Friday, February 11, 2011

Tales of the Traveling Minimalist, Part 2

A few years back, The Professor and I had a 10 day business/pleasure trip planned to visit Spain and Portugal.  As with any trip, we plan it ourselves, whether by plane, train or automobile, we plan our route, the sites we want to visit and what pillows our heads will occupy each night.  Hours of planning.  Dozens of hours!
So when our luggage did not show up in Malaga, Spain, we figured it would be on the next flight.

Wrong.

We worked our way to the Service Counter and after a lot of shoving and pushing among a zillion others whose bags did not show, we were told to check back later in the day.

(Note:  Spaniards apparently do not believe in forming lines.  Their system is made up of disorder, chaos and who ever can push, squeeze, or shove their way to the counter.  We were so out maneuvered as polite Americans.)

Hours after our arrival and no bags, we finally rented our car, checked into a hotel and restlessly waited.  We went back later that evening.  No bags.

Next morning, our plan had been to drive to our next destination.  But that was not going to happen.  No bags had arrived.  And with the airline unable to tell us exactly when they would ARRIVE, we were unable to tell them exactly where we would BE the day they DID arrive.

We were held hostage in Malaga. 

So for the next three days, our only destination was the airport twice a day, morning and night.  On day three, after being told again for the upteenth time, that they were unsure WHERE our luggage was, I decided to take matters into my own hands. 

All the lost luggage, delayed luggage and unclaimed luggage was kept in a very large gymnasium-type room behind some sliding doors that was “protected” by some serious gun-toting guard.  Every time the doors slid open with someone exiting, I could see hundreds and hundreds of bags.


My bags needed rescuing!

Remarkably, I was able to slip by the gun-toting security guard while he was talking to some angry travelers and I entered the Hall of Lost Luggage.   It was Spain.  It was 2005.  Amazingly, security was very slack in Spain at that time. 

After wandering through zillions of bags, I was finally able to locate mine.  Color me excited!  I actually let out a scream that caught the attention of a clipboard toting attendant.  I quickly grabbed my bags and skedaddled through the sliding doors.

The Professor, who had been waiting curbside for me, thought for sure I had been arrested.

We headed out of town fast.

So checking bags is not for the faint of heart.  I have no clue how the millions of bags that travel to their destinations daily ever arrive.  But I admire the airlines for their diligence and care of all those bags.

Only not with mine.

And that brings me back to the other day.  One of our carry-ons was a printer.  It was a working trip for The Professor who, according to him, needed a printer.

Don't ask.

Oh, and by the way, if you ever have to travel with a printer, make sure you remove the ink cartridge or else you will spend some quality time with the TSA folks.

Thanks for stopping by,
missing the mom gene

2 comments:

Michael Offutt said...

I have a friend that's a Professor of Spanish literature at the University of Utah. I've learned so much from him about how cool Spain is that I want to go there now. Traveling definitely has its challenges (as you've shown here). I'm glad that I canceled my trip to Egypt that I had scheduled for this January because of the revolution that's been going on over there.

missing the mom gene said...

Michael, yes, Spain is beautiful especially the southern coastline and the Costa Brava area in the upper northeast side. Egypt has always been on my bucket list ... probably is going to have to wait awhile until things settle down. Thanks for stopping by and am enjoying your posts as well!