It is 12:40 a.m. in California, U.S.A. and it’s 10:40 a.m. in Madrid, Spain and one hour difference from Croatia.
I got rested up, had my desayuno and ready to divulge my “Jerry Lewis” style of catching a plane.
First of all, I believe more and more in a self-fulfilled prophesy when applied to my personal travels. I make good judgements, and try to be as organized as possible, but still during transitions, I worry that there is something I haven’t done correctly or that I have lost an important document, or…and it goes on. But I persevere with a personality trait that seems to overcome any obstacles that arise.
Take my trip to Madrid that began two days ago.
I got on a bus in Komiza for the ride to the ferry in Vis. There isn’t any direction to board the ferry, so following people who seem to know the name of the game, is the rule. There were no ‘lifts’ on this ferry, but there were two Croatian ladies who put their bags on a wooden plank and signaled that’s what I should do. So I did then walked up narrow metal stairs to a community room, where I sat looking out of the window for two hours. My book was in the bag, so that was my first mistake.
When the ferry arrived at Split, everyone seemed to know what to do, where to go, and how to get off the ferry and all at the same time: this includes cars, trucks, vans and boats.
People were walking in between cars to get to the other side. “I don’t see my luggage here.” I said to a man who was standing on the side.
“How did you come into the ferry. On the left side or the right side?”
“Oh, I entered the ferry from the left side.” “I think,” a quiet afterthought.
“Well, then, your luggage is on the other side.”
“How do I get there?”
“You just walk in between the cars.”
“But they’re driving off the ferry.”
He wasn’t concerned and left his position, leaving me to figure it out. So, I walked between vehicles, with my hand out, as if to stop a vehicle from hitting me, and got to the other side. No luggage to be found. I asked someone who seemed to be in charge of a storage closet.
“No luggage here,” the man said.
I waited for all the vehicles to leave and from where I stood, I saw my luggage standing alone on the other side of the ferry. I walked over, picked it up, and while I walked off, passengers for the outgoing trip were arriving. I managed to be the last person off the ferry, and were no prizes awarded for that, until I saw the taxi driver with a sign held up, “LAUREEN DIEPHOF.”
I stayed in a lovely Villa Cezar hotel near the airport, and met a nice young lady, who had arranged for the taxi transition from the ferry, delivery of a dinner from a local restaurant, and a taxi transition to the Split airport the next day. The young lady, a recent graduate from college with a degree in economics said her summer job at the hotel was about over, and then she would try to find a job. It’s very difficult to find a job in Croatia she told me. She was so good in managing the hotel activities and I wished her well.
Now here’s where the fun began: I got at the airport, at the correct time to check in, I thought. One time I was too early and they made me wait, so learning from that, I took that into consideration, and because I misread something in the paper-work, I got a shock when at the check-in window.
“Am I too early to check in?” I asked the friendliest looking counter woman, who was smiling and laughing with her coworkers.
“You are too late. You are going to miss the plane. Put your luggage up here,” she suddenly turned into Cruella Deville.
Before I got to the check in, from something I learned flying EasyJet, was that I had to put my computer into my carry-on bag with the computer bag rolled up inside. This makes that bag very heavy for my shoulder, and I didn’t do that this time, because, if you remember from another post, I had to take the computer out for customs inspection, and I just walked on board with it in my hand and put it under the seat. No one said anything. I tried that this time.
Anyway, Cruella told me we had to hurry, “If you don’t want to miss the plane”, and she took my booked-on suitcase over to the machine. The man overseeing that detected a battery inside.
“You have a battery inside the bag. You must remove it,” Cruella frowned.
“Oh, that must be my clock.”
“You must remove it.” Cruella looked at me with disgust written all over her face.
So, I tore into the bag, underwear going this way, tops that way, pants over there and my Kindle fell out, but no clock. I was frantic, out came winter gloves, the Icelandic sweater, wool socks, rocks, seashells, pajamas and a hot pink towel.
“Oh, come on, (I left the Kindle out thinking that may have been the problem), let them look at it again.” She pointed to the men who would give it a second look.
“No, there’s no time, just close it up and let’s go.”
I tried shoving my life back into the bag and now the bag seemed too small to accommodate all the stuff I had just thrown out.
“Can you help me close this up, please.” I pleaded with the agent.
He did help me zip it up, and then I was on my way with Cruella’s stiletto hills clipping on the tile, with me in tow.
“Do you have your boarding pass and passport?” She turned with that look again.
“Yes,” I replied, trying not to let her bullishness win.
I handed the custom agent my passport, and she and Cruella exchanged words, leaving me out.
“Oh, no, my camera.” Suddenly it was not hanging over my neck.
“Oh, yes, sure, of course, you left it back there,” she shook her head, and strutted off like a bandy rooster.
She came back with the camera, a small bag with my paper-work and a book.
“Okay now come on,” she took me, figuratively, the dunce, by the ear and led me to the gate keepers.
I walked on with the computer bag and the other bag, until I heard a voice. “Attention! If you carry more than one bag on the plane, you will be charged extra.”
I stopped enroute to the plane, stuffed the computer and rolled bag into the carry-on and walked on the plane – not the last person – but close to the last one, and I sat at the tail of the plane – the worst place to sit, in my opinion.
I arrived in London, and this will just be a summary…You have to walk about two miles to pick up your luggage, and then another two miles to go through customs, again before you can leave. The plane I would take to Madrid was on the opposite terminal, which required taking a bus, more steps, more walking, and by then, I was so tired that I stopped in a restaurant and told the hostess that I was so tired and hungry.
“Oh, this space is only for drinking. If you want something to eat you need to go over there.”
“Okay then I’ll just drink.”
“Well if you want to just drink then you need to go over there and order it.”
“Come on, I will help you. If you’re hungry let’s go, I’ll carry this,” she picked up the bag and took me to a seat, where I ordered lunch.
I felt like crying.
After lunch, it started all over again, walking, carrying the heavy bag, up the stairs, down the stairs, until I finally found the stopping place where I would wait to see on the marquee when the boarding gate would be announced, and where I had to walk at least ten more minutes to board the plane.
Okay, I’m in a hotel, a reasonably priced one, that charges for wifi. I purchased 24 hours worth. It’s a good time to rest up.
I met two nice men from Palm Springs, who were traveling nearly as much as I am, and a couple with their twenty year old son from No. Carolina, who sat next to me during dinner last night.
Talking to them made me feel normal again.