From today on, nobody shall ask me for travel advice anymore. Never. I have disqualified myself.
I missed my flight to Morocco.
It happened like this: I always plan in such a way that I get to the airport one hour before departure. The overachievers who show up two or three hours before only have to sit around, eat overpriced and undersized salads and have to stand in the cold when they want to smoke. According to my Google-Calendar-synchronized tablet computer my departure is at 14:55. So I pack my bag at 13:20 and print out the boarding pass. Oh shoot! It suddenly indicates 13:55 as the time of departure. This bloody computer apparently thinks that it lives in a different time zone.
35 minutes is all I have until take-off.
So I hurry down into the street, find a taxi immediately (Targu Mures, this small town in Romania, has about the same number of taxis as New York City) and ask for a ride to the aerodrome. The driver’s name is Janos and on his taxi-driver ID he has a huge mustache like a leftist revolutionary. His driving is not revolutionary at all. He stops for young women with buggies, for old ladies with shopping bags, for school children who are striving towards lunch in masses at this hour, and he drives onto the right shoulder to make way for an ambulance coming towards us. Very nice guy! I don’t say anything because my messed-up planning is none of his fault, and also because I don’t speak any Romanian or Hungarian.
At 13:50 we arrive at Targu Mures Airport which is of course dozens of miles outside of Targu Mures. It is a small airport, one of those calling itself “international” because of a few flights to other countries, but where you can’t even get a newspaper in English. The purple Wizzair plane is easy to spot on the tarmac. It is the only plane. The doors are closed already. Not a good sign. I run into the hall, which is conveniently as small and assessable as the airport itself. There is nobody at the Wizzair counter, or any other counter for that matter. The men who frisk you and who push you through the x-ray frame are sympathetic, but can’t do anything because my large backpack needs to be dropped off as luggage. Too late for that. Once, in Eilat, a plane waited for me as the last passenger for a long time because I was entangled in a very strict and strip-searching security check. But that’s a different story.
With my thirst for action frustrated and my backpack still heavy, I went back home. No wonder that I look a bit depressed upon returning to my cozy apartment.
- I won’t make fun anymore of people who go to the airport more than one hour before their departure or who check their departure time over and over again. I may still find you square, but you are not entirely in the wrong.
- Preferential means of transport however are trains and ships. There you can show up at the last minute.
- Trying to look for something positive to come out of this mess, I have two more weeks to write now. There are enough stories to tell from my last trips.
- Two additional weeks in Romania aren’t bad either.
- And I also have more time to prepare my trip to Israel in March. But this time I will go to the airport the day before the departure.
- I wish things like this would only happen on return flights. Then you get an extended holiday. I once missed a return flight from New York because I hung out with a girl at the Museum of Modern Art and didn’t want to leave. The other flights to Germany were all fully booked, so I took one for Paris instead (without the girl). This was the first and thus far only time that I went to Paris, purely out of coincidence. But I digress again.
- When I planned my holiday for Morocco, I took such a liking to the country, that – instead of a short holiday – I will rather move there for a few months. By ferry from Spain, just in case.
But now I need a drink and a cigar.