Lands of chocolates

The scene: my bedroom, this fine morning-turning-afternoon. I awoke, glanced at the clock and sat up like I had been electrically shocked. 12:15 pm, oh no. What happened to the alarm? I am late, I missed my normal noon work commitment–am I in danger of being fired? Will I be able to make it up? I rushed into the living room, double checked the time, yep, still after noon, still in serious trouble, $%&(^!, checked my email quickly, and continued to panic. Started to berate myself for the late-ish time I had gone to bed last night without really thinking about it, but conscious that my bedtime had been reasonably late all week long. Adrenaline started to rush as I worried about the consequences for my job. Rushed into the bathroom, put the plug in the tub and started to run the taps. Had a moment of clarity: it’s Saturday! Job is secure, sleeping in was intentional, whew. It took a few minutes for this to sink in and for my blood pressure to return to normal. I actually tried to lay back down on the bed, now that sleeping in was allowed if not encouraged, but my body was not calm enough to recover from the earlier panic. Why on earth was I so discombobulated? Well, I had been trapped in Geneva yesterday thanks to Britain’s inability to handle the snow, and had only arrived home at 1 am last night. I had slept like a log and forgot completely about where I had been, and because I had been travelling I had lost all concept of what day of the week it was.

I am aware that sometimes I travel too much. Last weekend, I was in Brussels where they proudly advertise their fine Belgian chocolates. Yesterday I was in Switzerland, where they proudly advertise their fine Swiss chocolates. I had never been to either place before, so it really was quite a week in the travel adventure stakes. (Note that my passport is now stamped on every single page and about to take a trip to London to have pages added…) In the grand scheme of things, this week could have been much worse. I got back from Brussels okay on Sunday evening, managed to make my work commitments Monday before the whole town shut down on account of the snow. I was in town three full days Mon.-Wed., including successfully sending my sister off on Wed. Thursday I worked three quarters of a day before being picked up by the car service I’ve been using to travel to Switzerland. The meetings Friday were good, and it was only the return trip that was a bit fraught.

As I think about it, this has been a recurring theme and one that I will gladly take–I can even hope to maintain the trend. My trips to places seem to work out perfectly and on time, while my return trips from places seem to be the ones affected by bad weather, general travel delays and other nonsense. If there are going to be a statistically-mandated number of trips affected by travel delays, I’d much rather have it this way than the other way. For example, for Switzerland, I had to fly into Geneva and catch a train for an hour to Neuchatel. Had my arrival into Geneva been delayed as much as my departure was (2.5 hours in the end) I might have missed the last train of the evening and not known quite what to do. I was early back to Geneva airport last night, which meant I ended up spending a full six hours there due to the delays, but better that, on the final bit of the return trip. I even had the mobile number of the driver who was picking me up at Stansted, so I was able to text ahead with updates on our progress.

All that happy feeling aside, I really do get pissed off at the airlines. Why don’t they just tell us what’s going on? There were two full flights worth of London-bound travellers, one set to Stansted and one to Luton, trying to work out if we were going to be able to get home. The rumors were flying. Those of us with smart phone capabilities were all online trying to work out whether the planes were flying. Our plane did not even leave Stansted until after we should have boarded it in Geneva for the return trip. The airlines knew this and could have given us some information. The monitors in the airport did not post an estimated late departure time until 45 minutes before we actually left, surely they could have guessed at it earlier than that!

In the end, I’m home and hugely relieved to find myself in my own flat on a Saturday. And let’s face it, I’m hugely relieved to realize that it is Saturday and that I did not sleep through a critical work event that could have put my job on the line! I’m drinking black coffee because I am out of milk and need to get to the store, but if that’s the greatest of my immediate worries, I’ll take it. This week sees a bit more chaos and nonsense, in that I have to do yet another over-one-night trip although this time I don’t have to leave the country and I get to see more of my adopted homeland–it’s Manchester I’m heading to on Thursday. And then hopefully no more trips for a month or so. I’m about travelled out right now. Although I’m super excited to do my Swiss versus Belgian chocolate taste test later today, having brought home slabs of dark chocolate from both locations!

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4 responses to “Lands of chocolates

  1. I still have those stupid dreams and I haven’t had a “corporate” job for years.

  2. Oh, I think you’re going to be disappointed. Both Belgium and Switzerland are famous for MILK chocolate. Switzerland in particular. Belgium is, perhaps, famous for both milk and dark (although I think it leans towards the milk), but mostly for TRUFFLES!

    So you might just have to go back again…

  3. I’ve had Saturday mornings like that too – usually because I’m stressed about work though rather than being exhausted from travelling.

    So they let you add extra pages to a US passport, eh? I’m pretty sure they don’t with a UK passport anymore – you have to get a new passport once it’s full! Sadly, I don’t have to worry about that right now as we have no travel planned for the foreseeable future . . . though I might try to persuade DH that we should go to Canada for a few days this summer.

  4. Yep–I have a form to fill out and I need to send the passport to London’s embassy allowing a week for the extra pages, but then they’ll send it back with more room. My sister has travelled and lived in Asia so much, where full-page photo visas are needed, that she did it years ago and now I need to do it too since each trip to the continent adds three stamps–entering country, leaving country, entering the UK!

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