Thursday, June 22, 2017

Croatia - Landed...finally

The husband and I are always running - to catch trains, to catch planes, and sometimes running for no reason, but we are always running. When we are not running, the husband walks at a pace that can easily pass off as running. Also we never plan our holidays in advance. So basically we are late and disorganised. So this new years eve we resolved to make a change.

Attempt 1
Just a month into the new year, we promptly planned the Croatia holiday for the May which was sort of an achievement but mostly that meant really cheap flight tickets. But some days before the trip, the husband had a bit of cough and some mild fever so we decided that instead of long arduous travel by the national express to Stansted airport, we take a cab. The flight was at inhuman hours - 600 am which means we had a 300 am start which given our 'always late' record already seemed unachievable. Anyways, we called an Uber who decided to cancel on us for no reason. So after haggling with the application which freezes at the exact moment that I need it to work, we finally got another one. All along the way, the Uber driver left no stone unturned in asking us every single detail of the trip (which I told with much reluctance) including the airfare and did not hesitate to show his utter disbelief on what an amazing deal we had got on flights. We were nearing the airport and I was day dreaming of the sunny sandy beaches when the driver took a left turn when the sign on the road clearly ordered us to take a right. His logic was that Google maps on his phone asked him to do so and that was the time I was convinced that machines have officially taken over humans. He tried to drop us at a random location but after much protest and with the help of a passerby, we managed to manoeuvre him to the airport. We were doing just about okay with time when the conveyer belt at the security check refused to cooperate. By this time, the husband had walked ahead (or ran) whilst his bag was stuck on the belt. We were now seriously running late and just as we decided to swap the bags to another lane, the belt began to move.

To add to our woes, the gate was as far as it could be. First there was a kilometre long passage full of shops on both sides of you name it and you have it brand which can easily give the Dubai shopping festival a tough competition. Then we had to take a train to get to the gate. If this was not enough, two teenagers decided to block the doors until the rest of their gang arrived.

After all this huffing and puffing, we finally made it to the gate ..which was already closed !!

Attempt 2
Many many requests, some begging and crying, a bit of blaming the broken conveyer belt and much of emotional drama didn't stir the crew member who was unrelenting even though the gate was just literally closed when we showed up. We were told to go back and speak to the customer care in the main entrance hall.

Contrary to our belief, getting out of airport was far more difficult and excruciating process than getting in. Firstly we were escorted by a crew member who already had a bunch of passengers from various other flights pretty much in the same plight as ours but shamelessly said "Welcome to the group" upon seeing us. I tried to smile a bit still fuming from inside. We were then put into a bus which literally zoomed off adjacent to the plane. If I were a Bollywood hero, I would jump out of the bus and made a run to the plane, but am a mere immigrant fearful of being deported so I refrained from any further dramatic actions. We were then dropped off at a gate and asked to take the stairs up but by the time we assimilated this information and spotted he stairs, he had disappeared. We took the same one kilometre corridor back until we got to security.

Now passing the security check to get in is okay but how do you pass out from the security. We waited and waited until someone showed up who then took us back the corridor and finally into main hall.

In this long journey out, we had explored all possible options - taking any alternative flight that day but there was none or taking the flight two days later directly to the second destination or sceptically attempting the same inhumane hours flight the next day. Now honestly speaking the husband was quite in a bad shape and the signs of his laryngitis had begun to show strongly due to this morning marathon but the husband had never missed any flight till now, let alone being sent back from the gate. So it was a bit of a hit on our ego and we eventually booked the next day morning flight from Gatwick hoping to make it in time in the second attempt.

We returned home much to the amusement of my parents who obviously did not leave any chance to make fun of this episode. Over the course of the day, the husband's condition worsened with high temperature and his voice was completely gone. At the end of the day, it became clear that we could not travel in this condition and we went to bed, bags still packed sitting in a corner.

Attempt 3

The husband's fever and cough lasted for almost a week. So I sort of think it was not my fault after all that we missed the flight. It was God's way of making us miss the flight so the husband could recover. Also I took total advantage of the fact that the husband had lost his voice until he discovered that he could irritate me by using the text to voice app on his iPhone. He further changed the voice to female and started typing in hindi. After that, there was nothing stopping him because he took it to the next level by using it on a whatsapp voice call to his parents. That night, Steve Jobs probably turned in his grave.

A month later, we decided to rebook this trip. Taking into account our historic experience, we booked an evening flight from the third airport- Luton. We decided that this time, we would keep a whole lot of buffer and but we being we, had to eventually sprint to catch the train to Luton airport. The train was on time and the conveyer belt at the security did not break down this time. All seemed well until we found out that the flight has been delayed by two hours.

I have been to many terrible airports but believe me when I say that Luton is pretty much at the top of the list. There was a sea of people, just standing because there were hardly any chairs to sit, the restaurants were full and it was crazily noisy. We were really hungry at this point. I have had pizza at weird hours and weird places but the top of the leaderboard is today when we sat down on the floor in the corridor and ate a pizza.

All is well that ends well - here we are finally in Croatia - one and half months and three bookings later !! Let the adventure begin...



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