Friday, September 24, 2010

Finally in Spain...though I know its late

Sorry this first one took so long...the internet here is unreliable at times.  Anyways here goes.  I'm going to try to suppress my perfectionist tendencies and just let it flow, so expect some weird grammar and what not.

So here I am, finally in Spain, finally in the hotel.  The trip so far has been very nice, though admittedly getting into the country was a little exhausting.  For those of you who haven’t heard the story, it goes like this: My two traveling partners (Meg and Hillary), who I met in college, and I woke up bright and early on the 18th of September to arrive at the airport by 5:30 a.m.  Before I go any further, thank you to all our parents for bringing us that early! You guys are great!  Anyway, we said our goodbyes and hopped a plane to Dallas.  From there, we spent almost 11 hours waiting from our 6:45 a.m. arrival to our 5:40 p.m. departure.  Needless to say, it was a pretty grueling wait, though we were fortunate enough in the fact that the Dallas airport is neatly contained within an overpriced shopping mall.  It sounds ridiculous, but no joke.  That place is massive.  Anyway, after that adventure we were politely informed that though our flight had arrived on time  they had decided for reasons unknown to switch our plane with another, which would of course require both cleaning and inspection.  However, through our haze of travel a small light shone through.  They had overbooked the plane!  Sounds anticlimactic, but the management then informed us that each person who volunteered to give up their seat would be given an $800.00 travel voucher and free lodging/meals until the next flight.  After some unnecessary-long-and-upon-hindsight-silly discussion we decided to try and give up our seats.  Alas, the clouds rejoined over our heads and the airline no longer needed anyone to give up their seats.  Ugh.  No way.  Attention passengers for flight 36 to Madrid: now approaching the 12th hour in Dallas with no end sight.
            Well, when in doubt wait.  And then wait some more.  So we did.  And we did.  And around hour 13 or so, a freak hurricane blew in over our heads and brought such a wind that it took our clouds with it.  The airline gods had decided that the plane was still overbooked!  Now! Go! Fast! No need for discussion! We jumped in line, handed our boarding passes to the more than slightly disgruntled employee to secure our place in Olympus – cruising at 30,000 feet. Tomorrow.  Weighed down by 800 clams of cold hard vouchers. 
            Wanna hear the end yet? Yeah, I did too.  After handing over our passes we looked at the attendant expectantly until she…

…asked us to wait some more.  Yeah, I know right?  Soon after, the plane began to board and we watched everyone get on.  It was now into hour number 14 and we really just wanted to know what to do.  Ok so eventually everyone boarded the plane, and with only a few questions, the lady finally informed us that we had secured our vouchers, hotel, and flight to Madrid tomorrow!  YES! Sweet strange gods of closure! Thank you for that and for getting us the hell out of the Dallas airport! After the news we did the only thing we could do: get a beer and some food.  And yes, finally, after 15 hours in the airport we were able to leave and finally get some rest.
            As a side note to this story, the hotel we stayed was really quite nice.  If you ever wonder why plane tickets are so expensive, this is the reason.  Overbooking happens often apparently, (we were part of a group no less than 20) and they do not skimp on the details.  I would be surprised if the hotel was less than $200 dollars/night AND they put us up for 2 nights so we wouldn’t have to check out at 11:00.  How sweet.

This is the hotel room...and Meg:

            Luckily, from here on out it was pretty smooth sailing.  We made our new flight to Madrid, arrived on time, and discovered our connection flight was at a later time so we got to relax in an airport once again.  As is common in Spain, the flight was about 45 minutes late (though no one informed us of this, which leads me to believe how common it must have been) but we made it to the hotel in time for the beginning orientation.  Not too bad for my first unguided trip out of the country.  Though honestly, the real miracle was that none of us lost our luggage during this run-around (which we had not seen since Little Rock) and it arrived WITH US on the plane from Madrid to Seville.  Finalmente, quiero decir que whoever you are my dear mystery person, with a degree in American Airlines baggage handling, well done.  Well done.

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