Tuesday, June 29, 2010

So you may have already heard…

That I didn’t EXACTLY make my flight from Paris to Prague as scheduled.

Now, before you jump to any crazy assumptions, you should know that this really wasn’t my fault.

I was sitting at my gate an hour and a half before takeoff, proud of myself for the following things:

  1. I had woken up at 4:30 am after having gone to bed at 3:30 to get in a cab by 5.
  2. I had found the correct desk in the French airport, with all my belongings, checked everything and made my way through security.
  3. Ordered a bit of breakfast, and was comfortably facebooking by 5:30 as I waited for my 7:15 flight.
  4. And I did all this whilst my eyelids were being held up by toothpicks, and I was enduring a very severe tummy ache.

So I waited and waited and finally we began boarding. I hopped in line and when I reached the front, my ticket did not scan properly. The AirFrance employee told me in her broken English that I was taking off from gate 53B, not 53A—just one desk over. I smiled and made my way over to what I found to be an empty desk, an empty gate, and an empty seating area that was being shared with gate 53A. Confused, I asked the woman, “I should be taking off in 7 minutes, where is everyone?”

“You have meesed zee flight.”

“But I have been sitting here the whole time, and no other planes have left, how is that possible?”

“Zhey must av shanged your gate number.” She types vigorously on the computer. “Go to gate seexty-four for customur serveece.”

It turns out that yes; my flight’s gate had, in fact, changed. And, yes, it was my fault that I did not understand the French announcement that was made. So fifty euro came out of the reluctant pocket and I was told that my next flight would leave at 12:55 pm. Now, in case you haven’t been keeping score, I will remind you that we are now at 7:20 am, and I am to occupy my half-awake self in the airport for over five hours.

But never mind that, I had parents and school administration to inform. I had no working phone, and no other way to contact anyone so I whipped out the computer, and did the only thing I could think of: got on Facebook. I had a very limited selection of friends online to choose from to help me out, as it was nearly 2 in the morning, so a dear Jocelyn Hernandez was chosen to do the dirty work. I had her call my parents in the dead of night and have my mom go online so we could chat about the situation. We looked through all study abroad documents to contact who needed contacting, and we managed to pull through. With 10% of battery left on the trusty laptop, and all my adapters in checked luggage, I had to put it away. I had to my only source of entertainment away, and it was very, very sad. As I zombie-walked through the airport for any relief of boredom, I managed to pass the 5-odd hours and finally make it to a [comparatively] comfortable place to sleep—the plane; which I did for the entire duration of the flight. The next stop was Prague; a place I can finally hang my hat for a while… and it has felt very nice.

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