Well, as I have already alluded to, I am home. But it was not without a mammoth struggle. I will break it down if I can manage to type it without having a nervous breakdown!
I managed to have a nice last day, meeting Jamie and Pong for lunch, doing some last minute shopping and then going back to the hotel to cram everything into my bags. Then I checked out, got a taxi to the airport and that is where the woe began.
I went to check in and of course I was over the allowed baggage limit – WAYYYY over. I tried bursting into tears, making up a sob story about my sister in hospital (always pick a family member who doesn’t exist to avoid fate intervening), to no avail. They let me have an extra 5 kilos, which left with approximately 20 to find a way to get home. As I didn’t have the £400 that Emirates wanted to take it, they directed me to a cargo service round the corner from their desk who could do it for a little less than half that price.
So, off I went to plead with them to take my bags, which they agreed to at a price. So I went to the cash machine and smile, in their infinite wisdom, had blocked my card. Just when I needed it most! I knew there was more than enough funds there to cover it, but they wouldn’t let me take out any amount of cash, large or small. I was starting to panic a little, as I had very little cash on me, as I had thought I would just go to the ATM when I got to the airport. Luckily, the cargo woman said that they could keep the bags and send them once I had wired them money when I got home. Phew.
So, next – I tried to call the bank to find out what the hell was going on – but there was no phone number for them on my card. So, I spent half my cash on a phone card and called everyone I could think of – no one was in. Finally I got thru to Lee, who called me back with a number for the bank. When I finally got thru to them, they put me on hold and of course, the credit ran out. Knowing that I had to pay a fine for overstaying my visa, I was truly stuck, so I did what any other sensible person would have done and went and sat on the floor and cried for a good 5 minutes.
So, refreshed after that, I decided to chance the customs thing anyway. It was really a futile action, as of course the police man just laughed and sent me back. So I went to the airline desk and wept at the guy I had already wept at, thinking he would take pity on me and let me use his phone to call the bank. But no, he went one better and paid the fine out of his own pocket. How nice! The police though made me sign something to say that I had been arrested and cautioned and paid a fine, so I guess I now have a Thai criminal record! Nice! I told nice airline man that he was my hero, promised to pay him back and I got thru customs and he escorted me to the gate and by that time it was time for the plane to leave, so I got on in a sweaty mess and collapsed in relief that I was on my way.
So, right at this moment in time, I never want to travel again! The flights themselves were not as bad as expected, with the first leg being pretty quiet, so I got 3 seats all to myself so I could stretch out. I did have to spend nearly 9 hours at Dubai airport, which I spent eating some beef casserole in their free restaurant for Emirates customers, walking around trying to work out where my flight would be leaving from and then snoozing. I found a metal bench and settled in with my blanket purloined from the first flight, a pillow and some ear plugs. As I drifted off, I noted that it was pretty quiet and there were 2 South African guys next to me snoozing. When I woke up, to the Muslim call to prayer, about an hour later, I was joined by the Korean national inline hockey team on my right side and a group of Japanese men on my left side who were gawping at me as if I had been snoring really loudly or something.
I was SOOOO pleased to touch down in Glasgow and be greeted by Lee, who has lost so much weight since I’ve been gone that I barely recognised him! He is looking great and has put me to shame with only a stone being lost in my time away, although I am very pleased with that. It’s been very strange getting used to living with someone again, and also adjusting to this time zone. Little things like it still being light at 1030pm, being able to cross the road without climbing up 3 flights of stairs, the price of limes – it’s all so joyful!
On the job front, I have been applying for loads and have a few things in the pipeline. I had an assessment on Monday for the subtitling job for the company that does subtitles for the BBC, so fingers crossed that goes well. I had to “respeak” things like news reports, speeches by Tony Blair and commentary on the Helsinki marathon. I think it went ok, they should be getting back to me this week hopefully.
I am now on day 4 of luggage watch, waiting for my bags to be sent. I wired the money to them on Sunday evening and have so far heard nothing, but am not too worried as they have not collected the money yet either. I just called them and it turns out the woman has been off that is dealing with it, but is back tomorrow, so fingers crossed I’ll hear something tomorrow. I have a whole bunch of stuff in the bags that will now have to go on Ebay to pay for them to get back here! It’s 5p listing day tomorrow, so I’ll be listing like a demon tomorrow and will post a link for you to check it out!
Now I am off to await the call of the temp agencies and wait and see if baby McChesney puts in an appearance today! How exciting!