One day I’ll lose my head, I can tell. Am I cursed or what, that those strange things happen to me so often? This time it was my flight to Nepal. Is there a limit of unfortunate events that are forwarded to us? Because I feel that mine is inexhaustible.
Imagine my excitement when in the middle of January I received an invitation to the FAM trip to Nepal. A small group, so I felt a bit like a VIP – only four people were invited to take part in this tour. For two weeks!!! All costs were to be covered, except the flight – I had to buy it on my own.
Let’s skip the details how it happened that I booked the flight 1,5 days before the departure. Anyway, it was settled – I’m going to Nepal. The departure was next day at 9.25 am from Luang Prabang in Laos, with few hours layover in Kuala Lumpur and then straight to Kathmandu.
Shortly after midnight, I was packed and almost ready to leave when I realised that I did not exchange the Lao Kip to dollars. Abroad, it is impossible to exchange them at all, so I had to do it in Laos. Otherwise, I would stay with 80 dollars in kip that I don’t need… And I had to have dollars to pay for my visa to Nepal! But I didn’t panic. I knew I could exchange them at the airport.
Morning comes. I brush my hair with one hand, and the other pushes a croissant into my mouth (or at least I wish I did it, but I’m not a multitasker, so I end up with crumbles in my hair), the tuk-tuk arrives and takes me to the airport. It’s 7.28 AM when I walk into the departure hall and immediately go to the exchange. Closed, the other one too. And the third one. Damn it. If I don’t exchange the money, I will not be able to pay for my visa!
The only kiosk at the airport that is opened is Bangkok Airways. I ask a lady who works there when they open the exchange.
“About nine” comes the reply.
“What?! But it’s too late for me! And I have 80 USD in Kip! Do you know if there is any other place nearby where I can change the money?!”
“No…” the lady sees my panicked face, opens a drawer and pulls out a note of 100 USD. “But I have this…”
Holy cow, this woman saves my life! I ask her to wait a moment and run to the ATM. I withdraw another 20 USD in Kip, exchange with the lady and want to kiss her for the help. Satisfied, I’m going to check in and have no problems with my flight to Kuala Lumpur.
I arrive in KL, get my ninth stamp from here in my passport and pick up luggage. Ok, now I have about five hours at the airport. I’m going for coffee, still have some time to work. My flight is only at 6.30 PM.
I’m drinking my coffee slowly while working on the computer. There’s usually not enough time to work, so I typically have to work also on the way (especially that the flight to Kathmandu will last 5 hours, so much time to write!). The battery is dying but I can charge it after check-in, I already know this airport as my pocket, I can make it.
About 4.40 I close my computer and go for check-in. I look at the departures board, but I can’t see any flight to Kathmandu after 6 PM. I look at my boarding pass – well, I’m flying with Malindo Air and not Air Asia so I have to change airport to KLIA (KLIA2 supports only Air Asia flights).
I go to KLIA Express, buy a train ticket, the lady tells me that the next train would be 10 minutes, but the journey takes just 3 minutes. Cool. Of course, the train arrives on time but waits few minutes at the platform. Not-cool. When I come at KLIA is about 5.10pm. I look at the departures board – Malindo Air, check-in row F, boarding. Perfect, I still have nearly 1,5 hour.
I find row F, and I set up in the queue, which is surprisingly short – in front of me, there are only eight people. What is more, three working counters are fighting with one passenger who does not want to pay for extra baggage. I check the time; it’s 5.18.
They finally manage to pacify the passenger. Indian-looking lady asks me to the counter.
“Where are you going?”
“But… Check-in for the flight to Kathmandu is closed…”
“What?! No! I HAVE TO BE TODAY IN KATHMANDU!”
“Oh… then… Go quickly to counter E19!”
I grab my backpack and run to the other side of a long string of counters to check-in. E19, here it is!
“Are you checking in here for the flight to Kathmandu?”
“Yes, but it’s already closed” answers coldly a stiff gentleman in a white shirt with an ID around his neck.
“But why?! It’s still 45 minutes to departure!”
“But we closed the check-in one hour before departure.”
I feel that my hands and knees are shaking and cold sweat covers my body. The last time I felt like this in Georgia, when a bull weighing some 700 kg wanted to attack me, and I hid in the tent. But then it was a real threat to life, and now? Could it be that the gap had my FAM trip? Because I missed the check-in?!
At such moments, only one attitude helps me – apologetically-imploringly-blonde (I always laugh that hair colour in my case this is no accident). I put myself in the role of the victim. I must admit that I am quite good at this.
“I beg you, please do something!” I almost cry. “My train was late; it’s not my fault! (Just do not mention the coffee!) I have to fly to Kathmandu today! IT’S ABOUT TO MY JOB!!!”
The man looks at me.
“Wait” he turns to his desk and says something to the lady sitting by the computer. He takes my passport and boarding pass.
“Sir, I must today be in Kathmandu…” but the guy just raises his hand to me to hush me and calm me down at the same time. After a while, the lady by the computer asks me where I’m going after Nepal and if I have a return ticket. Jesus, I don’t! Why do they ask about it?! That is not mentioned in any conditions of entry to Nepal! I have to make up something!
“I’m going to Vietnam. I do not have a ticket yet, but that’s why I have to fly to Kathmandu! My boss is already there, and probably tomorrow or the next day he will buy me a ticket, I’ll be in Nepal for two weeks.”
Hanna, bravo. Amazing creativity.
The lady prints me a new boarding pass, and the guy takes my luggage and explains: fast passport control for business class, and then to security control because boarding is already underway!
The people who run the bus always seemed ridiculous to me. After all, another coach will come soon. But the plane is different, and sometimes you have to make yourself look ridiculous, to catch the flight. So I rush through the airport, feeling the sweat going down my face, and a small backpack doesn’t help running this marathon. I get to the passport control. Why this guy mentioned the passport control for the business class since there is a queue too?! Without thinking, I’m going to the beginning of it, and I beg people to let me go first because my boarding is already underway. They agree, I get a stamp in the passport and run.
Fuck, wrong way!
I run, already have enough, I miss my breath, but I still run. Damn, why this airport is so big?! I run to the gate, and I see a vast crowd of people.
In the 500 meters long line for security check. The last point before boarding the aeroplane. I ask people at the end of the line where they fly.
“Kathmandu” comes the reply.
I feel my face turning icy, and my eyes hurling thunderbolts. Seriously? This super long queue is still waiting for control to Kathmandu? It will last at least 30 minutes! Why they made so many problems at check-in?!?!?!?!?!? Aaaaaaaaarghhhhhhhhhhhhh!
I go to the store, eat a warm croissant with ham and cheese, drink a whole bottle of water, I go to the toilet and wait 15 minutes at the end of the queue.
Once I have checked my hand luggage, I sit in front of the gate and wait for boarding. Of course, the flight is delayed around 15 minutes. Bored, I turn in my hands boarding pass, and suddenly I see what’s printed: BUSINESS CLASS. I start to laugh like a stupid, and I cannot stop. Seriously, I got an upgrade to business class, because I made up a story about a boss waiting in Kathmandu?!
I can be proud of myself.
First problems with the currency exchange in Laos, then with the check-in, and the battery in my computer died, but!
But I do have a wide, comfortable seat in business class, and even two, because no one is sitting next to me. 😀 And the socket! Life, you have so much fun with me, dontcha? 😀
Fortunately, everything ended well. I did reach Kathmandu for FAM trip that I was looking forward to. I had the dollars to pay for the visa. And another story to tell. Crazy day! 😉
Ah, and it can’t be too much luck in this story. On the plane, my outlet did not work, and the pen stopped working, so this time there was no writing during flight… 😉
Have something similar ever happened to you?