Saturday, January 22, 2011

7 Hour Flight Delays, So Much Fun.

Back to back posts. Unheard of!
Here I am in the Hanoi International Airport aka Hell aka THE Most Confusing Place on the Face of the Planet. Woke up at 6 am so I could make it to the airport 3 hours early (I  was not going to let another Sapa-Train incident happen). What do I find when I arrive? "Hello good sir, could you tell me where Aeroflot Airlines checks-in?" "No." "No?" "No Aeroflot yet."
"What does that mean." "You wait." "For what?" "For Open." "What? Where?" "There." "Here?" "No, there" (points in direction of 30 possible desks).
Okay. No problem. Deep breaths.
2 hours 30 minutes later, 18 kg backpack on my back, carrying smaller back pack, no coffee, no breakfast, shoulders aching, ready to check-in. Approaching counter after waiting through the most chaotic non-sensical line I've ever seen. Hand over my passport and my flight itinerary.
"You have return flight?" "Return to where?" "United States" "No, I'm not returning from the U.S. until I make it to Africa. I'm not leaving Croatia to go to America." -Blank stare from woman at counter and then-"you need to get ticket for return, now." "Okay, whatever, can I buy it right here?" "No you go to ticketing office." "And where is that" "Up over there" "Over WHERE?" Points up to second floor. Alright to the second floor it is then.
Yes I did leave out that little part where I lost my temper for a second and slammed my hand down on the counter demanding she let me buy a ticket right there. Since that is apparently IMPOSSIBLE, I obliged and went to the second floor 30 minutes later I found the ticketing office just as 5 very angry French people and 1 very angry German were coming to make sure they had transfers to their final destinations since our flight was delayed by 7 hours.
And that's when it hit me.
Hysteria. Well no not hysteria exactly. Watching the French and the German I guess I just realized that none of this was really as big of a problem as I was making it. Everything was going to work out. Even if that meant me getting another flight to wherever else in the world. As long as I left Vietnam today(Visa expires)  everything was going to be just peachy. And really what does getting angry do ultimately? Makes people afraid of you, as I saw in the eyes of the woman at the counter after I slammed my hand down (it made a pretty loud noise).

So I laughed out loud.

I was sitting across from one of the French group, a pregnant woman, and I just shrugged and kept laughing. And then she started laughing. And there we were, two angry, tired travelers just completely giving in.
It felt good. I joked with the Russians and in the end I didn't need a return flight. This large, hulking Russian man with a booming voice came to the counter with me and made sure I got my boarding pass. I kind of wish I had one of those all the time. That way I wouldn't ever have to get angry, I'd just call over my big body guard and say, "intimidate" and then all my problems would disappear.

But really, it's situations like this that force me to accept the fact that sometimes it's just out of my control. So when life hands you lemons, make lemon meringue (why make lemonade when you can have pie?). 

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