Greetings from Salzurg, Austria. I am sitting in the breakfast lounge at Pension Elizabeth, where Abba is playing on a loop, the Internet is super slow, and the hotel staff are having some kind of meeting with a salesperson at the next table.
I’ll leave for the airport in a few hours to fly to Ethiopia, where I’m told I’ll have no Internet. I would love to say I’m going to write enough posts to take you along with me, but that’s a fairy dream. Complications are following me, and I can’t say I’ve really had one day off since I left 11 days ago.
I’ve got 200 emails in my work inbox. The June 1 payment from my renters back home hasn’t shown up in my checking account. I am getting texts and phone calls from someone who needs to know something about the sale of my condo and I have no idea who they’re from or what they’re about.
The most “exciting” complication happened when I flew from Copenhagen to Amsterdam. I received a reminder from Expedia the night before to check in. Norwegian Air’s website didn’t recognize the routing number but I got a message that said, “Don’t Worry! We’re still working on our website.” Really? Did Norway just get the Internet?
The train to the airport the next day left late and stopped twice to let other trains go by in the other direction. In general, I think this is good, but not when it keeps you standing still for 20 minutes at a time. Finally, we were told to get off and take another train. I had, as they always advise you, allowed plenty of time to get to the airport early but got there about an hour before my flight was to leave.
And Norwegian Air had no record of the flight.
It’s a long story, but I ran from one terminal to another, then back again, then back in the other direction, and was quoted up to $800 for a new ticket. I did all this with my big bag full of books, since I hadn’t been able to check it.
In the end, I was lucky to get the last seat on a Scandinavian Airlines flight for $406. Expedia says their records show I took the Norwegian flight. They are telling me to call Norwegian Air id I still think there is a problem. Call?—as in make an international call that will cost me $1 a minute to sit on hold? I protested, but Expedia hasn’t responded. If anyone has advice to doing battle with Expedia, please let me know.
Four hundred bucks is a lot of money to lose, but also in the mad rushing around in the airport, I must have dropped my bag on my foot. Once I arrived in the Netherlands and took my socks off at my friend’s house, I saw an alarming gold-ball sized green swelling on the top of my left foot. I immediately thought of the American journalist Miles O’Brien, who had a freak accident where something fell on his arm. The incident seemed mild, but it caused something called Acute Compartment Syndrome. He had to have his arm amputated. Boy, is he good looking—you really should check out that article.
My foot swelling went down that night, but my whole foot has been black and blue for a week. I showed it to my friend and we went down a check list: it’s not numb. I can bend my toes. It’s tender to the touch but not painful to walk. The swelling is gone.
Good to go to Ethiopia, right!?
Other than the potentially fatal foot injury, $406 loss, and the nonstop rain that follows me everywhere, I’ve had a great time so far.
Okay, I’m off to bring the rain to Ethiopia.
I’ll write more when I get to Cornwall, England in a week or so.