Oh the joys of travel. For someone who loves to travel the thought of packing and exploring a new destination is exhilarating. Planning, research and preparing is not a chore, but a pleasure. Coming home for the summer, getting some much needed and deserved rest, as well as seeing everyone just made the idea sweeter.
I am a careful planner and very organised. I plan out wardrobes and items weeks in advance. I then ‘pre-pack’ and see how much I have then reduce the amount based on need. My husband finds this quirky, but I over packed once and never again. My friends teased and never let me live it down. It was my first vacation without parents and I had never done the backpack thing, so it was an easy oversight. Additionally, my parents had lost luggage for days, almost their entire vacation, so I prepare for all these things. This year I even splurged and bought an iPad to streamline my carry on and make the 5 hour layover a chance to Skype and catch up on emails. With each piece I packed and got ready the more my excitement grew as the date of departure was in sight and now how many sleeps, not weeks!
All packed and ready to go my colleague drove me to the airport. I was there the 3 hours early and already the que was long. I didn’t get my choice seat, but at least leg 1 was a window, so I figured I could get some sleep since it was a very late night departure. Once in Dubai I could change my middle seat for something else, maybe, the attendant said. All checked in I went off to security. I went through the gates only to be pushed, shoved and had my personal space violated. OK people we are just filling out a departure card here, not a chance to win a lottery or a prize for who finishes first. I breezed through security and went off in search of the gate. I arrived and no one was there. Good all those pushy people must be on another flight. Getting closer I see the time is correct, but destination and airline is different from the one I was flying. It hasn’t been that long since I checked in, but I guess they made a gate change. I went to the big departure board and found the new gate and checked out all the duty-free shops. It is always fun to wander. By now boarding time was getting near and I returned to the gate. It always makes me giggle since the Chinese start to que up for the plane long before boarding opens. They don’t wait for their seat row to be announced. I wonder why. It is not the metro, you have a seat and chances are the plane won’t leave without you, especially if you are in the boarding area. I waited for the que to die down before getting on the plane. Now I understand the rush… there is NO space for my carry on. I had to get help to cram in about 10 rows back. This would be fun to get off the plane since before we get to the gate the Chinese also will be standing and ready to leave. Is it impatience or excitement?
All buckled in I realise I have a child behind me pushing on my seat. A few others are also on board and already crying. Not a good sign. Trying to sleep was not easy between the flight attendant waking me, turbulence, someone snoring and children crying. I arrive in Dubai on about 1 hour sleep and my excitement has now waned to crankiness and lack of patience. Trying to get my carry on I gave up half way back and asked a kind man to pass it to me. Returning to my seat to get my purse was just as difficult. People the plane doors haven’t even opened yet! Off the plane a mad rush for security and transfers meant you needed to keep up with the flow. I quickly got involved in the chaos of the transfer desk that was overwhelmed with people and very few staff. An employee told me my request was fruitless and I should just leave and try to return at 9AM to get a seat change. Being over tired I could not process this quickly so decided to stay. Luckily I did since once I went through security I would not have been able to return and the time he gave me was ridiculous since my plane would be already boarding.
Waiting is not people’s strong point. Maybe it is the jet lag, or culture but people want help now and were jumping in line. After waiting a half hour I decided not to honour the magic ‘do not cross line’ and inserted myself in someone’s personal space to get served next. My task took 5 minutes tops and the few people who got in front of me took 10-20 minutes. OK enough being nice. My turn was up next finally and this man was trying to edge his way in front of me and I told him to get back in line that I had been waiting over a half hour and NO ONE was going to just walk up and be next. He pretended he didn’t understand, but he finally got the message and went to another line. Geesh us Canadians are not usually so forward, nor I, but I was polite and had enough at that point. Seat changed off I went to the other side. One leg down and one to go.
Trying to find a seat in the terminal was near impossible. Dubai International was extremely busy and walking was not an easy task with people walking a different speeds or suddenly stopping in front of you for no apparent reason. My first stop was coffee. I was afraid I would miss my flight with so little sleep. I pulled out the iPad and thought this was a good spot to pass the time. Unfortunately the internet was not working. ARG! Finishing my coffee I wandered off and asked information for help. With a shrug he said “it should work”. Insert sarcasm here…Finally after many tries I got it to work about an hour or so before I had to board again. A quick Skype and a few emails I boarded and was heading for home.
By this time I was exhausted and tried to sleep in an aisle seat, that for what ever reason did not recline, and where people kept brushing up against me as they went past. One small child I swear was at the washroom every 10 minutes and would run back and forth. Top that off with screaming children who tag teamed each other for a turn at crying and screaming bloody murder at times. 13 hours of this… OK I can do it…. destination is in sight. It was all worth it when I saw the sun, big puffy clouds and blue sky. The sun was SO bright, something that is a dull disk in Shanghai as it tries to cut through the smog and humidity. With so little sleep I got emotional as the captain told us we were about to start our approach.
Quickly I exited the plane and breezed through security. I located the baggage carousel and vied for position to get the
best view. My excitement would rise as I would see a bag that looked like mine only to be disappointed as it went past and did not have the same markings. We purposely bought different luggage, but seems like many on this flight had the same idea. Soon the crowd started to thin out and the same luggage started to circle. An announcement came up to say all luggage was now unloaded. Oh no… really? The few stragglers said to look off to the one side where employees were placing some luggage. With such a large flight they were removing some bags to allow for more. No luck. I checked 3 times to be sure. The dreaded announcement came again, the employees told me the same. I feared someone had in oversight taken my bag with all the gifts and majority of my clothes. I was now glad I packed those spares for just this circumstance. Off I went to the baggage counter and there was a large que. Luckily they found this unusual and had someone double-check and a ‘container’ just happened to be found…maybe the lost luggage? 2 hours after landing I finally had my bag. YEA! I was worried my husband, who was waiting on the other side, would be worried and I had no way of contacting him. He was there, waiting and wondering what the hold up was. I almost told him body search, but thought he would freak out, so I told him what happened. I guess after all that and little sleep I still had my sense of humour! I still love to travel, but have never had so many events all in 1 trip. Guess I was over due for some and glad I have a few weeks before I have to do it all over again.
Oh the joys of travelling. Here I figure no excitement to write about, but adventure always seems to find me 😉 Glad to be home… so stay tuned for more.
What travel misadventures have you had?