wonderlanded: (Default)
[personal profile] wonderlanded

I had a job interview in Edinburgh on Friday morning, which meant flying to Glasgow late Thursday night.

We went to the Musée d’Orsay on Thursday morning, which was awesome, but I wore terrible shoes (quite flat, but just odd for my feet) and ended up with blisters the size of my little toes on my little toes. When we got home, while tending my blisters, I knocked the worst one against the side of the bath and took the entire top off my little toe. Blood everywhere.

On my way to the wrong Metro station on Thursday afternoon, I was hit by a car reversing back across the intersection it had already crossed. I have a lovely bruise on my thigh.

Everything went smoothly after I’d found the right Metro station and made my way out to Porte Maillot, got on the bus to Beauvais, and made my way to Glasgow. Got on the bus to Edinburgh and arrived at the hotel I had booked and paid for at 1.30am, which is when they were expecting me.

Unfortunately, they had accidentally given my room to a couple who should have booked out the night before. After quarter of an hour of faffing about, they found me a room in one of their sister hotels and sent me down there in a taxi.

When I got to the Other Hotel, their St Patrick’s Day festivities were still in full swing, and I discovered I’d lost my passport. Fifteen minutes of blind panic later, I found it. In my wallet. Um.

So the nice receptionist bloke took the crazy hysterical Australian up to her room, only to discover that the keycard wouldn’t work. Neither would the second he brought up. Nor the third. The fourth worked, and I went to bed at about 2.30, having firmly decided that the interview in the morning would be rubbish, and I should go into it with a completely fatalistic attitude.

Next morning, I discovered that my toes were swollen and unlikely to fit into my Only Interview Shoes. (The other option was riding boots. Not a good look.) So I had a bath, and then made the surprising discovery that there was apparently no iron or ironing board in the entire hotel. So I ironed my suit using the trouser press, with less that spectacular results. The fatalistic attitude to the interview increased apace.

It was quite a nice day in Edinburgh – grey but fine, and the four-hour interview went surprisingly well, despite the fact that I felt like I was going through foot torture the entire time. I haven’t heard yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I got the job. Went back to the city, where I wandered along Princes Street for a while before going for a late lunch with FABULOUS PEOPLE.

I had a fantastic lunch with [livejournal.com profile] brandnewgun, [livejournal.com profile] blue_monday and the Gnome! They’re all utterly fantastic, and I advise you all to meet them immediately if you haven’t already. The Gnome is just as delightful as in her pictures, albeit with a disconcerting habit of staring at you with a stare that can only be described as her ‘Bitch, are you for real?’ look. But I also saw her awesome smile.

I was running pretty much on time to get back to Glasgow and Prestwick Airport, but between a series of bad connections and some very poor advice from a ticket agent about which train to take to Glasgow, I managed to miss my Ryanair flight. By one minute. They were closing check-in as I ran up, but they wouldn’t reopen it. The nice German bloke I’d been chatting to on the train since Edinburgh (victim of the same crap advice, but thankfully his plane left later than mine) was very sympathetic and helpful, but there was no dice. I was put on standby for the 7am Saturday morning flight, went back to Glasgow, and booked into the Ibis.

Up at 4 the next morning to catch the 4.45 bus to Prestwick. I was hopelessly early for everything, and was really pleased when I got on the 7.00 flight. We sat on the tarmac for a while because of fog at Beauvais, and then took off in the hopes that it would ‘clear while we were in the air’.

It didn’t; so we were diverted to Charles-le-Roi airport, where we landed at 10am.

Charles-le-Roi, for those who know as much as I do about minor European airports, is in Brussels.

A nice repeating announcement in the arrivals hall informed us that Ryanair had chartered us a bus to Beauvais that would arrive in half an hour. It repeated for the next two hours. The bus finally left close to 12.30pm, and all was going quite well, we all thought. There was a distinct sense of camaraderie developing, in the manner of Lost or Candid Camera.

Then, just across the border into Picardy, the bus blew a tire.

I am not joking.

Two and a half hours later, the tire was changed and we were able to keep going. The bus driver, under strict orders from Ryanair, refused to take us all the way into Paris despite the fact that it was (a) closer and (b) everyone wanted to go there, not Beauvais. So we arrived at Beauvais at 5pm, took the bus to Porte Maillot, and I was back in our appartement in the 8th by 6.30. Which… is a very long time for a two hour flight.

I’ve actually been thinking a lot about Scotland, and my mobility if I lived there, and the actual idea behind my moving to the UK – part of which is to see as much of Europe as I can. I’m wondering if the whole Edinburgh thing mightn’t be a bit counterproductive.

We’re in Vienna now, and my feet are finally starting to heal, and this city is just fabulous. I loved Paris, but Wien has a really intimate feel – like people actually live here.

Date: 2005-03-21 02:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stellanova.livejournal.com
You poor thing! What a catalogue of catastrophes.

And, Ryanair are bastards. I, like you, was once one minute late to check in (over an hour before the plane was actually leaving) and they wouldn't let me on. I am always reluctant to use them if I'm in a hurry to get somewhere because if anything goes wrong, they don't cover you. My sister's flight was very delayed when she was going back to London a year or two ago, and by the time she arrived in Stansted the last trains and buses had all gone, so she had to get a taxi back to south London which cost so much she might as well have just gone on a proper airline in the first place.

Date: 2005-03-21 03:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wonderlanded.livejournal.com
I'm now very nervous about our flight over to meet you!

We just took an Air Berlin / Niki flight from Paris to Vienna, which was really no more expensive since it left from Charles de Gaulle, not fucking Beauvais, and they were just AWESOME and helpful and understanding. I am in love.

Date: 2005-03-21 08:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] yiskah.livejournal.com
Yes, they did the exact same thing to me when I was supposed to be flying to Cork for my friend's wedding! They are bastards (though I find them a lot more amenable in other countries; we had a Ryanair woman in Bergamo reopen check-in for us once when we turned up 25 minutes before the flight was due to leave).

Date: 2005-03-21 02:45 am (UTC)
felinitykat: (Default)
From: [personal profile] felinitykat
Oh bless you! I've never heard of such a run of bad luck. *hugs*, come to London. It'll be really nice to you!

I hope the rest of your travels are only eventful in fun and happy ways.

Date: 2005-03-21 03:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wonderlanded.livejournal.com
And I forgot the bit where the bus from Beauvais to Paris nearly had an accident and rocked over onto two wheels! We were all pretty much hysterical by then.

Very much looking forward to London!

Date: 2005-03-21 02:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] slemslempike.livejournal.com
Oh no! With a catalogue of travel disasters like that, surely you have good things coming. Fingers crossed.

Are you doing Chalet things in Austria? Like dressing in brown and flame and flinging yourself down every available mountain/into every freezing lake?

Date: 2005-03-21 03:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wonderlanded.livejournal.com
Dude. My coat is brown, my scarf is orange...er, flame... and WE ARE GOING TO THE ACHENSEE.

Date: 2005-03-21 03:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] slemslempike.livejournal.com
Oh my! I hope you have a simply ripping time.

*goes to pay fine in slang box*

Date: 2005-03-21 03:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wonderlanded.livejournal.com
I should hope so. Gah. You're as bad as any Middle.

Date: 2005-03-21 02:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] orientalflower.livejournal.com
Sounds excellent fun! Scotland is a little laid back, innit. LOL

Date: 2005-03-21 02:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alltheleaves.livejournal.com
Oh my god that's horrendous! You do realise you are now due excessive amounts of karma and only good things can happen to you for the rest of the year.

Date: 2005-03-21 03:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wonderlanded.livejournal.com
I really, hope so! Hey, perfect job, please fall into my lap right now!

Date: 2005-03-21 02:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cangetmad.livejournal.com
a stare that can only be described as her ‘Bitch, are you for real?’ look.

She was a bit moody, wasn't she? I can only assume it was a reaction to being out-glammed for once.

And, I cannot believe that the catalogue of travel horrors continued! Poor, poor you. But honestly, it's not usually that bad round here.

Date: 2005-03-21 03:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wonderlanded.livejournal.com
I thought she was lovely, and the stare completely justified based on the expectant looks she was getting from everyone!

And, I KNOW. I kept remembering how I'd already been chronicling The Travel Disasters to you folks as a funny tale.

Date: 2005-03-21 03:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] glitterboy1.livejournal.com
Oh, you poor, poor thing! I'm so sorry, you must have just wanted to curl up and die. I'm hugely impressed that you managed to go through with the interview, and so well, after all the trouble getting there. But then to have such a journey back again...

I know what you mean about mobility from Edinburgh. It's probably the first place I would think of moving, if I left here, but that same thought about travel has struck me. Even by road - as I've discovered - with only a couple of problems, it becomes a nightmare. That said, it's a gorgeous city, and there are fabulous people there. (Of whom, by the way, I am now deeply envious, having had lunch with you!)

I hope that Vienna will make up for it - have a fabulous time there!

Date: 2005-03-21 09:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wonderlanded.livejournal.com
Luckily, it just got to the stage where it was all so fucking funny in its completely improbably ghastliness that I was just giggly and dizzy about it. And I think I forgot to mention the bit where the bus back to Paris from Beauvais NEARLY CRASHED and we all just collapsed in hysterical laughter. I think, if we'd had to wait any longer on the side of the motorway in Picardy, we might have clubbed together to buy real estate in the village we could see just over the hill. It looked nice.

Vienna is marvellous so far -- the Easter Markets are fab so I can only imagine the Christmas ones! I am deeply in love with the city, in particular free wireless in an excellent pub where they leave you alone for hours, and hot apple schnapps with cream and bits of apple in it.

Date: 2005-03-21 10:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] glitterboy1.livejournal.com
Ok, now I'm envious of you, too! Well, for the Vienna bit, anyway; the story of the travel nightmare just gets worse and worse...

I'm really pleased you're enjoying it so much. I was looking through my photos from our holiday in Austria in December, and loving the memories of the Christmas Markets there. You've picked a good time to be in Vienna, I think.

Date: 2005-03-21 04:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] altoidsaddict.livejournal.com
Wow, what did the owner of the car that hit you say?

Good to hear that you've found greener pastures in Vienna, after having so much trouble elsewhere. And hey, at least through the tire changes and airport diversions, you're getting to see more of Europe, just not exactly on your terms...

Date: 2005-03-21 09:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wonderlanded.livejournal.com
Hee! Yes, I have an extra stamp in my passport!

The driver was actually incredibly apologetic, and I think we were both very lucky (or not, as things turned out!) that he hadn't been a bit further in front of me when he switched into reverse and began Mr Toad's Wild Ride. He looked completely shattered, and I even trailed off the withering tirade in French I had started to spew out at him. Apparently the only French I really know is insults. I may also have sworn at him in German, Russian, English, and Italian.

Date: 2005-03-21 05:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bureinato.livejournal.com
That's amazing, as in incredibly crazy bad. Any one or two of those things would be a full story in itself, but damn!

Date: 2005-03-21 07:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jeejeen.livejournal.com
Oh my god... too much! I was alternately groaning and laughing as I read that account. I cannot believe that someone actually HIT YOU WITH THEIR CAR. Among other things.

Good news though on the interview!! Perhaps fatalism is the best way to conquer nerves?

Date: 2005-03-21 09:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wonderlanded.livejournal.com
I know! I was telling the story so far to [livejournal.com profile] brandnewgun and [livejournal.com profile] blue_monday at lunch, and suddenly realised I hadn't told them the bit where SOME FRENCH MAN HIT ME WITH HIS CAR. So I told them, with exactly those capital letters, and they reacted suitably well.

Perhaps I should have taken it as an omen.

Date: 2005-03-21 07:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] protoainsley.livejournal.com
Dude. That's just WRONG, for the travel gods to be so vicious to you.

*gives you relaxing massage*

Date: 2005-03-21 08:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] debodacious.livejournal.com
What a totally catastrophic time. Poor you. But it makes a good traveller's tale.
Hope you enjoy the Achensee but don't fall in! Or get stranded for the night in a goatherd's hut.

Date: 2005-03-21 09:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wonderlanded.livejournal.com
I thought about getting stranded on an alpe, myself, just to hasten my EU Marriage of Convenience.

Date: 2005-03-21 10:14 am (UTC)

Date: 2005-03-21 09:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zoje-george.livejournal.com
My goodness! It's amazing your mind is still intact after all that. You poor dear. I am ever so glad you ended up with just a bruise on your thigh, however ugly or painful it might be, after your close encounter with a stupid driver.

Please do take care and have some coffee for me whilst in Vienna.

Date: 2005-03-21 12:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] majea.livejournal.com
That's fucking insane. You poor thing. But seriously, what a story.

Also, based on the potential success of my interview today, you might want to start looking for jobs in Brighton. Just saying.

Date: 2005-03-21 11:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wonderlanded.livejournal.com
Yeah, opportunities for Press Officers / PR folks in Brighton? Limited at best.

But I'm really really glad it went well!

Date: 2005-03-21 11:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] majea.livejournal.com
But the SEA. Come on -- we can find something. Or create a post. Plus, Fabulous Flatmates! We'll figure it out. You don't really want to do PR, do you?

Date: 2005-03-21 11:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] majea.livejournal.com
See! See! It's nearly PR, except not at all and you'd get to work with books!! And live with me!

Just picture how annoying I'll be on this subject when you arrive. I am a stubborn woman, Penny.

Date: 2005-03-21 11:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wonderlanded.livejournal.com
Well, I'll apply, but it rather sounds like the kind of job that makes me want to remove my own eyeballs with toothpicks and become difficult to live with.

Something will turn up somewhere. How long is the trip from Brighton to London? And have I mentioned that despite being Australian, I actually loathe the beach?

(And jeez, woman, I've just more-or-less given up on Scotland, and now this?)

Date: 2005-03-21 03:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] blue-monday.livejournal.com
Oh good lord, that must've been horrible! I can't believe that the bad luck carried on after the interview. Hopefully, in order to make up for it all, they'll offer you the job or another one very much like it.

And it was very lovely to meet you.Really, it's not that bad all the time around here, plus it's not that bad for getting around Europe, just depends where you're wanting to go.
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