Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Journey, Part 1

Well, dear readers, where did I last leave off? Oh yes, we were in the airport in Amsterdam, waiting for a plane. Well, that turned out to be a long wait, and a difficult part of the journey for those of us who became so tired that sleep needed to claim us even though there was no quiet place to lay down and rest.

We spent a couple of hours in the lowest level of one of the terminals on some seats that were somewhat out of the way, but which were clearly designed to prevent anyone from laying down. In spite of that, the two younger travelers found ways and passed some fitful time in the land of nod.

This was inbetween being rousted by security on three or four occasions. Apparently, Schiphol airport has a rule about sleeping laying down and each time, a new person on their rounds would make the kids wake up and sit up. A pretty cruel thing for those who had been traveling twenty some hours at that time.

I eventually roused them and herded them toward a café where I hoped to achieve both nourishment and internet access. We were able to work out the first part, but not the second. As soon as we sat down, two heads hit the table in unison and I once again found myself guarding over a couple of nearly dead bodies. Might as well have a beer I said to myself and picked up a large Heineken from the cafeteria line. This one, lead to another, and then another as I waited for time to pass and for my children to get tired of drooling onto the table. I soon had a more pressing problem however.

What goes in, must come out. The dilemma was whether to abandon my sleeping children and luggage, or to create a disturbance by publicly watering a large planter in the nearby vicinity. I was saved at the last instance when one of the kids woke up enough to nod numbly when directed to keep an eye on things as I dashed to the can.

We were doing all of this waiting because we arrived into Schiphol airport at 6:30 AM local time and our next flight out was not scheduled until 8:30 PM that evening. In addition, the airline did not staff a counter until two hours before flight time, so we could not pass to the secure side of the terminal until then. So, we killed time, drank beer, and drooled.

Finally, it came time to check in which went smoothly and we made our way partially to the gate, but were prevented from completing the journey because a sign in our path said to go no further until our flight came up on a tally board. This was due to the lack of toilets (or anything else) at the gate.

So, once again we sat down and then lay down and began drooling again. More time passed as we waited for our flight to show on the tally board. There was a moment of hope when it finally appeared, only to be followed by a crashing of spirit when the flight number was followed with the dreaded “delayed” message. And so it stayed for an additional three hours. When we were finally called, it was 10:30 at night. We had been on the road for more than 24 hours and I had not slept in about 36. Needless to say, we were frazzled.

Once on the plane and in the air, things once again went smoothly. We made it to Budapest quite late, but without further incident. When we finally retrieved our luggage, cleared customs and immigration, we were met in the lobby by a slightly dour, mustachioed man holding a sign with our family name upon it. Without word being spoken, we were lead to a taxi and driven at high speed through the sleeping streets of Budapest to our hotel. We checked in about 1:30 AM.


Blogger Sister Spikey Mace said...

Ah, the glamorous life of the world traveler! Sorry for the sleep deprivation, but glad you made it safely.

10:12 AM, July 19, 2007  
Blogger lime said...

an, just reading this makes me want tp put my head down and drool....glad yougo tthere with nothign worse than terrible fatigue though

10:18 PM, July 19, 2007  

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