A most hellish 39.5 hours transit

I’m snug and safe in Jaclyn’s casa. Whew. 

Getting here was one of the more hellish ordeals I’ve had to endure in my life.

Here is a history of the past 48 hours or so:

Saturday 6/23. 8pm-3am: All night spent packing, no sleep. 

Sunday 6/24. 3am-4am. Bus ride to airport. Screaming baby sits behind me.

4am-9am Spent in Logan Airport. I leave for the airport at 3:30am for 5am flight. I am bumped from my 5am flight to DC. Now have 9am flight to DC. Got 300 travel credits.

9am-11am Flight to DC

11m-5pm Spent in Washington DC Airport. I mostly hang out watching cartoons,reading, and eating Milano cookies in the United Club Room (thanks to my dear mother’s United Club Pass) for 6 hours. Also have a gin and tonic.

5:30pm-2am (Monday 6/25) Flight from Washing DC to Madrid, Spain.

It is now 2am in USA time, 7:30am Spanish time.

7:30 am – 5:30pm (2am-12 pm USA time) Wait in Madrid airport for 10 hours. At this point I have not slept in well over 30 hours.

My brain seems to be deteriorating as I overheard people saying weird things (example: We should not say good morning. Instead we should ask “how is the pope?” every day) but then I realize I’m hearing the Spanish they are speaking in English, which is why it makes no sense.

Also, it feels like people are staring at me all the time. I must look very American. No wonder – everyone else here is wearing cute skirts and sandals. Who dresses that way for a flight? I am the quintessential sweaty, poorly dressed american. Apparently they also don’t really do AC over here.

I don’t think I will live much longer.

In my body’s desperation, I manage to sleep a half hour on the uncomfy airport chairs. Why so uncomfortable? You know people are going to be sitting in them, possibly for long periods of time? So why do you use fabric stiffer than church pews that is so unkind to the behind?

In my current state of mind, I am miserable and want nothing more than to be back home, lying in my hammock and sipping an ice coffee. I feel like all Spaniards distrust me and I them.

With ample reflecting time, I wonder: What am I doing, running off again? What deep-seated issues am I trying to grapple with when that wanderlust urge grabs at my throat? Do I even enjoy traveling, or do I just like the idea of it?

Traveling makes me feel like my life is of more value, that I am a person with stories worth telling. That seems childish though. I try so desperately to challenge myself and mold myself into the adventurous, care-free person I want to be.

5:30pm – 7:30pm (12pm-2pm US time) Flight delayed, more time in airport. Flight to La Coruna has it’s gate changed SIX TIMES, leaving passengers to run across the airport like a confused herd of sheep. Finally they decide to delay the flight 2 hours. I’ve now spent 12 hours in the Madrid airport.

7:30-9:30pm (2pm-4:30 pm US time) Flight from Madrid to La Coruna Santiago de Compostla. Flight takes 2 hours (normally 1) because of flight delays. We are above La Coruna, but oh no, there is fog. We can’t land. We fly to neighboring airport in a different town, Santiago de Compostela, instead.

 

9:30-11pm (4:30 – 6:30 US time) Wait in Santiago de Compostela airport. I have no clue what is going on and no one speaks a word of English. On the airplane, the flight attendants say that they will “find a way to get us to La Coruna”, but no announcement is made after we get off the plane. I am exhausted and confused and scared because I have NO IDEA what is going on.

easyJet attendants then come outside to where everyone waits. “Oh great, finally, and explanation,” I think. They go off to the side in a circle and start smoking and jabbering on their cell phones.

I have no way to tell Jaclyn what is going on, so I manage to ask to borrow someone’s phone and give a quick call. After going around begging for someone to speak English to me, one man says something about a bus, so I have hope.

11pm-12pm (6:30 – 7:30 US) Bus ride to La Coruna. Finally a bus comes.

12pm-12:30 am: Taxi ride to Jaclyn’s place. The taxi drove disturbingly fast and quite recklessly. He kissed me on the cheeks when I got out, which I know is how people do stuff here, but Jaclyn and her roommate confirmed that it was weird and creepy fora  taxi man.

I wander around looking for Jaclyn’s house. I ring the wrong door bell and a very angry lady shoos me away. I sit on some steps and examine the Microsoft paint map Jaclyn made for me on my netbook. I show it to some strangers who are walking by (that’s normal by the way, to be going for a pleasant stroll at 1am). They guide me to the ridiculously obvious street I should have found.

Finally Jaclyn! Who greets me with tortilla, peppers, and hugs. I sleep a grizzly bear hibernation.

To sum it up:

24.5 hours spent in airports

13 hours on planes

2 hours on bus

Total transit time: 39.5 hours

58 hours without sleep

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Where’s Kevin?

I feel so bad watching people run to catch planes home alone style. What a terrible feeling.

Other languages have all kinds of cool words for feelings.

In Spanish (mexican kind anyway), there is a word, pena ajena, for the sensation of being embarassed for another person.

Irish aka Gaelic has sgriob, which is the itchiness that overcomes the upper lip just before taking a sip of whisky.

The Germans have some real gems though- waldeinsamkeit is the feeling of being alone in the woods, backpfeifengesicht is a face badly in need of a fist.

Then there’s my personal favorite: kummerspeck, which refers to excess weight gained due to emotional overeating. The word translates literally to mean “grief bacon”.

English has a heck of a lot of words, but usually just many words with the same general meaning. Do we have any cool sensation-esk words like the ones above?

Let the Games Begin!

And we’re off! 

Dreams of literal “backpacking” quickly dashes when I realized a carry-on sized wheelie offers similar mobility without subjecting myself to looking like a giant turtle.

I started off with a 3am bus ride in front of a screaming infant. Next I was bumped off of my 5am flight (300 travel credits richer), and now wait for a 10am flight. Not bad since my connecting DC to Madrid leg doesn’t start until 5pm! Still plenty of time to check out the United lounge I have a pass for.

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