18 August 2005

mitt första inlägg i sverige

(translation - "my first post in sweden")

Finally,... I'm actually in Sweden now. The trip actually took forever for me!... I arrived Pearson Airport at noon on tuesday and then got out of the Arlanda (Stockholm airport) at about 6.15pm swedish time on wednesday which is 12.15pm in Eastern time zone, so the whole orderal actually took me more than 24 hours!

In short, it was a very interesting trip... but I would be depriving you all, my loyal blog fans, of some more eventful experiences so I'm gonna enlighten you all.

A short summary - I had 2 layovers, Toronto to NYC JFK airport, then NYC to London, then London to Stockholm.

As I said, I arrived at Pearson Airport at noon.. the flight didn't leave until 2.30pm but my ticket said to be there 3 hours before... stupid airport regulatios like i said before. Anyway, after checking in, I had lunch with dad and andrew, had our tearful goodbye... as I went to get into the gate I realized I forgot my schoolbag which had all of my travel documents, health insurance, passport, wallet etc... in the middle of the airport... I hoped that nobody took it because if someone had, I wouldnt be here typing this in Sweden now. Thankful, nobody noticed an overstuffed bagpack sitting on the floor in the middle of a food court seating area. Anyway, my 2.30 flight to NYC, the plane was so small, I had to bend my neck down while finding my seat. The flight was bumpy... couldn't get any sleep... only 1.5 hours flight or something then I got out in JFK. Oh yeah, remember my overweight bag? I had a bag at 36kg, and when it was weighted at Pearson (they had a small weight scale and my bag was an oversized hockey bag so the half of the bag was hanging out of the scale) and the official weight for them was 26.5 kg or something like that.. I was surprised to see they could be that stupid :)

JFK... *sigh*... is a perfect image of what America is all about... the entire airport design is in chaos... I landed in Terminal 9 and needed to get to Terminal 8... but there was no signs or anything to direct where I should walk to... then once I found out where to go from an attendant... I went to terminal 9, had to go outside then back inside... outside was so dirty, there was people who looked as if they have been living in the airport for days, lying on the floor all raggedly-looking eating food that looked as if it came out of the trash. I'm probably exaggerating but, it was so dirty and the stench of Terminal 9 just described America perfectly,... all I could smell was Fries, Pizza, Burgers... anything that could be cooked with frying oil, I smelled it. The ads on the wall, the signs, the wall itself, was so dirty. Anyway, I think you get the idea by now... I went to the gate where my flight to London was. I decided to ask someone at the desk to see if they could upgrade me to business/first class cuz I cant hear the movies in the coach class... There was a gentleman, in his 50s or something... he was struggling with something on the computer behind the desk... I wasnt even sure if he could help me but I wrote "I called American Airlines few days ago to inquire whether there would be closed captioning or subtitles on the onflight movies and they said no, they also suggested me to ask someone at JFK to see if I could be upgraded to first class in exchange for me not understanding the enterainment on the flight"... the dude was like, no problem!... then he ordered a woman beside her to let me have that man's seat. I was like whoa?... who was that dude anyway? the woman (Flight attendant) seemed to not want to have me upgraded for some reason but that Man i was talking to was very intent on giving me his seat. Then, I simply thanked him and then as he left the desk, he put on his coat on and a hat.. ahh.. it was a captain's hat... the pilot of the flight I was taking just gave me his seat hehe...

Yup, I sat in the business class, my best flight ever... I actually had a choice of 5 different menus for dinner that was created from 8 of the best chefs in America (thats what it said on the back of the menu book) The blanket was thicker, had this fancy flight mask, had my own personal television that folded out from the seat...the seats reclined back further than I could ever imagine, and no matter how much I tried to stretch my legs out, I couldnt touch the other seat in front of me, thats how much space I had :D But sadly, I couldn't sleep at all... not even a single wink... I don't know if it was the shock from being in the business class or the same old problem of being not able to sleep in any moving vehicles.

As I got in London, the line for checking the passport was sooooo long... must have been at least 1,000 people in front of me. After finally showing my passport, I went to pick up my bag, and to my chagrin, my bag straps had been ripped off, the zipper was busted open... I knew my bag was too heavy but if handled properly it wouldnt have been damaged. I was too tired to complain so I decided to just take the bag and go to the next terminal in London which was like 20 minutes walk away. By that time, it was like 7.30am, I decided to ask someone at the British Airways to see if I could take an earlier flight to Stockholm otherwise I would be stuck in the Terminal for 7 hours before leaving... I didnt want to feel like Tom Hanks in "the terminal". Unfortunately, they couldn't do it for me... so I decided to kill some time by fixing my bag... I asked the information desk to see where I could wrap up or tape up my bag since it was damaged. The lady at the information desk urged me to go back to the AmericanAirlines and tell them to either fix it or give me a new bag. I didnt think it was possible because my bag... my dad must have bought it like 15 years ago for his snowmobile equipment.. it was so old, and it was so cheap, my dad must ahve gotten it for like 20 dollars or something,... its worthless today... but realizing that I had like 6 hours to kill,.. I decided to take the 20 minute walk back to the other terminal that I came from, asked someone at AA to see my bag. One nice guy was very sympathetic about my damaged bag, he kept saying"I'm very sorry" as if he was the one who damaged it... however his supervisior wouldn't have it after lifting my bag he said "It's too heavy!"... so the sympathetic guy took the bag to verify the weight... we had to go through some mazes or whatever and entered a small room with a weight scale that was even SMALLER than the one in the Pearson Airport... and as usual, my bag was hanging out on the both ends touching the floor... and I don't know if that guy was being on my side or that stupid... the weight was 28.6 kilograms... I was like "thank god" cuz if the bag was over 32kg, AA would not be liable for the damage. So, AA decided to cover the cost for a new bag, I told them it was a new bag, and bought it like 55 dollars... I didnt want to go higher, the guys there knew it couldnt cost too much... So, thanks to the nice lady in the information desk, I'm getting a new bag :) have to buy one here in stockholm and send in the receipt and they will wire money into my bank account or something. Then I walked all the way back to The terminal where I just came from... another 20 minutes walk... I know 20 minutes walk is nothing, but after travelling halfway around the world, being sleep deprived, carrying 2 bags and having more than 40kg worth of bags in the stroller with wheels that I kept banging my toes in... (was wearing sandals so it hurted!) heh... it was soooo tiring to walk that simple 20 minutes worth.

Then finally, time for me to check in my bags in British Airways about noon... they must have much more modern weighing technology because when I put on my bag in the weight scale it was still drooping out but it immediately registered 37kg and immediately the dude behind the desk said it was too heavy! for the health and safety of the BA staff, they wont take my bag... I thought I was done there... but I asked... I had another bag in that ridiculously oversized bag, and if I could redistribute the weight into two bags evenly and if they could take 2 bags without charging me anything... the guy behind the desk said "no problem"... then I found out why they didnt charge me even though the flight limits the passengers to only 1 checked bag.. it was because their food services staff was on strike... they didnt offer any food on the flight and they are trying their best to please their passengers as much they could so... yeah they defintely made me happy :)

So, I repacked in front everybody in Heathrow, terminal 3... then checked in 2 bags..., BA also gave me 5 £ worth of food voucher cuz there was no food on the flight... I had fries and pop at Burger King (there will be a little story about that in my next blog).... by then, I had been awake for more than 24 hours... I was so tired, my body finally gave in, I fell asleep on this hard wooden bench in front of the television where they tell u which gate to go to for your flight.

I was dreaming of something about the Burger King then I realized I was still in London and suddenly woke up, for a second there, I felt like I had slept for hours and missed my flight.. but nah, I woke up with 20 minutes to spare heh... I walked to my flight half dazed... then just found my seat and put on my sleeping mask, and tried to sleep as much as I could... must have slept just an hour or so on that flight...

Finally, Stockholm!!... home sweet home (for now).... I found my damaged bag on the baggage claim conveyor belt... I had half a mind to complain to the BA staff for damaging my bag.. but... was too tired hehe... I just wanted to get out of the Airport environment... I saw a young girl with "Jönköping International Business School" lettering on her bag... and other girl with Australia Passport and student visa with same school on it... oh well anyway, I got out of the gate... saw Elisabet in her nice red Lacoste (alligator logo) shirt that I had gotten her for her last birthday. We went home, Elisabet's sister Maria, and her boyfriend, Mattias along with Mormor and morfar (grandparents) and her parents were there... there was a little birthday dinner for me... everything that happened that night felt like a long dream... then I finally went to bed at 11pm sweden time, approximately 35 hours later after waking up on tuesday morning.

Yeah, this is a long blog, then again my flight was actually longer!! :) unless theres strange people who needs more than 24 hours to read this blog :p

alright, I'll write more later.. I promise, nothing as long as this one heh :)

have fun,


xFf said...

Damn! 1st Class!! All the way from Rochester to Sydney and Back to London, They refused to upgrdae me to 1st class. I think I could have got 1st class when me and Lore were flying from London To JFK on Virgin Airline. I was pretty comfortable, didn't bother to ask. I believe if I asked, they would have moved me to next class or 1st class.

I love travelling but the airport part is alway a pain in the ass with all the hassle.

I guess we are alike, I can't sleep at all on the plane! I didn't get a sleep after all from JFK to Sydney which was like 3 days in total, I only had one power nap when I were in London.

I sure was crouchy!

LOL U could have got 2 new bag :) from AA and BA

Keep up with posting, I think i'm one of those Loyal Blogger!

oneninefive said...

Sure nice to read your detailed post about your trip to Sweden, you were lucky with the first class and new bag. British Airlines did not upgrade us for no subtitles on the movies from London to JFK (JFK to London had subtitles with foreign movies so we couldn't complain, but wonder why they won't do that for the trip back to JFK).

Look forwards seeing more details about your burger king and 5£ voucher because FrecklesFly and I got 10£ voucher plus two free sandwiches from BA to make up for the food service being on strike when we returned to JFK.