Monday, July 29, 2013

Travellers tales

Now I don't know if I told you this before, but the hubby is an incurable traveller. And ofcourse he loves for us to partake in his misery journey. So every few years or so, we up sticks and make like the proverbial arab and dissapear silently into the night, tent and all.
This time, when we threw darts bildfolded at the map (that's the ONLY way to decide our next move, don't you know?), it landed on Bucharest. so that's where we're headed.
Moving with kids comes with its own set of complications, though. There's term times and holidays to consider which narrows the window for the move drastically. There's also the new school address to consider - if the school's in the remotest corner of the city, then, sadly, that's where our new house will be, because beating traffic (driving on the wrong side of the road) every morning while getting two groggy-eye children into the back of the car is not how I want to spend my mornings.
But this post is not about the wonders of an expat lifestyle. Oh no. That'll need a whole blog and a new therapist.
This post is about my luck (or lack thereof) when it comes to travelling. It's ironic for someone who travels so much to have such rubbish luck with travel. Especially with air travel. The Gods of Air Travel must have a special bone to pick with me.
It all started ordinarily enough yesterday at Heathrow. Self, Hubby, two kids, the Mum-in-law, car seat and about 10 pieces of assorted luggage had safely made their way into the airport with just a minor wobble when our taxi wallah threatened to take us to the wrong terminal. Hubby, champion backseat driver, jumped to the rescue and we safely made it back to our original destination.
Okay, like I said, minor wobbles. Much like the suspicious counter staff at the airport counter who didn't know the rules about entry into Bucharest if you didn't have a Europeans passport. All that required as a quick call to the Romanian embassy to clarify what had been put on their website. After all, who can blame the guys on the counter? he'd heard of people coming in from Romania to the UK. But this whole bucking the trend thing had addled his brains.
Right. check in now done, I'd begun to relax a little bit now, and got on the phone to say our final goodbyes. The Mum-in-Law in the meanwhile decided to head off to the toilets, and the Holy Terror, following in her brother's footsteps and continuing the fascination with public toilets, follows her gran.
Half an hour later, no sign of Holy Terror or MIL. hmm. I have now been promptly sent off on an errand to check toilets for missing MIL & HT. Picture this scene: Toilets in the busiest airport in the world on one of the busiest days of the year. A steady stream of tourists, all being greeted with the sight of me wailing 'Ammmmaaaaaaaaaaaaa????' while knocking on each cubicle and checking under doors. Five minutes of this and I knew I was in serious danger of being arrested before I left the shores of the blighty.
Naturally by this time the airline had announced that they we closing the boarding of our flight. Baa-lamb's decided enough of this tomfoolery and takes charge.
"Right. You head off to the departure gates and stall them with Pickwick while I find Airport Security" he says as he jogs offs.
"But how am I..." I begin to ask, but I am only talking to thin air. The baa-lamb has marched off with a determined air about him.
Okay. So stop flight. Right. Lets take this step by step. We need to get to the gates first. All hare-brained schemes to stop the flight can be formed en route or, once we arrive. Who knows, maybe inspiration will strike upon seeing one of the bored ladies at the gate.
I arrive breathless at the gate - still inspirationless and decide to throw myself at the mercy of the attendant and the gates- who seems to be carved from ice. Like she's heard it all before (really? you've heard of people losing their mothers and their children? At the same time?). As I launch into a long-winded explanation, the Holy Terror tugs at my trousers. "Not now, honey, Mummy's talking to this nice lady here." I say on autopilot.
"Like I was saying Ma'am, my daughter here- my daughter? HERE?!!" I ended with a screech. Having rendered half the passengers on the flight deaf, I proceeded to squeeze the life out of my daughter  and dishevel my normally super neat MIL.
"But... You... How? Where?" Credit goes to the MIL for making sense of my incoherent ramblings and she explained that having lost her way on her way back from the toilet, she sensibly decided to wait at the exit gate knowing at eventually we would have to land up there. She'd then borrowed a phone and called the baa-lamb, and he did try and get in touch with me, but I was so busy concocting plans to stop the flight that I'd ignored his calls.
By the time the baa-lamb arrived it was a proper reunion worthy of a bollywood blockbuster.
I am happy to report that we are now in Bucharest without and further untoward incidents.