Friday, July 30, 2010
Friday, July 23, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
Today was no different. I tried to be a good, efficient passanger and check in at the self check-in booth as recommended by the airline. I entered all my information only to have it rejected, the stupid machine telling me to go see an agent at the "Assisted Check-In" counter. I hate that counter. The word "Assisted" just highlights the fact that the peoplein that line (myself included) cannot even enter some simple information into a computer which results in the printing of a flimsy piece of paper. It is the shmuck line, the linefor the technologically inept, the line for those who will die out once fluency in the InfoTech world becomes as important as the ability to breathe, or digest food. It is the'scarlett letter' line.
Anyway, I digress. As I stood in this line, a wonderful slug-like creature emerged and began to, quite roughly, verbally berate me as to why I did not have a boarding pass. She spoke so fast, asking so many questions, I barely had time to register what she was so snappy about. Her main concern was that now, with me and several other passengers not beingable to check in, she had two lines to deal with. Now, I'm naturally a very polite person, and I expect a basic amount of respect from people, and when someone who is supposed to be a customer service representative acts this way, I'm too shocked to respond and all the witty remarks come too late to use. So, I stood there, flabbergasted, barely managing to saythrough my shocked expression, "the machine said to come here". The creature then walked off in a huff.
Luckily, I was assisted by a marginally more pleasant assistant who informed me that my 1 hour flight was delayed by 40min, which was actually 1:30 and that is why I couldn't check in, because I was likely to miss my flight to Warsaw (at this point, I was having horribledeja vu of my first solo trip abroad). I had to then go to the sales desk, wait in another horribly long line to get on another flight, the only other flight available would arrive in Warsaw at 10pm, far too late to catch a train down to Sosnowiec/Krakow/Katowice, my final destination. The sales clerk was another lovely presentation of British charm and politess, answering gruffly to my desperate (somewhat teary) pleas to maybe possibly get me on another (earlier) flight.
After this was over, I was told to go back to check in, where I waited in line for over an hour only to be told that I should go to the sales desk. I almost cracked. I tried, as calmly as possible, to explain that I have been there, I've stood in line and I've seen the clerk, I've been tentatively put on the other flight and I might still make the 13h50 to Warsaw. I breathed deeply as the assistants brows made funny shapes while she typed things in on the computer, I held my breath as I put my luggage on the scales (4.2kg too heavy, but at least they let that go.) And now, here I am, waiting in Heathrow for 6 hours, bound to spend the night in Warsaw instead of with family.
I met an American biologist on the plane. Once I started recounting (in brief) my travels, he asked; "and what was the most important thing you learned in all these travels?" Strangely, no-one asked me this before. My reply was "don't fly British Airways"... I jest, their lounges are nice.
In all honesty, I'm not sure if this is worth it, if you calculate the time I waited, the stress I went through and the sheer amount of hours it is going to take to get to my homecity via London, it would probably be quicker, and less painful, to just take the 20 hour bus next time.
Friday, July 9, 2010
It was great,
it was emotional,
it was depressing,
it was uplifiting,
it was... interesting.
It was inspirational.
I want to paint and I wrote my first poem since I left here last December. Wow.
A year ago, I never thought that I would love this place so much, that I'd come back. If you would have asked me a year ago what I would be doing in July 2010, I would have probably concocted some vague answer that included Spain or France. I would have never guessed I would have embarked on this crazy crazy trip of insanity that gave me a lot of clear-mindedness. Perhaps, it was even cheaper than therapy! Perhaps, it would have been cheaper to just hire a shrink. Anyway,
Some stand-out moments;
- arriving to NYC from London in business class, seeing the big apple from above with the lights glittering
- many good dinners with good friends (during the whole 6 weeks)
- turning 21 in NY/NJ
- The Barking Dog cafe
- getting asked for my ID when buying alcohol (though no-one asked on my actual birthday!!)
- sitting on the side of the road in Jersey at 3am on my birthday after the car broke down
- looking for a mechanic at 7am in heels and a white cocktail dress
- fighting my way to LaGuardia
- smelling eucalyptus in california
- frozen yoghurt in Stanford
- pretty Berkeley
- the sheer amount of pick-up lines recieved while walking around the Mission district of San Francisco.
- spending the night at the SFO airport, on a couch at subway, finding a pill and a penny on the ground. not eating either pill nor penny.
- 2 memorable hours in Texas
- seemingly endless midnight talks
- very unfortunate soccor games (involving Australia and France.)
- finally getting Ceviche again. God, I missed it.
- passing customs into Canada
- passing customs into the USA
- Cristal Monee Hall playing the Montreal Jazz Festival
- Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
- Dad's Tuna Bagels, Montreal.
- watching jeopardy and drinking wine in montreal
- Ben and Jerry's icecream
- finding my way around Paterson, NJ on my own
- JUST making the bus for Baltimore when I thought I missed it
- 4th of July fireworks
- walking around Baltimore port
well, thats all I could think of off the top of my head.
I'm glad to be going back to France. Very glad. I'm counting the hours until I arrive in Lyon.
And, although I've decided not to come back for a while, I will miss this country. It's an enigma. There's still so much to see/do/discover here.
But I will be back. I know I will. America, you can't get rid of me that easily.