21 December 2005

A Horrible Twenty-Four Hours

I had to go to Urmond, Holland Tuesday morning by train. I am one of only ten people in America without rolling luggage, so I hauled my huge folding bag, laptop, and a shoulder bag through the Amsterdam train station when my adventures began:
  • I have an extremely travel window to be able to get back in time for my flight to Paris. Why? Because I thought my meeting was in Amsterdam, not Urmond (a two-hour train ride away).
  • I arrived at the meeting an hour early to try and conduct it early. Only one person was available, so it looked unlikely I could make my train (trains left every thirty minutes)
  • Meeting went well, but it took fifteen minutes for a taxi to make it to pick me up. I got to the train station, only to watch the train leave.
  • I called American Express to change flights--a horrible experience, with phone trees and extremely slow service, all the time costing me a fortune to call from Europe
  • I fall asleep on the train, wake up with the speaker saying Amsterdam over and over, ask a guy if this is Amsterdam. He says yes, I get off, then quickly realize it is not Amsterdam (which is thirty minutes away).
  • I figure out how to get the next train, get to Amsterdam fifteen minutes later than planned. I had called the taxi driver to pick me up. I haul my 100-pound bag a mile or so through the train station, search for the taxi driver, finally find him.
  • It's rush hour, so it takes a while to get to the airport. My flight is scheduled to leave in five minutes.
  • I find a place to check-in, they tell me to go to a ticket agent to change my flight. I look and see the flight is delayed, check-in, and all is right with the world.
  • I get off in Paris, wait for my 100-pound bag, and it doesn't arrive! I'm now stuck with no luggage.
  • I go through everything, tell them I'm there for just a day, give them all the info etc.
  • I take a taxi to my hotel, only the taxi driver can't find the hotel, driving around and around La Defense until finally finding my Marriott.
  • I sleep naked to save my underwear a little wear and tear. It's not a pretty sight.
  • Shower won't work, so I'm taking a bath and using the toiletry kit from Air France.
  • Meeting goes OK, then I finally make it to the St. Michel Metro stop, where I get my one Parisian meal: gyro et frites (a gyro with hot sauce instead of cucumber sauce, no tomatoes, with fries). This is my one Atkins-buster, but it is my favorite thing to eat in Paris. It's obviously Greek, but I always go down the same street and get this. It is one of the things that is Paris for me, and I can't do any of the others because I have to find my bag.
  • Make it to the airport after some more adventures. Try to get the check-in lady to help find the bag, but she's no help so I go down to baggage claim. Someone at Air France convinces me that I need to re-enter the closed doors of baggage claim when someone comes out (which doesn't sound like the most secure idea), but I do as I'm told. They finally bring my bag.
  • I depart, flying Paris to Amsterdam, then on to Cologne.
I think Cologne is going to be nice. They knew my name when I went to check in, which was pretty cool. Upgraded room, with a big shower plus a bathtub. My meeting is in Leverkusen tomorrow, then I may have some time to kill in Cologne. I may play poker again in London tomorrow evening, it just depends on how it all goes.


Blogger Pinky said...

Unfortunately I'm doing dinner with the in-laws tonight otherwise I'd have been up for some poker.

Godd luck if you make it out. I think the Gutshot has a £30 rebuy tonight, if I remember correctly.

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