Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Travelers log

Wednesday, 14th of April: Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupts in Iceland, causing a plume of ash to billow 30,000 feet into the sky. The ash cloud, due to easterly wind currents, head towards Europe.

Thursday, 15th of April:
17:30 - My mom calls me, stating that she's heard flights may be grounded and she is afraid my sister Dana will be stuck in Sardinia, unable to fly home the next day as planned.
17:45 - I check online, flights from Southern Europe to Germany are still flying.  So far, Dana is safe.  I start to worry about cancellations to and from the Netherlands.
21:00 - I check the latest flight status, all flights to the UK are on hold until 07:00 Friday.

Friday, 16th of April:
09:30 - I am in a panic.  Mass chaos fills the air.  Every single plane in North Western Europe has been grounded until 19:00hs.
10:30 - I start checking my flight status hourly, holding my breath each time.  My flight is scheduled to depart the next day for England, and another the following day to Morocco.
11:00 - Flights are now grounded until 06:00 Saturday morning.  My flight is scheduled to leave at 07:10.
12:30 -  All forms of transportation are in total disarray.  Not only are airplanes grounded, but trains, buses, rental cars and ferries are booking up fast.
14:00 - Anxiety sets in.  My friend, Britt, is already in England.  I have no way to contact her other than via email, and have not heard back from her yet.
14:45 - I again check flight status, and see my flight to London is canceled.  I start checking other transport options.  Trains, ferries, buses, rental cars... booked, booked, booked and booked.
15:00 - I officially declare it's over. My dream trip to Morocco is no more. I email Britt telling her so.
15:45 -  A friend messages me, stating that the bus lines have brought in one extra bus going from Amsterdam to London due to the extraordinary circumstances.  He informs me that there are only a few seats left on the bus, so I need to call immediately.
15:55 - I call the bus company.  They state that an hour ago the bus was empty, now there are only 10 spots available.  I provide my credit card number. My spot is reserved. Now there are only 9 spots available to whomever is lucky. I'm advised to arrive at the bus station 45 minutes early.
16:00 - I email Britt telling her I'm coming.  She responds.  We email back and forth.
16:15 - My blood pressure starts to normalize.
17:20 - I find out my sister will be staying in Sardinia longer than expected.  Her flight was canceled as well.
18:00 - I rush home to finish packing.  My bus leaves at 22:30, I need to leave my house by 21:00.
19:20 - I call Expedia to get a refund for my canceled flight.  I'm on hold for 30 minutes, which I make use of by running around the house like a chicken with my head cut off, nearly ready to go.
21:00 - I leave for the bus station.  My fingers are crossed that all flight restrictions will be removed before our flight to Morocco.
21:45 - The line at the bus station ticketing counter is enormous.  Everyone is crowding in on eachother.  Some are cutting in line.  Others are expressing their frustration of those doing so.  Many are on edge.  Tired.  Grumpy.
22:30 - Bus number 1 begins loading.  I have been given a ticket for bus number 2.
22:40 - Bus number 1 is packed. Every seat on the bus is taken.  My hopes for a few hours sleep start to shatter.
22:45 - Bus number 2 begins loading.  There aren't many people.  I'm one of the last to walk on the bus.  It's nearly empty.  Everyone has their own row.  Victory.  In my mind the heavens open, angels start to sing, and the blessing of a decent 12 hour trip to London is poured upon me.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Morocco, Morocco, Morocco!

I turn on the TV and am greeted by a program on Moroccan cousine.  I walk down the street someone just has to say "yeah, my family is from Morocco" when I'm passing them.  I glance at a poster only to find out that it too is talking about Morocco.  Enough!   I can't take the taunting!

It's bad enough the world crushed my Moroccan dream vacation by grounding all planes for 6 full days due to the ash, but does it really have to keep rubbing it in??

Friday, April 16, 2010

A mother's wrath

I don't know why she's mad at me.

I make sure to turn off lights in rooms I'm not using.  I don't keep the water running longer than necessary.  I recycle.  I don't emit exhaust fumes into the air, since I ride a bike.

So why is she mad?  Why did she blow a gasket? Why now... when I have a trip to Morocco planned?!

The biggest question of all though, is will she do all in her power to clear the air for my flight scheduled to leave at 7:00am tomorrow morning?

An Icelandic volcano is still spewing ash into the air in a massive plume that has disrupted air traffic across Europe and shows little sign of letting up, officials said on Friday. The ash is spewing from a volcano beneath Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull glacier that began erupting Wednesday for the second time in less than a month. It hurled a plume of ash 4 to 7 miles high into the atmosphere. The volcanic ash is causing the largest air traffic disruption since the 9/11 attacks. International aviation regulatory authorities themselves are still not sure when the sky conditions in Europe could be considered safe again.
NATS – the air traffic control service – has confirmed that air traffic restrictions will remain in place in airspace above England until 01.00 (UK time) on Saturday 17 April, at the earliest. About 17,000 flights were expected to be canceled on Friday due to the dangers posed by clouds of volcanic ash, with airports across Europe closed until at least Saturday, stranding hundreds of thousands. Around 2,000 people slept overnight at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, a spokeswoman said, adding they did not expect airspace in the Netherlands to reopen soon.
There is no traffic to and from Schiphol until, at least, 06:00 am on Saturday. Unfortunately at this stage no indication can be given as to when flight operations will be restarted. Schiphol Passengers are strongly advised to stay tuned for further developments and to contact their airline before proceeding to the airport tomorrow morning.
I think I'll go find a corner and cry.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Question of the day

Is it bad to be jealous of my mom, sister and brother, who at this moment are in Sardinia soaking up the warmth and sun for the weekend while I'm stuck at home?  (Even though the only reason I didn't join is because I'm going to Morocco next weekend...)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Vrolijk Pasen!

This year at my house, Easter Sunday was celebrated Dutch style:  with a huge brunch.  (Easter Monday was celebrated at Hard Rock Cafe...).