Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Skateboard Incident

I am writing this now from bed in Barcelona, under the covers because I have no clothes. But I'm way ahead of myself...

I checked in for my flight yesterday afternoon at JFK and everything was smooth sailing. After debating whether to carry my longboard (skateboard) on the plane or mail it to myself, I figured it'd be safer to bring it with me since it might never arrive in BCN or be destroyed en route. The check-in lady told me I could bring it with me, and that was that. I spent a luxurious hour in the British Airways lounge before boarding my Iberia flight to Madrid.

First a word about Iberia. I should have taken a photo of the inside of the cabin because, despite the fancy seats and the fact that this airbus was clearly brand new, it still felt like the 70s with their old school brown and orange motif. Maybe that's why I didn't sleep well last night... for anyone who has ever traveled with me, you know this is an oddity. I'm usually asleep not only before the plane takes off, but before my seat mates have even managed to sit down.

Anyway, all was well. The food was surprisingly good, we left right on time, the staff was nice. The only annoying thing was the guy next to me who couldn't stop playing with his motorized seat, which caused my seat to vibrate every few minutes, usually after I'd just drifted off to sleep. But I digress.

We got to Madrid right on time at 7:15 am and all I had to do was go to my next gate in time to board my 8:40 flight to Barcelona. Piece of cake! Until I got to security, where I was told I couldn't bring my skateboard on the plane. After a moment of discussion, I was allowed to proceed through security, where I was told by another person that my options were the following: 1, leave the board and it will be destroyed (god forbid!) or 2, go through immigration, get a new ticket because I'd surely miss my flight, check my skateboard, and get on a later flight. So I took option 2.

First I passed through immigration, which I would've done normally in BCN, and which took about 20 minutes. Then a train to a different terminal. Then I had to go downstairs 4 flights and then back upstairs 3 to get to check-in. At check-in they told me my flight had just closed (it was now 8:10 and boarding started at 8) and they couldn't check my skateboard. So they sent me back downstairs to collect ALL my bags, and bring them back up to be rechecked on my new flight.

My bags never appeared and I spent ten minutes looking for someone who worked there . Finally I found a desk and the woman there told me that my bags didn't appear because the people upstairs are idiots and shouldn't have sent me downstairs at all... the bags had been pulled from my flight but would automatically be put on my next flight unless I had specifically requested to stop traveling in Madrid.

Back upstairs again, where I went back to check-in and explained everything again to a different agent. He checked me in for an 11:30 flight, but didn't have a box for my skateboard. 5 euros and 10 minutes later, I returned to him with my plastic-wrapped skateboard (why are Spanish people so obsessed with plastic wrapping their stuff? They are like spiders) and he gave me a new ticket and walked with me to another area because the skateboard was slightly too big to go in a plastic bin on the belt. So we went to another HUGE belt and put my poor little skateboard on there, where it dropped into nothingness and as I mouthed a silent prayer for its arrival in one piece.

With three hours to kill, I went to the Sala VIP (pronounced "beep") and had some orange juice and snacks and checked my email. At 11 I boarded my flight to Barcelona, which arrived more or less on time at 12:45. Everything seemed to take forever: the drive to the gate, the arrival of the bus, the turning on of the bus, the actual movement of the bus toward the terminal... probably because I really needed to use the ladies room and also because I was so tired of traveling after 24 hours.

We finally arrived at baggage claim and after racing out of the bathroom I ran to the claim area for my flight. My skateboard appeared. In one piece! And.... that's it. My three bags holding four month's worth of my belongings and, more importantly, all my work clothes for 9am tomorrow morning never appeared. And so that's how I came to spend another 20 minutes of my life explaining the story in Spanish to yet another Iberia employee, who promised my bags would be on the 3pm flight and would be delivered to me. Five hours later, and I'm still waiting, but at least I received a text from the airline saying that my bags had indeed arrived and would be delivered to me this afternoon. (Does 8pm count as afternoon?)

And now for the most important question. Is nudity a good excuse for missing your first day of work at your new office? Surely it's better than "I'm sick" or some other such feeble excuse... Either way, I'm definitely riding my skateboard to work tomorrow.


Carmen said...

Welcome to Barca Noelle!! We'll have to meet for a coffee after the mid-terms!!

NoellieBellie said...

Thanks Carmen! Took me a while to get here, but I finally made it back. :) Good luck with the exams!

Gemmita said...

welcome back!!!
don't have you phone on my new sim (i'm still my old number).... definitely I would like to meet up, you need to show me all the pics from your amazing summer!

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