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Friday, January 25, 2019

Journey to see the Boys - Part 1


I'm posting Day 1 of my journey from Malaga to Virginia to see the boys because well, it's me and no trip of mine ever goes to plan, plus it's the middle of the night and I have to stay awake!

My precious, handsome lads
Because of my move/finding a job/etc., I haven't seen the boys for three months, which is horrible and it was doing my head in.

Working on a tight budget, I found a cheappppp ticket a few weeks ago (skipping over the 30-hour, 4-flights-hitting-5-countries stuff.) When everything was confirmed, I was so excited. Yes! I'm off to see the boys for 2 consecutive weekends.

Yesterday, (Thursday) was the day, but distracted and overthinking things, I drove off wearing my slippers. (Only discovered it because my left foot kept slipping off the clutch. Duh.)

I cursed a wee little bit, turned around and drove back. (And, hey, that was ok, because I wanted to leave my sunglasses at the apartment anyway.)

Off I drove for the second time, stopping at a store to buy a scarf, which made me remember I'd left my new jacket on the back of a chair.

I cursed a little bit more, turned around and drove home.


Driving off for the third time, I was thankful my OCD likes a 3-4 hour buffer zone to get to the/any airport, so I was calm, but a little nervous as I'd burned an hour and hadn't hit the highway yet.

Without further memory loss issues, I made the airport with some extra time. Great. I've got one of those cards that let you in the swanky lounges for 14.32 minutes, so I grabbed a much-needed drink, a couple of pre-wrapped mini-sandwiches and apparently 3 bottles of very heavy soda (It makes sense later.)

Boarded the first plane to Stockholm but when two technicians opened one of the emergency windows due to a "tripped sensor," I wondered if faith was telling me something earlier!

First time I've ever seen this!

Hopefully, the last time, too!

But, no! I'm on my way to see the boys. I'm a klutz, is all (and more than happy not to be sitting in that emergency row seat...)

The delay cost an hour of my 2-hour transfer window, so I boogied off the plane and checked the screens.

Gate 65.

I can find that. Thinking I was probably in a different terminal I took off at a brisk walk, looking at signs and headed directly for Gate F65.

I see you there, F65...

Passport control ahead. Crap. That's going to take 5-10 mins., I thought, staring at the long lines.

Once I got to the top of the line, the customs agent explained I was in the wrong terminal, didn't need my passport and should recheck the departure screen.

"But I need Gate 65."

"This gets you to Gate F65."

Gate F65. I've got a good word that starts with F65, I muttered to myself, getting out of line and finding the nearest screen.

Boarding was in like 10 minutes and now I saw that I needed to get from Terminal 5 to Terminal 2. Bloody hell, Koopmans!

The brisk walk became a lumbering jog as my carry-on suitcase, heavy backpack and trusty jacket made life so much easier. (No, it didn't.)

Ten minutes later, I'm standing at the check-in desk, sweating my balls off and slobbering "da plane, da plane" incoherently like a crazed, bald Tattoo from Fantasy Island. The desk clerk was probably thinking, oh oh, we have a live one, here! His worried look didn't deter me. I was going to make it!

"There's your boarding card, this is T-2 and Gate 65 is just down the hall, past security."

"No F? No letters. Just 65?"

"Yes sir."
No-letter Gate 65.

I get to security, right at boarding time, and caught a break. The area was empty, but I couldn't take the drinks with me, and tossed them in the trash. Crap.

Through security, toss my backpack back on and hmmm. The damn thing is light as a feather. Wow, those drinks were heavy.

Gate 65 was next to security. I stop and stand there, hands on sweaty-shirted hips in triumphant glory. I am in Sweden and can enjoy the view for a few minutes!

The view from Sweden.

...And, then I saw the screen.

"Flight to Helsinki - DELAYED."

By 30 minutes. Thank God. I can regroup and grab another few cans to bring to Helsinki, where I've got an 7-hour wait. Up to the lounge I go, and open my backpack I do...

...And realize I've left my laptop, iPad and Tablet at security. In my haste to leave, I smash a glass on the counter and give my apologies as I bolt out.

Luckily, the security folks had all my stuff (I've got Netflix downloaded on each, in case I can't charge anything.) Thanking them profusely I stand back at the gate, but the plane hasn't even arrived and now we're up to a 60-minute delay.

No worries, back to the lounge I go.

"Sorry, we're closed."

Ok. A quick beer at the pub seemed like a good idea.


A coffee at Starbucks?


Like a drink-seeking version of Forest Gump, I find a seat that wasn't taken at the gate and wait patiently like a good man. Without breaking or losing anything else.

The flight was only 40 minutes, but bless her, the flight attendant offered a soft drink and my OJ was like the nectar of the gods.

So, here I am writing this from a dark, empty airport pub in Helsinki. As you do.

(It's closed here, too.)

It's 03:06 local, and I know this post is way too long, but it was fun to share. I board my flight to LHR in about 5 hours and finally arrive at IAD Friday afternoon EST. What could go wrong?

Oh, and the lounge opens at 05:00. Wonder if I can find a light drink to bring with me.

Helsinki is Hopping!


Elephant's Child said...

A journey from hell - but for a MOST EXCELLENT cause. I hope the rest of the trip goes smoothly and your time with the boys is wonderful.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Not at all too long! Safe travels.

My oldest flies a lot and I do his bookings. He gets so annoyed when I skip the direct flights, but hey, the savings is great and makes for fun stories later. He once got to spend the night in the Ronald Reagan airport and use his backpack as a pillow. Who would NOT want to have that experience?

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You managed to cover just about every mishap in one airport trip. Well done, sir. Now, enjoy your time with your boys.

Jo said...

What a trip. I do hope everything goes fine from now on. Also, I hope the savings were worth it. By the way, you should make lists of everything you need to take when you are flying. You obviously need it.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Mark - at least you know there'll be a degree of chaos for your travels ... but that was a trip almost round the world. Still enjoy the time with the boys - it'll be so much fun - cheers Hilary

CWMartin said...

Well today I dropped my (unaddressed) rent check into the mail box instead of the drop box. Thank you for making me feel a LITTLE better...

Lisa said...

OMG. What a trip! Glad to know ahead of time that you actually did make it! That was a fun read anyway. Have you thought of travel writing?

Cynthia said...

What a trip that must've been. How frustrating to want a drink only to find that places are closed!

Debra Renée Byrd said...

That gave me anxiety lol. I'm glad you made it to the airport, at least!

Melissa said...

Wow. I'm so glad I read your next post first, or I'd be really depressed right now. LOL

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