Popped over to New Orleans for the weekend. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking – who pops to NOLA for the weekend??? Apparently I do!
I’ve been thinking about it and I take international travel for granted. That’s not to say I don’t appreciate it cos I really do but I take it for granted that when someone says “Why don’t you just pop up and see us in NOLA?” that I say yup and do my best to make it happen! It’s weird when talking about if to other people who think I’m fearless heading off travelling by myself but I guess I don’t know any other way. I don’t think about it as being fearless, I just think that it’s got to be done!
I was chatting to someone this week who asked “Why do you travel so much?” It was said in the tone of utter disbelief as if I’d just confessed to snorting used toilet roll as my drug of choice. It reminded me of the Bill Hicks “Whatcha’ readin’ for?” story.
Anyway I had such a blast in NOLA catching up with my cousins and just soaking up the vibes of the city. It’s one if those places that is big and fat with life and energy. There’s so much eating and drinking to do that as my cuz Jen says “You gotta revel in your fatness” which is something I love. It’s a motto for life I think. Trying to create a life that’s big and fat and full of fabulousness is the ultimate dream!
People love a bit of drama. My connecting flight home to Mexico was cancelled due to volcanic ash. This is pretty much out of my control and there is absolutely nothing I can do to change it! The United Customer Service centre was little help. Ok, fair enough, they got me on another flight to Mexico in the morning. I had to beg the lady to check for a flight into Queretaro airport. She kept saying “Sweetheart, I don’t recognise that name, so that probably means we don’t fly there” and so in my nicest possible voice I spelled it out for her and lo and behold they DO fly there – it was no shock to me cos I knew it but it was news to her!
That’s fine, I had another flight and I just needed somewhere to stay! I phoned the service centre emergency helpline to see if they could help me use my air miles to pay for a hotel. The conversation went something like this:
Lady: I’m sorry we can only help you with a reservation if you’ve made it at least 24 hours in advance.
Me: I didn’t know 24 hours in advance that I would need an emergency accommodation due to a volcano.
Lady: I’m sorry I can’t help you.
Me: Well is there anyone you can put me through to who can deal with this emergency and help me find somewhere to stay?
Lady: No I can’t think of anyone who can help. We don’t do that here.
Me: (withering tone) So you are telling me that as a valued Mileage Plus member you can only help me in an emergency, if I had a sixth sense so I could predict the emergency 24 hours before it happens and made reservations, are you kidding me?
Me: * hangs up phone, does not cry, does not swear, goes to plan b*
I found a hotel. No big deal. They had free shuttle to and from the airport and a free breakfast. Job done.
On the shuttle bus I met a couple – lets call them Billy and Julie (on the off chance that they may stumble across this some day!)
Billy is a tall German roughly in his late 60’s, early 70’s. He’s got a shock of white hair, huge glasses and the air of someone who is a university professor. Julie is a very slight, pale blonde with air of someone who has been dealing with someone who may or may not have been a university professor for many years. Her face was set permanently in a ‘yes dear’ expression.
Billy wants to tell me his delay story, which is fine. I like stories. They were in Calgary, and were messed about because of the flood. They had to drive a detour of 1,000 miles which took three days. They finally got on the plane and landed in Houston only to discover their connecting flight to Boston was cancelled. They’ll get home tomorrow but they have to go via the same airport in Canada that they’d just left. To say Billy is not impressed is an understatement! His story takes quite some time and all the time he’s railing against the injustices of the world and condemning the universe for being unjust and Mother Earth for just for doing her thing. Eventually I said, ” You’re very lucky.” “Lucky???” He spluttered.
“Yeah” says I “loads of people have died in Calgary or been injured or lost all their possessions but you and your wife survived. Sure you’ll be home 3 days later than you thought but you survived and you now have am amazing story to tell.”
He sat back in his chair, pushed his glasses up and stared at me for quite some time. “That is a very interesting attitude you have, young lady.”
(I’ve either just passed or flunked his class, it’s hard to tell!)
Anyway my words of wisdom didn’t resonate with him for long. He started bitching at his wife about how long the shuttle bus was taking, how they should have taken a cab and why this “ridiculous excuse for a service” was stopping to pick up so many people. Her “yes dears” didn’t do much to pacify him.
Bitching about it sure didn’t make his unexpected stay any better. In fact I’m pretty sure it made things much worse, at least for his wife.
As for me I didn’t mind my extra night stay. Once I’d texted my boss and let her know what was happening. Once I accepted that my miles weren’t gonna pay for my hotel but I was gonna have to, there was little I could do about it but go with the flow.
You can’t change things all you can do is change how you react to things. I’m pretty sure I slept much better than Billy and Julie last night.
Finished Private Papers of Eastern Jewel by Maureen Lindley
Started Finding Your Element by Ken Robinson