Thursday, July 12, 2012

Paris Chronicles- Let the drama begin!

Ok so here is the deal. I am a drama magnet. Hardly anything happens in my life that is not fraught with drama. Normal, simple, basic tasks become dramatic with me. I have been told its because I tend to exaggerate and some even go to the extent of saying that I enjoy it.

I dont think that's true. It's just that drama seeks me out.

So here is how my Paris trip unfolds.

I am super organised to the point of being rather anal about everything. I make to-do lists, I pack 2 weeks in advance, every little task or meeting is scheduled in my handy Blackberry, I have check lists for everything. So I have been plannig my Paris trip for months. Coordinating leave schedules, researching (which basically means emailing my cousin Heena multiple emails in a day), shopping, tring to lose weight so I can gorge on crossaints and macaroons in Paris, and the usual travel must-dos like tickets, visas etc.

So naturally come yesterday, everything was in order. Or so I thought. My friend Pam sweetly drove me to the airport. I happily checked in at the British Airways counter and even took a chance to ask for Business class upgrade. The check-in officer kept looking at my passport and talking to his colleague. Finally he looked up and said 'madam you have a type C Schengen visa which does not allow for transit in London'. It took me couple of minutes to understand what he was saying. I fervently explained that I was not visiting London, was not even getting out of Heathrow airport, so I should not need a visa. He very patiently explained that even to TRANSIT in London, a visa is needed. My heart stopped. Actually.

He took me to the BA counter where another woman explained the exact same thing to me. It was then I realised- I was not boarding this flight tonight!

The lady was very helpful and asked me to go to the Air France counter and buy a direct flight to Paris. And later I could cancel my BA ticket with my travel agent for a $200 fee.

The Air France guy was very helpful too and offered me a ticket on a flight leaving in an hour. While doing all this I was on the phone with my brother who was trying to check if I could book a Krisflyer miles ticket.

Ultimately we decided it would be best I go back home and then decide the coarse of action in the morning.

So I called Rose asking her to come down and help me with my bags. If she had big plans to go partying that night, those were sure ruined. And then I went over to my friend and neighbour Pam's place to give her a shock and explain my unique predicament.

I was rather proud of myself that despite all the drama I did not lose my cool or breakdown into tears. I was a pretty good sport about it. Pat on the back!

I went to sleep in my faithful bed, faithful as it pretty much ensures a lovely sleep. And woke up next morning refreshed and went to visit my travel agent.

The women there was extremely helpful too, and she applied for a refund of my BA ticket which I should receive when I am back from my holiday. And booked me on the fabulous and reliable SQ. By 10 am it was all sorted and the whole day stretched in front of me till my midnight flight.

I decided to make most of my extra day in Singapore. I went to see a friend I had not seen in awhile and it did not seem right to leave Sinagpore without this meeting. Then met another friend for lunch and we ate a French cafe- ok it claims to be French and serves pretty good baguette and coffee.

Then I came home and watch Mad Men (they were discussing fee vs. commission, seriously? Was fee based remenuration a thing in the 60s?). Sorry I digress, but it did throw me off a little.

After which I went and watched The Amazing Spidermam. Andrew Garfield was superb!

Spent sometime by the pool and surprised few others by being there.

And ultimately left for the airport. There was a big accident on ECP- really horrid one with a truck, a car and 2 motorbikes. And finally when I reached the SQ counter I got a trainee staff who took 20 mins to check me in, not because there was any problem, but only because she was probably doing this for the first time. But everytime she turned to ask her supervisor anything, I held my breath. After an excruciating length of time she gave me my boarding pass and I was on my way to immigration.

Now sitting at the lounge and typing this post, am wondering how many more dramas are there in store for me in the next few weeks when I travel across 2 countries and 4 cities.

Well I for one can't wait to find out. After all, a simple life is so not me :)

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