Sunday, February 14, 2010

Flew over the pond

Ok, this is going to sound really crazy and random, but Friday night, I flew to London. Yes, London, England. It was a last minute thing. Long story short Paul was going to Austria to help with a military conference. He was going to come home early while the others he was with were coming to London, but he called one day before he left for Austria and said, "I can come home early OR you can meet me in London." I said, "Give me two hours to pray, think and call my closest friends and ask for counsel." It was a deal that didn't make sense to pass up, all my friends agreed. It's not costing us much money out of our pocket. HOWEVER....

No one should let me travel internationally by myself. Really! What were my mom, my husband and my good friends thinking? Seriously!

I should have known by the way it started and you should know that with me... there's always a story.

SO, Friday night my dear friend drove me to the airport (No way I could let my kids take me with the grandparents. There was already too much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth because mom was leaving. I always leave by the way. Or that's what my son says. I always leave. You know being an international business woman! HA! I think the only place that I LEAVE to go to is Zumba... 3 miles down the road... for an hour.... 3 times a week. Geesh!

Anyway, it all started with the peanut butter. Did you know peanut butter was a liquid? Because I didn't realize that. I must have not learned the difference between solids and liquids and gases in Chemistry. BECAUSE..... they took my little jar of peanut butter away at the airport because they said it was a liquid!!! Whatever! Just wanted an apple and peanut butter. I texted my friend who took me to the airport. She said, "Did they squeeze all the juice out of your apple too?" I cracked up!

I went to the gate to wait for my flight. I was sitting with a girl named Sarah (22 years old). (That's why I can still say I travel internationally by myself.) Sarah's dad was the reason Paul was in Austria. So, she was flying to London too to meet her dad. So, our flight had been delayed a bit and they announced that the plane we were waiting on was landing. They also mentioned that they wanted to disembark and embark again quickly so people could catch connecting flights. Well, we were sitting at Gate 14 but under the 14 was the letter A. Gate 14, our gate, was down the way a bit. We had been waiting longer that I had expected to wait so I thought it might be a good idea to look around and see what was going on. As I was looking down and noticing people entering through Gate 14, I hear "Last call for flight 3544 to Philadelphia. Last call for passengers Isaacs and Bourke." What!? Are you kidding me? We took off running for the gate.

Then, we got on the plane and Attila the Hun was our only stewardess. Apparently she knows when the plane is perfectly balanced, so from the front of this puddle jumper plane, she makes the announcement that 2 people from rows 1-4 need to move to the back. Please, keep know that... she's talking over that intercom in some kind terribly broken english. It sounded more like Charlie Brown's teacher, "Wah wah wah wah." No one moved. Probably BECAUSE NO ONE COULD UNDERSTAND HER! So, she says, "It's your trip. I can sit here all day" I was already in the back so poor Sarah got up to come to the back and the nasty stewardess says, "I SAID ROWS 1-4!" Sarah sat back down. She repeated her smart aleck comment again and finally 2 guys got up to move.

When we got to Philly, we had 27 minutes to get to our connecting flight. We were in terminal D and need to get to Terminal A via shuttle bus. We got off the shuttle bus and saw that there are 26 gates and we are ALL THE WAY down at gate 24. There was a lady and a child in front of us and I heard her ask one of those airport-golf cart guys to take her to gate 23. So, I said, "Can you take us to gate 24?" We hopped on and road forever to the gate. We got off the cart and turned to head toward our gate when we hear, "Last call for flight 722 to Dublin. Last call for passengers Isaacs and Bourke!" Then, the announcer lady looked at us and said, "RUN! and yell your last name when you go by!" Geesh! Are you kidding me? We almost missed our second plane.

On the very crowded plane, I made my way to my seat. I had an aisle seat next to two men who were probably my age. O was all frazzled when I sat down. The guy next to me looked at me and said, "Does your sweatshirt say Buckeyes?" Then he looked at his friend and said, "Ewww! She's a Buckeye!" So, I grabbed him by the neck of his sweatshirt and I said, "Listen here buddy! I left my kids wailing, security took my peanut butter and I've almost missed two flights! I don't need your comments!"

Ok, so you know I didn't say that. I gave him a smirk and didn't talk to him again until we landed.

In flights, I watched the movie Amelia which I surprisingly liked. They I tried to sleep, but however I held my head during my 45 minutes of sleep, made my shoulder blades feel like I had knives in them. So, no more sleep.

We landed in Dublin at 4 am (my home time) 9 am there. We had to collect our luggage and then check in with a different airline we were taking from Dublin to London. This airline is really strict and our luggage could only weigh 33 pounds. Mine was 32.

We checked the flight tv and found the flight to London which said FR216. We had 3 1/2 hours until our next flight. We went to gate 216. I found a place to lay down and Sarah went to find some wifi so she could do some homework. I slept about 75 minutes and then Sarah came back. We talked for a bit and then she went to sleep. I forgot to mention that the place I was sleeping was right outside a bunch of gates... there was bar/eating place in the open amongst the gates... and let me tell you, those Irish/European people, they start their drinking early. Seriously, don't you have some kind of drinking problem if you are pounding away that kind of beer at 9 in the morning?

Anyway, Sarah decided to get some sleep and I was reading. I kept hearing all these fights that were getting ready to board, were boarding etc... I kept thinking, "At any minute, I will hear something about a flight to London." But, I wasn't hearing anything. I got up, walked around the corner and down to screen by gate 216. I thought it was a bit odd that no one was working that gate and that there weren't very many people by the gate itself... even though it did say London.... and... it had an airline name that was different than the one we were flying. That might have been an important piece of information. I went back, woke up Sarah told her something wasn't right. Poor girl was so out of it. When she came to our senses I told her that something wasn't right. She went to check. She came back and said (big surprise), "We're at the wrong gate."

We grabbed our things, headed upstairs and down to the armored guards (ok, they were just airline workers who kept people in that terminal, but they acted like they were British soldiers guarding the queen). She looked at Sarah's boarding card and then spoke to us like we were the biggest idiots EVER. She said, "That is your flight number, not the gate number! " Well, in our defense, they list flight numbers in the place were we (USA) list gate numbers... and, since when did flight numbers have letters in front of them? She told us we probably missed our plane (not scheduled to leave for 20 more minutes). She got on the phone and called and I could tell by her conversation that she was wrong. But, she looked at our passports and then said, "Now, go out the terminal doors, turn left and then RUN!"

So that's exactly what we did. I had on a 10 pound backpack and Sarah had on high heels and I swear that I am not exaggerating... we ran a mile. It was so far. When we got to the gate, it was the biggest line I have ever seen, and not one person had started boarding that plane. If I felt like running another 2 miles, I would have ran back and slapped that woman... and I would have slapped her good. She knew what she was doing. JERK!

While we were waiting to get on the plane, there were some young girls sitting down when all of a sudden they started flipping out. Mouths wide open, gasping, hands over mouth, "Is that him? That's him! Yes it is! Come on! Let's go." Of course I had to know who they were looking at, so I asked. It was some actor from a British tv teen show called Skins. They all got their pictures taken with him and then gushed and all that other stuff.

I'll admit it. I wanted it to be like David Beckham or someone just a bit more popular.

To sum up the rest of the day, we waited at the airport for Paul and Tom and another couple, Rich and Cindy (from AZ) in London for an hour and a half. We rented a van, drove to our hotel, checked in, put our stuff in our rooms, left and went to a local pub. I had fish and chips. It was the British thing to do, right? It was ok. I thought their tartar sauce was weird. And, just a little FYI... everything here is served with peas, regular or mushy. Yep, mushy peas. They look like green mashed potatoes. Can't figure that out... along with a whole host of other things in this country.

24 hours after being dropped at the airport, 2 hours of sleep, and 3 flights later and 3 countries later, I got to go to sleep.

It was a last minute, risky (for me) decision to come, but I am so glad I did!

I am sure there are more stories. Stay tuned.


Gina said...

I have flown to England more times than I can remember and none of those things have EVER happened to me. I can't believe that you almost missed ALL of your flights. It's like the longest airport scene of Home ALone EVER!

I'm so glad you are there and so glad you are having fun. I hope you're taking lots of pictures so you can tell us all about it when you get back. You're not really supposed to put tartar sauce on your fish and chips by the way. You're supposed to drown it in vinegar and salt!! YUM! (and ketchup if you're me) Nick had fish and chips like 7 times in the week we were there. Clearly, he loved them.

Anyways, I can't wait to hear all about the trip. I'm excited that you are experiencing England so that now I can tell you stories and you can picture me there. Just like how you can now picture my house when we talk on the phone. Okay have fun! Love ya

Jeremy and Jeni said...

Glad you made it! You are brave to travel all by yourself to London...good for you!! Hope Jackson is doing okay.

Chubby Baby Designs said...

yea!!!! you made it!!! Can't wait to hear more!

Jenney said...

It is about TIME you traveled. Your best stories are from travel. And man are your stories the best. Seriously.