Hello, world! It’s been a crazy few (we’re not specifying because of our collective brains are incapable of doing simple math of working out the time zone difference but believe us, it’s quite a few) hours. GodzillaPin and the Ninja Turtle are in Dubai airport at the moment, waiting to catch their connecting flight to Brisbane. YES! We’re on our way to the other side of the world!
It hasn’t been smooth sailing though. Saying that GodzillaPin and the Ninja Turtle have got completely different personalities is like calling Mount Kilimanjaro a pimple on the surface of the earth. It just somehow doesn’t do the situation real justice. The Turtle likes everything planned and booked in advance, so she has already mentally rehearsed the journey several times before she even embarks on it. GodzillaPin on the other hand, doesn’t feel psychologically at ease until he has modified his plans 5 dozen times at the last minute.
As it was, the day before their departure, he less-than-gently persuaded the Ninja Turtle to cancel two nights of their backpackers reservation in Brisbane because he’d rather sleep at Surfers Paradise instead. Then he jumped through spectacular hoops to apply for an international driver’s license a mere 12 hours before they departed, because his fixation on Surfers Paradise just knew no bounds. Why he didn’t book their original flight straight to the Gold Coast, instead of Brisbane, is still beyond the Turtle, but at this stage, it’s six months too late to be asking such a question…
GodzillaPin rolled back to the apartment from work half an hour before they were due to leave for the train station, and for once, they made good time. Their agenda looked somewhat like this:
15.56: Train from Metz to Gare de l’Est
17.20: Arrival at Gare de l’Est, Metro Ligne 4 connection to Gare du Nord
From Gare du Nord, they’d have to switch to the RER B to Roissy Charles de Gaulle 2
20.15: Check-in closes for the flight
21.15: Flight from Paris to Dubai
It was cutting it fine, but the Ninja Turtle has had experienced narrower gaps with GodzillaPin, so she wasn’t complaining. On the train, they joked about leaving the bleak and desolate landscape behind for warmer climes. It was all rolling nicely, until.
Until. At about 17.00, the train rolled to a sudden halt, and the announcement passed over the PA, informing us of an accident on the rail, and that the train will be stopped for an indeterminate period of time. They were only at Champagne-Ardennes, so panic set in, as Ninja Turtle asked how long it would take by cab to CDG. Two hours, apparently. Fifteen restless minutes or so later, another announcement was passed, informing passengers that the train would be redirected straight to the airport, and any passengers wishing to return to Metz or to continue to Gare de l’Est should disembark. The English translation went something like this: “Your attention ladies and gentlemen, the train is now going to Roissy Charles de Gaulle. It is not going to Gare de l’Est anymore. You can get off here if you want.”
We laughed then – we could afford to. After all, hadn’t the situation taken a favourable turn? Sure, it sucked for those who were actually heading to Paris Gare de l’Est, but hey, tough luck.
Tough luck indeed. After another ten minutes, the train still hadn’t budged. The Ninja Turtle was starting to get antsy. Then, another announcement came on, announcing that the plans have changed once more, and the train was going to Paris Gare de l’Est after all. The English announcement went thus: “Ladies and gentlemen, we are not going to Roissy airport anymore, we are going to Gare de l’Est.” It wasn’t going to Roissy. By this stage, it was well past 17.30 and both GodzillaPin and the Ninja Turtle howled their way down six carriages towards the train conductor. They weren’t the only passengers with flights to catch – a good few other purple-faced passengers were fuming in a group. All the staff could do was laughingly inform us that since we were a group, we could pool together and catch a cab.
At this stage, the Ninja Turtle could only burst out in fury “je deteste la SNCF!” to which a few passengers in the vicinity responded by saying “now she understands how we French feel!”
Having missed their chance to descend when they could, to catch a cab directly to the airport, they could only wait on the train like sitting ducks, for fate to deal them the next joker card. As they continued towards Gare de l’Est, GodzillaPin and NT were ringing around frantically to reach the Emirates check-in counter to beg for them to wait. The entire process felt neverending.
Upon arriving at Gare de l’Est, they were off sprinting. Yes, sprinting. With two trolley bags each, one large check-in bag and a smaller cabin trolley, they weaved their way through the pedestrian traffic, navigated the horrors of the Paris metro, and with nothing by bare hope to keep them going, got on the RER B. There, they were informed that check-in closes an hour before take-off, no exceptions, and there were no later flights that night.
Ninja Turtle exploded. Had she her way right from the start, they would have left for Paris the day before, and slowly made their way to the airport, where they would have arrived four hours in advance so they could enjoy smoked salmon and champagne at the champagne bar before take-off, but of course, in the ideal world, they would also NOT be living so far from an international airport to begin with. Instead, GodzillaPin insisted on working right up to 90 minutes before their train’s departure, and the last possible train before the flight to boot.
On the RER B, she had a major public meltdown, whereby she possibly menaced poor GodzillaPin with buying her an air ticket at all cost should they miss the flight. GodzillaPin’s only response was “I know, I know, it was a mistake. We’ll do things your way next time.” This hardly appeased the Turtle, because she didn’t really believe there would be a next time.
The RER B took a good half an hour to reach the airport, whereby between terminals one and two, it stopped. The duo almost died of cardiac arrest. When they finally got off, they ran the mile or so to the check-in counter, and barely made it by the skin of their teeth.
After that, everything was a nice hazy blur of don’t-remember-what-they-saw-or-heard. They made it, that’s all that mattered.
So here they are, in Dubai.
They’re still grumpy at each other for all the yelling, but at least they’re both still alive, and more importantly on their way to Australia.