1) Stress for 3 weeks about packing, but don’t actually pack
2) Spend time researching every single possible option for sleeping bags, backpacks, and travel clothes on the internet instead of actually buying anything, so that, in the end, you wind up going to the store the night before you leave.
3) Be a size where, according to standard American clothing sizing, you’re too small for even a “Size 0”, and so nothing in said store fits.
4) Screw up your ipod so you spend up to the very last moments trying to fix it, kind of, and arrive at the airport late enough to be the very last person on the check-in line
5) Have Air France take your carry-on luggage away from you at that very last moment and check it underneath the plane.
6) Get on plane. Overhear flight attendants talk about the other Air France jet that went down less than a week ago.
7) Get vewy, vewy nervous.
8) Debark. Run across airport with savvy, put-together yet frazzled American woman with her two kids as they call our names for last-call to board our connection.
9) Board, breathless.
10) Prepare for landing by circling the airport.
11) Get air-sick.
12) Get off plane after spending some time drinking some water from the nice flight attendants who realize you’re air-sick
13) Wait at luggage carousel, where there’s very few people. Think, “Wow, I’m early.”
14) Watch the same 4 pieces of luggage go round and round with Savvy Frazzled Lady & Her Kids.
15) Realize, “Shit, no, I’m late,” and that your luggage will indeed not be on that carousel.
16) Talk to not-so-nice Air France reps about where our luggage could be. Let Savvy Frazzled Lady go first. Her luggage is in Paris. They’re not sure when it’s coming, but it will be tonight. Reassure her that you’ve been through this 3 times before, and they’ll hand-deliver it to her at her hotel when it arrives. Air France Rep confirms this. Savvy Frazzled Lady is relieved.
17) Talk to Air France rep about your luggage. It’s not on the next flight. It’s not on the 6:30 flight either. It’s not even in Paris. In fact, they don’t know where it is.
18) Understand that Air France has really, indeed, lost your luggage.
19) Listen to Savvy No-Longer-That-Frazzled Lady say, “Uh oh, she’s going to cry!”
21) Realize you haven’t slept in 36 hours.
22) Spend the next several hours in the airport waiting for your luggage.
23) Assume that you can buy a SIM card for your phone, or a phone, in the airport.
24) Never assume.
25) Talk to nice Spanish stranger who brings you some water when he sees you sniveling on a ledge next to a window.
26) Feel better.
27) Sneak back in to the baggage area to talk to nasty Air France reps. Get caught by the guards. Explain why you’re sneaking back in to the baggage area. Flirt. They let you in.
28) Talk to nasty Air France reps to see if they have your luggage.
29) They don’t.
30) Take “courtesy” bag from Air France and leave the airport, bagless, to the Couchsurfer’s house, where you’d arranged to stay. Assume there will be plenty of stores to buy a SIM card for your phone so you can call said Couchsurfer.
31) Never assume.
32) Ask someone at a restaurant where you can buy a phone. Head towards shopping center.
33) Assume you can buy a SIM card for your phone at one of the 4 different companies’ Kiosks in the shopping center.
34) Never assume.
35) Consider buying a whole new phone and SIM card. For 50 Euros. And 57 centimes a minute. And 19c a text. Multiply this by 1.5 to figure out dollars. Balk. Buy anyway.
36) Chat with nice illegal immigrant from Nigeria who tries to sell you something.
37) Call Couchsurfer. He’s not home.
38) Hang out some more with Nice Illegal Immigrant.
39) Couchsurfer calls back and comes to get you. Feel sense of overwhelming relief.
40) Open pathetic “Courtesy Bag” from Air France, which includes a T-shirt so large it reaches your shins, some shaving cream, a rock-hard tiny deodorant that comes out of its small container, and a toothbrush with bristles made from a hedgehog.
41) Start giggling madly. Realize you haven’t slept in 42 hours.
42) Feel bad when you tell disappointed Couchsurfer you need to sleep instead of hang out.
44) Leave at 7am when Couchsurfer needs to go to work.
45) ¡¡¡¡Welcome to Madrid!!!!
Originally posted at http://travelingdina.livejournal.com