The One Where We Spend 17 Hours in an Airport

Well.

I’m pretty sure no one will be reading this today, because you’ll all be off roasting chestnuts around an open fire, or doing whatever else it is winter-lovers do two days before Christmas, but let the record show that Terry and I have returned safely from what turned out to be a fabulously relaxing holiday in the Canaries, with actual sun, and heat and everything. I, of course, fearing a repeat of last year’s winter vacation, where it was so cold I had to buy almost all of Zara’s stock over there, had come prepared, with lots of sweaters, coats, boots, etc, so naturally the weather was fantastic, and I looked like a (very stripey) Nanook of the North most of the time. I DID still buy my fair share of stuff at Zara, though. Well, it’s become a tradition…

Let the record also show, however, that although we are back, this has not been achieved without some degree of trouble, namely a 17-hour delay at Las Palmas airport, due to the huge amount of snow back home, which had closed down Gatwick airport, and left our plane stranded there helplessly, poor thing. I had planned to write one of my usual long, rambly posts about this experience*, but now that I actually sit down to do it, I find it can be summed up pretty accurately with the words “Man, that sucked.”

Grumpy. Also strangely shiny. And stripey, obv. Like my own version of the 7 dwarves, basically.

Grumpy. Also strangely shiny. And stripey, obv. Like my own version of the 7 dwarves, basically.

This was taken at about 3am, and we’d arrived at the airport at 11am the previous day, so please excuse my appearance, and just be grateful you weren’t sitting next to me, because although I could’ve bought a selection of clothes from Calvin Klein and Burberry (Don’t worry, I didn’t. Don’t think I didn’t consider it, though.) there was nowhere selling basic stuff like toothpaste or deodorant, and because I was expecting a 4-hour flight, I hadn’t put any in my hand luggage. Yes, I have learned that lesson now, having been forced to make liberal use of the Fragile perfume tester in the duty free.

Sleepy

Sleepy

As you’ll have gathered from the lack of “OMG, I AM TRAPPED IN AN AIRPORT FOR 17 HOURS!” posts here over the past couple of days, we couldn’t actually use that laptop: there was wi-fi available, but it cost 10 euros (about $14) for a day pass, and although I did reach a stage where that started to seem like a good deal to me, if only so I could whine incessantly on Twitter about my “ordeal”, the sign-up page was in Spanish, Google translate didn’t seem to work on it, and although we did manage to get some of the way through the sign-up process, we were finally defeated by the apparent requirement that we provide a Spanish mobile phone number before we be granted access to the Internet. There were none of those computer terminals where you can put in coins and get a few minutes’ access. I don’t think I’ve ever been in an airport in my life that didn’t have those, so it figured that the first airport I should come across without easy internet access would be the one I was spending 17 hours in. Gah. You should all probably be thankful about this, though, otherwise this post would be longer than it is already, and would be in approximately 1,752 parts all of which would read something like, “Aaaargh! Am STILL stuck in airport! Woe! Woe! First world problems!”

Anyway, we finally got onto the plane and went to find our seats. We’d been the first people to check into the flight (our boarding cards were numbers 1 and 2, to prove this), so we were confident we’d at least have reasonably good seats. Where do you think the first two seats allocated on a flight would be, readers? Did you guess “Slap in the middle of the aircraft, and separated by an aisle, even although you’d specifically requested that this NOT happen?” Because if so, you win the house cup! We were separated by an aisle, and although this may not seem like a big deal to most of you, when you’re as frightened of flying as I am, and need to not only hold your husband’s hand, but also to burrow into his side during take-off, landing, and at regular intervals during the flight, it kind of IS a big deal. I doubt the two elderly ladies sitting next to me would’ve enjoyed having to deal with my in-flight histrionics much, either. (Not that Terry DOES enjoy it, obviously, but, you know, that’s what my parents pay him for.) And we thought our LAST travel ordeal was bad!

Luckily for everyone, the flight crew managed to find us two seats together. Actually, they managed to find us THREE empty seats together, and they managed to do this because there were LOTS AND LOTS OF EMPTY SEATS. TOGETHER.  Why they’d tried to seat us apart, then, is anyone’s guess, and by that stage we were too tired to care. We were grateful to have the extra seat to spread out in, though, especially given that this was how much legroom we had:

Legroom, lack thereof

Legroom, lack thereof

No room to swing a cat. Which was a shame, because we enjoy swinging cats:

Cat swinging

Cat swinging

(These guys lived at our apartment complex with their five brothers and sisters. I would’ve brought them all home with me, and thus started my career as a Crazy Cat Lady (I know it’ll happen one day, so why not now?) if I possibly could have, but Terry wouldn’t let me. Gah.

Anyway. We made it home. And then, as we pulled into our street? We drove straight into a huge pile o’snow and got stuck in it for 30 minutes, finally being freed only when a neighbour (NOT Nigel) arrived to help us push/dig the car out. And THIS, my friends, is why I don’t like winter. And why every time I hear someone say “Ooh, I hope we have a white Christmas!” I want to drop to my knees and say, “Are you on crack? Please don’t wish more snow upon us, it traps us inside airports, and makes us worry that we’re going to miss Christmas altogether because if it.” Which could still happen, of course: today we’re more or less snowed in, and not planning to budge until tomorrow, when we’ll be driving to my parents’ house for Christmas. Or at least, we HOPE we are.

Needless to say, I have lots and lots of holiday stories, and even more photos, to share, but those will have to wait until after Christmas. For now, I hope you all have a good one, however you’re spending it – hopefully not in an airport!

* Um, looks like I DID write one of those long, rambly posts after all. Sorry. Happy Christmas!