Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Roman Holiday Part 12 - Parting Gifts

Previously: I had a seat on a flight home and then suddenly I didn't. Time to find a new one!

The line at the ticket counter was so long. Apparently a lot of people were having Alitalia flight issues that day. When I was next in line to talk to an agent, the line came to a complete halt and I waited around 2o minutes to get seen. I joked with the people behind me that the wait itself wasn’t so bothersome as the fact that all the people in front of me had been talking to their agents for at least 20 minutes, so it wasn’t as if right when I got to speak to someone I’d be done lickety split. It never takes this long on Amazing Race! Editors, you make this part look so easy, when it is not! "Reality" TV, my ass!

Finally it was my turn. The ticket lady gave me the option of flying into Paris and then to NYC which got in about 90 minutes after my original flight or the one through London which was a lot later. I opted for the Paris flight. Just then this crazed woman came running over to my counter completely skipping the line and shouted/asked my agent what terminal had the Alitalia flight to Turkey. Her flight was supposed to leave in only 25 minutes. The ticketing lady told her it was Terminal C. The building we were in housed terminals A and B. Terminal C was next door, but you had to go back outside and around to get to it. “You’re sure it’s not B?” the crazed lady demanded. The ticketing lady and I both shot the woman death glares. “Miss, I’ve worked here for 20 years,” the flight attendant said (which I thought had to be impossible because she looked young). “I’m telling you it’s terminal C. “

“Do you think we’ll make it?” the woman screeched. The check-in lady was done with her. “I don’t think so. The flight has probably stopped boarding. You will have to go to Terminal C to find out.”

The crazy lady threw up her hands. “But we have to get on this flight!!” "Then don’t show up less than a half hour before your flight, bitch," is what I wanted to say. I was there two hours early for mine and that wasn’t early enough. Plus, who’d this lady think she was just ignoring my place at the ticket counter and also disregarding the line of people behind me. Some people are such assholes.

After the crazy woman left, we got back to the business at hand. “I can issue you your ticket to New York, JFK through Paris," she said, "and I will also give you 600 euros cash for the inconvenience." My eyebrows flew up to the top of my forehead and I slammed my hand down on the counter. “Done!” I exclaimed. 600 euros to get in 90 minutes later than I planned? That’s more than half the cost of my total trip returned to me! How amazing was that?? She tells me that right now we’re near terminal A and I need to go to terminal B to get the flight to France. It’s boarding soon, so I don’t have a ton of time.

With 600 euros in hand and a gigantic smile on my face, I rushed over to Terminal B. They tell me when I get there that, in fact, I needed to go to terminal C. This was funny to me because my ticketing lady who claimed to have been there for 20 years when talking to the crazy woman headed for Turkey, had given me the wrong terminal information, and I wondered if she screwed up with the other woman too. I kind of hope she did, because that woman was so nasty.

I got to Terminal C and realized just how lax the security was in the Rome airport screening department. I went through the metal detector with my shoes on and a half empty bottle of drinking water. Nobody made me get rid of it. It was weird. I couldn’t get away with shit like that flying out of Kennedy.

The flight from Rome to Paris was very nice. We left late and that meant all my layover time in Paris was eaten up. This resulted in another mad dash carrying luggage from one end of the Paris airport where we disembarked, to the other end of the airpoer where the flight for New York was waiting. This run was long enough and hectic enough to work up a proper sweat.

Once I got on the flight to JFK, everything went smoothly. On my little personal TV in my seat I watched two episodes of the Simpsons, two episodes of Sex & The City (the post-it note episodes), I Love You, Man (so good!) and Transformers 2 (SO terrible!) . I only subjected myself to Transformers 2 because it was equal in running time to how much time was left in the flight. Even still, I found it such a tedious and offensive movie. There were plenty of times when I talked back to the screen saying “that’s disgusting.” And I think it concerned the dude sitting next to me. The end of the movie got cut off as we started our descent, and I couldn’t have cared less to know how it all turned out.

After disembarking and making my way through a very long customs line, I was finally officially back in New York City. Hooray! Home soil. At this point, I was still laughing to myself about getting so much money for my overbooked flight. I made my way home via subway, which might have taken longer but was cheaper than a taxi and I didn’t want to deal with nighttime airport traffic which can be a total nightmare at JFK.

Upon arriving back at my apartment, I plugged all my equipment back in – my blackberry, my laptop, my camera and my ipod – all of which had run out of juice along the journey. Then I went through my luggage and dumped my dirty clothes in the laundry and unearthing the snow globe of the Colosseo I had stored in bag for safe keeping. I gave it a good shake and as the little white flecks floated down through the water to settle on the ancient structure below, I placed in on my living room mantle for display. Then I collapsed into bed. What a fun and crazy couple of days it had been! It was really an unforgettable time and I’m so glad I did it. Rome will always live in a special place in heart has a beautiful city where I had my first independent travel adventure. It reinforced the importance of travel in my mind, and the idea that you should see the places you want to see, and not wait forever for the "right time.” I certainly hope I make it back to that city and my beloved Colosseo sooner rather than later.

(Three days in Rome/Where do we go?/I'll always remember/ Three days in Rome. - Sheryl Crow, "The Book.")

I know the minutia of my adventure probably did not make for the most exciting reading and who knows if anyone actually got through it, BUT it was something I told myself I would do, and I wanted to keep that promise to myself and finish the project before I went on my next solo trip to Paris in June. It’s only a few weeks away! Best case scenario I'll see Rafa win The French Open LIVE at Roland Garros! HELL YEAH! I'll keep you (blog)posted!

My previous adventures: My Flight There, Emperor Palpatine's Hill, Good Times at the Colosseo & Vatican, SPB & The 39 Steps, The Pantheon, Gays and Dining Out. Owen & Nilor Take Via Borghese, The More Than 39 steps of Vittoriano, The Battle For Aventine Hill, Pizza! Pizza! Pizza!, Finding The Mouth Of Truth, and A Change of Flight Plans

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