Been having nice random days and evenings with people recently. Lots of wandering, nattering, looking....
this time next week, I'll be sitting in Taipei airport. All night. Well.... I'm considering the hotel in Terminal two but it can't be pre-booked (or at least it can't be at the moment), so I'll probably just crash out in the airport.
AH.... sunshine awaits. Sunshine, flipflops, bare arms, massages, exploring, meeting random people....
But back to the aiport. I've had two nights in airports before. Well, one of them may have been a night, I'm really not sure.....
After university, I skipped off to Israel to do the Kibbutz thing for about three months. It wasn't exactly what I was expecting but it was certainly a memorable experience. And not really so much in a good way either. But I'm airporting here, not kibbutzing - I remember the night before leaving I had a goodbye party that went on pretty late and the next day someone had agreed to drive me to the airport so I had to get up pretty early. I was dropped off quite a long time before my flight - like 6 or 8 hours before, if I recall correctly (we're going back to 1993 now - so memories are a tad rusty) - but from the location of the kibbutz, this was the easiest way to do it.
I killed the time in the lobby along with a load of other foreigners doing the same thing. I'm not sure if it was at this stage we found out the flight was being delayed by several more hours or if this was later. Anyway, time passed and we were eventually allowed through interrogation.
I don't know if Israeli immigration has gotten better, worse or is the same as back in '93, but we were all having to have our packs manually searched and had to answer about ten minutes worth of questions such as why we'd been there, what we'd done there, who we'd spoken to why we'd been there, etc. I had a heap of letters (pre-email days, guys) and they went through all of those too.
I remember going with another random girl to duty free (to buy vodka) and to a shop (to buy coke) and sitting 'discretely' in some airport corner sitting out the delay and getting sloshed..
I remember arriving late - or was it early - at Heathrow and going straight to McDonalds (yeah, well, I was tired and hungry).
Zipping back four or five months: I was coming towards my finals at uni and had to figure out what to do next. Going back home and sitting on it wasn't an option, as there was no 'home' to go to and I was in no financial position to be able to rent somewhere at that stage. In fact, financially I was utterly fucked at this point.
I'd decided some time earlier that I wanted to go off to Paris to au pair for a year (ended up staying two) but having no childcare experience outside babysitting a bit some 8 or so years earlier and not having agency fees anyway my chances of getting a job weren't going to be so good. So, I'd asked around. I'd asked around everyone I'd ever spoken to: 'do you know anyone who wants an au pair in paris?' - and amazingly, I'd struck it lucky and some random girl I'd had some random past conversations with in the past, hooked me up with a job.
The problem though, was that the family didn't want me until September. My exams finished really early - like the second week of May or something - so I was stuck - and randomly hit out on the idea of going to a kibbutz as friends had done that in previous vacations. I'd prepaid my accommodation for the next months or so after I wasn't going to be there but managed to fight my way into getting it back, which was pretty unheard of... and got enough money for a return flight to Israel and had some £30 or something to fly with. It was pretty dire, but I had no choice.
Thing was, I was flying on to Paris the day I came back from Israel, but getting two single tickets was much too expensive. I left for Israel with plans to go to France, but no money to actually get there. I'd arranged with one of my flatmates that she would get my accommodation deposit back, book me a ticket to France and have it sitting at the airport waiting for me....
And it worked. Except when I went to the airline desk to pick up the ticket, they said they didn't have it, by which stage I was ready to collapse from tiredness anyway, but they eventually found it misfiled as my middle name and surname had been joined together or something...
I have no recollection how much time had passed between the McDonalds and the collecting of the ticket, but I hadn't slept for over 24 hours by this point and was knackered. Went through passport control into the lounge, crashed out and NEARLY missed the flight.
When I got to Paris the frigging family hadn't been able to find me and so had gone home, or something like that. I couldn't remember more than two words of French in my zombified state and the information people didn't seem to speak much English. Oh and I had NO money on me. Well, the odd few pence and sheckel but nothing that could be changed up. Information man called the family for me who told me to get a taxi and they'd pay when I arrived. I remember sleeping most of the way in the taxi and I remember there was confusion over the name of the road. And THEN I had to be all genki when I first met the family. I pulled it off for about thirty minutes and then crashed!
My other big night of airport fun 'n' games (actually, this is a lie, I've had a few more random airport happenings - like thinking I was going to be not let into the country the time I went to Boston, fucking up on times and dates of travel, etc) but this one was well.....
Let's just start by saying HOW WAS I MEANT TO KNOW BRUSSELS HAS TWO BLOODY AIRPORTS? - I'd been in, fuck, was it Antwerp for a long weekend, a few years ago and (my memory is a bit blurry as a few European weekends have melted into one now) I think I'd booked two different flights to go back to England for some reason (may have been they were ridiculously cheap and I was trying to keep my options open) and the latter was involving 'calling in sick' to work so I could chill out in Brussels for an extra day - which I decided to do.
Again, it's all a bit blurry, but I think I'd taken a taxi to the train station - leaving heaps of time to get there, of course, got the train with no problems and gotten to the airport nice and early. Wandering around, unable to find the airlines check-in desk, I think it had slowly dawned on me that I may have not been in the right place. Started legging it across to the other airport and realised there wasn't a chance in hell of actually making it in time for the flight.
Ended up going back to friends house and checking internet for flight details for that night / next morning. I HAD to go into work next day. First flight was nice and early and perfect for getting me into work by 10am. Except it would be impossible to actually get to the airport by train in time for that flight.. so I had to head back to the (correct) airport, that night. I got a taxi (thanks again for those vouchers!) which had a bit of meteorite or something fall onto the roof half way down a motorway - but no problems apart from a dent - and got the train to the aiport and all was fine.
Sleeping in the terminal wasn't the most comfy of places (plastic chairs, oooo) [which is why I've already checked out where is good and comfy to crash in Taipei airport in case I can't get into the hotel] and they turned on the sodding lights at about 4am - an HOUR before any flight had to check-in!
I got back to Heathrow, legged it across to home, rushed in, changed clothes..... and made it to work by 10am.