travel, ups and downs

Returning

A large group of us, across the four concurrent Globus tours, are packed into the bus; the largest group of us are on the same flight, back to Toronto.

Someone is wearing so much perfume that it’s as if they broke a bottle of it this morning. We literally cannot breathe on the bus. Ugh.

People, if you’re on a tour, don’t wear perfume. Don’t even pack the perfume. And if you do: less is more.

It’s not my favorite part of a trip, navigating the airport, security, lines and gates. I stress about being in boarding group 5, with a bag that has to get on with me (they actually never call group 5: after four it’s just ‘everybody else’). But there is an empty bin right over my seat in row 13, waiting just for me. Thank you!!

Considering the amenities on the Air Canada flight for the shorter flight to Heathrow on the way out, I expect this longer (11hour) flight to be reasonably comfortable, and to have a decent in-flight entertainment system. Nope. None. I’m in the middle seat of the middle section. I try not to sleep – I’ll be landing, if on time, at 10:45 pm which will feel like morning in Athens, and I want to force the adjustment on arrival – though early on I do get a 15 minute catnap.

Interminable lengths later, I’m the first of our tour off the plane and to security, but my bag gets pulled to be searched (not even the magic jacket, so that’s funny) — as one woman watching put it, I had some very threatening-looking Clinique lipstick in my bag — so I get through just in time to find Deana and Troy coming through. I scan the crowd but don’t see Connie and Marge yet.

We press on.

I sail through security but wait for them to get cleared.

I sail through passport clearance but wait for them to get through the line.

Then we hug goodbye as their gate and mine are opposite directions.

###

Two gate changes later I am at the gate catty-corner to theirs. They are delayed 40 minutes. They tell me which gate Connie was at so I pop back hoping to say goodbye properly, but they’re boarded already. Safe flights, friends.

Eventually they board. Eventually my flight arrives. Eventually we board. Eventually the plane is deiced and we are on our way.

I try to stay awake but find my blinks keep getting longer.

My arrival an hour later than planned hasn’t offput my driver who is there for me in minutes even though for some reason he hasn’t been informed which flight I’m on.

I’m home just into the new day, and despite intentions to fall directly to bed, spend 2 hours getting settled and clean and human again.

Then pjs and bed and sleep.

Merciful, beautiful sleep!

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