Monday, June 04, 2007

GLA to PFO (May 27)

Preparing for a holiday always takes longer than expected. I needed to clean up some things at work thinking it would only take a few hours. But 8 hours later I was finally shutting my computer off and walking out the door. Still needed to pack, clean house, make dinner and have a bath. I think it was 3:30AM before I finally shut the light off and I was getting up at 5:30. Great.

So going on just 2 hours sleep I was surprisingly alert and able to think clearly enough to pack the last few things in my suitcase, put clean sheets on the bed. My flat-mate's sister's family will be staying the week we're away. It just worked out nicely, we get house sitters and they don't have to sleep on the floor. I call a cab at 6:30 to come and take us to the airport. As I'm lugging my bag down 4 flights of stairs along with the garbage I need to drop off in the back close it all of the sudden hits me I've forgotten my purse (which has my passport) upstairs. My mobile rings telling me that the cab is around the corner so I run upstairs to grab my purse. That would have been a disaster had I not remembered as I also had the cash to pay for the taxi. So that got my heart racing a bit.

We get to the airport in record time, not like there's usually heavy traffic on the M8 at 6:30 in the morning on a Sunday, but you can never be too careful. We arrive at the airport and it's a bit confusing. As this is a bank holiday weekend the place is packed. We don't immediately see the Thomas Cook check-in. We booked our trip on-line so still had to pick up the actual tickets from the service desk. I get in line and Brenda goes looking for it. She comes back 2 minutes later asking if this is Terminal 2? I didn't even know Glasgow Airport had a terminal 2. So not only are we standing in the wrong line, but we're in the wrong terminal.

So now we are in the correct building and the proper line and Brenda heads off to get our tickets. Looking around at the other people is always interesting. Because this is a charter the chances are these are people we will be spending the week with. There are quite a few families with very young children, and there is always at least one shrieker. "Just watch", I said, "they'll be in the row behind us".

We get up to the check-in desk, our bags get weighed and what looks like a supervisor comes over and has a quick chat with the girl processing our booking. She gets on her mobile and keeps flipping through our passports looking at the Visa page and then the info page in the front. Then I hear her say "right, so they're fine then" and she hands our passports back to the ticket agent and walks away. It is only at that point she hits the button to move our suitcases on the conveyor belt. Not sure what that was about but I guess it was a flaggable issue that we have non-EU passports regardless of our Visas. Welcome to post 9/11 security.

The rest of our time in the airport is uneventful involving grabbing a bite to eat and then getting through the security screen and heading over to the gate to sit and wait until it's time to board.

It's been quite a while since we've done the packaged holiday thing. They really cram you onto the plane. I'm not a tall person (just under 5' 3") but I swear I only had about 2 inches from my knees to the seat back in front of me. I felt really bad for the guy next to me. He was probably over 6' and he had to contort sideways otherwise his legs wouldn't fit. He did have an isle seat but I don't think that was really helping. And as predicted the shrieking child was sitting directly behind us.

To be honest it was a quick 5 hours. I read the in-flight magazine, my BBC Olive that I brought, one hot meal, I only plugged in the headphones when an episode of the Simpson's came on and then I tried to grab a quick snooze and just as I was starting to get that heavy headed feeling to drift off the fasten seat belt sign came on and we were starting to make our descent to Paphos Cyprus.

Looking out the window as the plane was circling in preparation for landing I kept thinking how much the terrain looks like the Okanagan Valley back in Canada.

First major disappointment of the trip - no passport stamp. I can't figure this one out, as we enter the terminal there is a sign telling you where to go. People with EU passports stand in this line and people with non-EU passports go through the other. Except there is no one at the desk for the non-EU people. We both look around to see if perhaps the Passport Control Officer is standing in the peripheral but there is only the one agent and that's in the EU line. So we walk through with all the other EU citizens, flash our picture page of our passport and walk through.


I'm hoping we'll get one on the way out, otherwise I may cause an international incident (Mom, I'm kidding, I won't cause any trouble, k?)

Our hotel is lovely. Our room is huge and has a kitchenette in it, which we were not expecting so is a nice surprise. We drop off our bags, grab our cameras and head out to do a quick walk about the resort and find the water.

Not bad eh?


Jenny Jack said...

Baaagh!! It's gorgeous! Here's a long-time away invite...want to go see Damien Rice Oct. 4?

Colleen J said...

Chris, I can't wait to see the pics. Having just done a package holiday for the first time, I can now say they're not so bad! Oh, and I'll be in Scotland from September 4th (late) to 10th, in Aberdeen for most of it and probably in Edinburgh for the weekend, so maybe Carol and I can meet you if you're going to be around.

Katie said...

Didn't you just go on holiday with your parents?

I'm very jealous of your travels.

Peggy said...

I hope you have a lot of fun in Cypress. I was wondering why you hadn't posted. Now I know. Lucky girl!

Chris said...

Peggy - oh yes, lots of fun. My weeks adventures will unfold over the next few days as I slowley post what I drafted there.

Katie - yes I did just come from 10 days in Europe. I didn't really plan for all these trips to happen at once but they just kind of unfolded that way. Oh, and I'm going to Frankfurt for the weekend on Friday.

Colleen - I try to balance out a cultural trip one time (that would be Barcelona and Paris) and then the next one involves a beach and lots of nothingness (that would by Cyprus). It helps me to keep peace with the world. Yes, if you end up a weekend in Edinburgh let me know and I can hop the train to meet up with you.

Hey JJ - I should be around that date. Saw Damien Rice back in 2005 in Vancouver. A band from Dublin called 'The Frames' opened for him. It was a fantastic show all around. Would love to go.