Well, since Voldemort found out, it's time to let the cat entirely out of the bag. I just got back from Spain.
I had disastrous luck with flights on the way there. It started at the Akron/Canton airport in Ohio, where PGG and I were set to fly to Detroit at 11:40am. He would fly from Detroit to Lincoln and I to Amsterdam, to Madrid. I would arrive in Madrid at about 12:25 the next afternoon, Thursday, following an 8-hour wait in Detroit and 8-hour trans-Atlantic flight. PGG and I would sit together in the exit row for the short shared part of the journey. We checked in, got to our gate, waited a bit, and then...flight cancelled. Mechanical issues. Okay...
We were sent by shuttle to Cleveland (50 miles in a van with other disappointed people). Still happy, the 8-hour layover meant little changed for me except that I wouldn't get to fly with PGG anymore. He flew from Cleveland to Minneapolis, Minneapolis to Lincoln, without any additional problems. I waited eagerly for my 5:05pm flight. Boarded, and sat on the plane. And sat. And sat some more. The gray skies had grown burlier over the course of the afternoon, finally erupting into some snow or freezing rain. Something requiring the plane to be de-iced. A comical procedure where the plane sits and a crane thing sprays a giant stream, like that from a hose fighting a fire. First an orange-tinted stream, followed by green. Or possibly the other way around. After that was completed, we sat some more. By this time an hour had gone by. At last, the pilot spoke. "Errrr...we're going to have to de-plane, folks." Some bit about it being illegal to fly with the sort of problem the plane had in these conditions, something that would be okay if the weather were perfect. Great. Another flight canceled due to mechanical problems.
This time I was more anxious. I had less time to work with to get to Madrid at the same time. I got on the phone with an agent (as opposed to waiting in the hideously-long line of my former flight-mates). First, the woman directed me to a 7:35 flight to connect at Dulles...then realized that I'd have to get a ticket printed at a ticketing counter prior to boarding and oh, it was already 7pm. Okay, no problem, she found me an 8:45 on a different carrier. I'd connect in Washington, DC, and fly through Paris to Madrid on AirFrance. I was immediately placated, plus, I'd actually get to Spain 5 minutes earlier than planned.
That, is, except for the fact that this plane, too, was not without issue. We left nearly two hours late. I asked the attendant at the gate what I should do, and he was unsure but insisted that I'd be better off stuck in DC than in Cleveland. Fair enough.
By the time we got into the Dulles airport, all of the agents were gone. For all of the airlines. No hotel voucher for me. Worse, there were no more flights to anywhere connecting to Madrid until 5pm the next evening. I texted a friend who lives in the DC metropolitan area...no reply, at least, not until 2pm or so the next day. We had lunch. I had a nice interlude there, on the whole, although it certainly wasn't Spain.
I flew through Amsterdam as originally planned and arrived a full day and a half later because my oblivious self went to the wrong gate at the (humongous) Amsterdam airport.
THEN, when I talked to Ginny Weasely upon finally arriving in Madrid, she informed that she'd been pickpocketed on the Metro on her way to meet me at the airport earlier. 250 Euros...gone. She's been living in Spain for awhile now, this is her second year there, plus she's traveled around Europe a fair amount...and never gotten pickpocketed up until then. So we were being all extra cautious once she got to the airport and we were on the Metro together.
And then? I got pickpocketed too. 440 Euros and a considerable amount of Euros in change, about 50 American dollars, a Mastercard, Discovercard, and Visa debit card, and my driver's license.
Luckily the rest of the trip went well--and I am very lucky that Ginny is such a great friend to have covered the expenses.
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