Sorry I have been so slow for updating. Internet access has been spotty, and when it is plentiful, my time and motivation are the culprits.
I attended my first Italian Halloween party tonight. A handful of adults, no one dressed in costume, an army of bambini (children) raising hell in the next room, and a feast that could have made the table break down. There is neither time nor words to describe the pleasures of real home-cooked Italian food. Damn.
I ate like Jaba-the-hut, thinking that it was my last feast in Italia, and that I would be eating nothing but Falafel for a month to come. I was wrong, however, and ended up riding with Giulia to her Aunt’s house in the mountains to eat a lunch that was larger than any formal dinner I have attended. So once again, I find myself gorged on pasta, meats, salad, bread, funghi (mushrooms) and always followed by super strong, black as night, expresso coffee….which is very welcome to help fight off the sleep monster that comes after eating such a meal.
I returned back to the flat around 15:00, packed, and after lots and lots of “ciaos” and kisses, I was on my way by car to Milano Malpensa, 2 hrs away, where an airplane would take me and my backpack (in theory) to London.
I met a very nice American guy on the flight that was living and studying in the south, and so he helped me even more with my Italian. I arrived in London, Gatwick around 23:30 and the only place left to eat (not that I needed to after lunch) was a McDonalds…I figured that it would be OK to subject myself one last time to American fast food before going off to Arab land for the next month or so. With my meal came a scratch-off game, and I won a sausage-biscuit thing for breakfast, which means I would be eating there again to save money. (damn).
I walked around for a bit, like a cat turning in circles looking for the perfect place to crash, then retired to a soft chair in the corner of the arcade. It was perfect, I had a corner to myself, easily defended, a chair for my feet, but I was directly behind a blaring arcade game called “House of the dead” and for the next few hours I listened to zombies screech as someone with a shotgun fought for their lives. Around 02:00am when no one was looking, I pulled the power plug on the blasted machine, and slept peacefully for the next 5 hours. (as much as you can in the Hotel Gatwick anyway).
I was up early, and was first in the queue at ThompsonFly, ready to get my passage to Egypt. My hair was showing major signs of “bedhead” and I was in the same clothes from the day before – woohoo! I could tell by the worried expression of the woman behind the counter and the excessively long time that she clicked on the keyboard that there was a problem, I took a breath and prepared myself.
“Im sorry sir, we have no record of your reservations”.
VERY not good. My worst flying nightmare aside from lost luggage had been realized…a computer blip. It had taken 3.5 hours on the computer with Paola to locate this flight, and there was not another one to Egypt for 1 week. I had to make a snap decision right there if I would jump across the counter and start a hostage situation, or if I would work it out. After waiting patiently for over an hour, and watching the queue for my flight grow from only myself to hundreds of people, I was starting to sweat. Through red, sleep deprived eyes I could see loads of happy European tourists receive their boarding pass with a smile, knowing that they were bound for Sharm on holiday. Finally, the woman behind the counter said that they located the problem, and that a gray haired woman named “Trixie” was the only one that could write me a hand ticket to board the plane. I was sent out to search for her around the ticket counters. My God. Here I was, my flight was probably being fueled, and I was searching for a woman only described as having gray hair and a clipboard. The name “Tricksy” did not do much for my nerves.
I found her.
…and she was expecting me! “So you are the one!” she told me, that one lucky reservation had come across the system as name “xxxxxxxx”. I did not care if I was flying as Mr. “X” I wanted on that damn plane. She wrote me a hand ticket, and off I ran to security. The queue for security was 30 minutes long, and my flight was boarding as I ran by 21 gates to number 22, where I handed my pass to the attendants and gave an out of breath explanation. My first and last time flying ThompsonFly. (unless they are up for a blog endorsement…..? (ahem).
My 4.5 hour flight was smooth and friendly, and next thing that I knew, I was being rushed into the passport control line at Sharm El Sheikh International Airport. Yikes.