Monday, July 27, 2009

Day 15 (and 16) - Emeryville

Day 15
- (Repeat) Quotes (expanded) of the day
- In Transit
- Our Danes being themselves
- One more quote

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

Broken lines, broken strings,
Broken threads, broken springs,
Broken idols, broken heads,
People sleeping in broken beds.
Ain't no use jiving
Ain't no use joking
Everything is broken.

Broken bottles, broken plates,
Broken switches, broken gates,
Broken dishes, broken parts,
Streets are filled with broken hearts.
Broken words never meant to be spoken,
Everything is broken.

Seem like every time you stop and turn around
Something else just hit the ground
Broken cutters, broken saws,
Broken buckles, broken laws,
Broken bodies, broken bones,
Broken voices on broken phones.
Take a deep breath, feel like you're chokin',
Everything is broken.

Every time you leave and go off someplace
Things fall to pieces in my face
Broken hands on broken ploughs,
Broken treaties, broken vows,
Broken pipes, broken tools,
People bending broken rules.
Hound dog howling, bull frog croaking,
Everything is broken.

Head to the airport, the fare is a 20 kroners more than when we arrived. DB exchanges remainder of money, with the exchange fees taken out we might as well have thrown half of the kroners in the canal before we left and donated the other half to the Visa Signature Orphans of Denmark fund.

Wait in a line for 40 minutes just to check our bags, SAS tops United’s SFO record. Plane is then delayed as one of the passenger’s visa is not valid (different kind of visa? Maybe not, this is Denmark after all) and his/her baggage needs to be taken off the plane. We’re in the exit row with tons of leg room and a 20 kilo door to be thrown off the wing in case of an emergency. I take the window seat just in case.

Arrive at London for our 3 hour layover (shortened slightly due to bad visa), or so we think. It takes 45 minutes to get from Terminal 3 to Terminal 1 where the United check-in is located and we have to go through security again, another 20 minutes (slowwwwwwww). We have already checked in and got our SFO boarding passes in Copenhagen for the London-SFO flight, and thus once again have encountered the “tear up the existing boarding pass and replace it with a very fresh, new, looks a lot like the last one and functions exactly the same way” board pass. We now find out that Wagamama is in Terminal 5 and it is another 30-35 minutes each way between Terminal 1 and Terminal 5. Sartre’s No Exit is starting to seem the appropriate stand-in-line read.

Believing we don't have enough time to get to Wagamama, we eat a truly horrible meal at Giraffe, in Terminal 1, because DB remembers the truly horrible meal she ate at the pub in Terminal 1 and won’t eat there again. If this keeps up, we will start booking 14 hour layovers (as we did on way to India) to ensure we get a good meal in London, anywhere outside Terminal 1. The restaurant takes Visa, it works with one simple swipe, and we know we are getting ever closer to the land of easy credit again.

Finish up and head to the gate, get there exactly 1 hour and 5 minutes before our flight departs because Heathrow doesn’t assign gates to flights much before departure, so you are stuck out in the generic shopping district longer (oh, and provides the airport flexibility of assigning gates, sort of, within a range of gates since United can’t be anywhere but within a few gates of each other in Terminal 1).

At exactly 55 minutes before the flight is supposed to leave there is an announcement that the flight status will now be announced at 3pm (about 2 hours from now) at the earliest (and 50 minutes after departure), due to mechanical troubles. Oh, and they move us out of the gate area because Air NZ needs it.

In our new waiting spot down a few gates, we now get someone giving shouted announcements. And, of course, the delay means that we had enough time to get to Wagamama for lunch. No, that was not the announcement, that was just the thoughts running through my head!

Our new fear: we will be able to eat there for dinner (so maybe Wagamama is on after all). The shouted announcement is that they have had a computer malfunction and are reinstalling it and it should only take 20 minutes (for those of you old enough to remember this, DB and I immediately think the same thing: is the quote in computer room time or real time, they are definitely NOT same-same, they are same-same BUT different).

And, why does the plane need it a computer, it is just back-up to all those that are really flying the plane by leaning the opposite way when the plane takes a turn, pedaling faster through turbulence, and using telepathy to tell the pilots how to handle the controls. Strictly backup…

We finally board (they had to bus us three gates down because we're not allowed to cross through Air NZ gate space anymore, we might contaminate them), and we have the best premium economy seats ever, we’re in the two seats behind where the crew gets to relax and their seats can fully recline so the ones right behind them have massive leg room. Damn! We leave a little over two hours late, Katie picks up at the airport and we are eating Arizmendi pizza by mid Saturday night. End of the story, thanks all for reading along with the blog.

OOOPS, not the end of the story! The next night we get an e-mail from our Danish exchangers, they got in late after many hours traveling (gosh, wonder if they had the same exact experience we did in London? No, their similar amount of travel has put them in even worse shape, they feel things so much stronger than we do, like the weather) and they report we have ruined their $10,000 leather chair. How could we do that? We knew it was precious to them. What do we propose to do?

What a bookend, they have managed to put us in a tizzy at the beginning of the exchange AND at the end. Pretty impressive!

After much discussion amongst ourselves and with a few friends, we draft a reply that basically says: if you don’t want someone to sit on your furniture, you need to either tell them explicitly or put the stuff away. Normal use is basically what happens on an exchange (although during this drama I loved the story about the people that parked their motorcycle in the middle of the living room…guess nobody suggested NOT to do that).

Best advice we got: don’t send anything back right away, wait another 12 hours. We go to sleep, and lo and behold, here comes another e-mail, we are so sorry, our neighbors (the ones we got motorboated by and treated to lunch) have come to our defense and said the damage existed before we go to Denmark and we were the sort of people that would not abuse furniture.

Maybe karma does work, though I sure believed eating a ton and half of Danish pastry in all its myriad forms would have inured us from all this in the first place.

Thus, the story ends.

One last (I promise!) (repeat) quote:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? — To die, to sleep

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