.
Stern lady: How long is your total stay?
Me: ... (not sure if stern lady is kidding and thinking this is a trick question) Ten days?

She let me through. And thank goodness I didn't have to go to the bathroom in all that time because it was a full hour after getting off the plane before I found one in the dinky hall where I had to wait for my flight to Edinburgh. Which, by the way, was delayed by 2 hours. We sat in the plane for 45 min of that.

But finally I landed in Edinburgh at 7:30, nearly 11 hours after leaving my apartment, and my friend Andy met me at baggage claim. Where we waited for my bag for 30 minutes. It never arrived.

I'm really not sure what kind of awful thing I did to someone while traveling last year, but my bad travel karma started with that cancelled Alitalia flight from Romania to Milan on Easter 2006 and has never really let up since. Andy is impressed that I'm so unruffled and good-humored about the whole thing, but really there isn't much I can do. I mean, it's totally normal to have a strike, two very delayed flights, and lost luggage all on one day.

Isn't it?

By the way. Edinburgh is freezing. And all my sweaters and jackets are in my bag. But the good thing is I get to go on a British Airways sponsored shopping spree tomorrow! Yeahhhhh!!


Anonymous said...

all my simpathy and support, my friend... un beso

NoellieBellie said...

Grazie!!! At least I made it to my destination this time, even if my bag didn't!

MbaHo said...

I hope the whole Scotland airport flaming truck episode didn't affect you in any way!

Have a fun trip!


NoellieBellie said...

So far I've been unaffected by firey trucks and nail bombs. Have to say it's a bit unsettling though... Was hoping to go to Glasgow tomorrow!

Gabriel said...

Hmmm I hope you didn't keep the rest of that brown cheese in the bag... that would be a loss :)

Have fun shopping :D