The Saturday before vacation I headed off to the local beauty salon to get a pedicure. It may be nearly winter here in the Northern Hemisphere, but I was headed south. Totally time to get some pretty nails on my soon-to-be sandaled feet. Naturally, it’s a bit ‘odd’ to get a pedicure in November in the Netherlands and everyone wanted to know what’s up. People kept popping in and out checking out my toenails and asking what in the world I’m doing getting my nails done when it’s boot season.
Being American, I didn’t have any problem telling everyone my business. I’m off to Argentina with the hubby, I told them. We’re meeting in Frankfurt – he’s coming from Istanbul, me from Amsterdam. Every woman in the salon (even the teenager who should have been rolling her eyes) sighed. Oh, how romantic. I have to agree it sounds romantic to meet your lover/husband/partner in a foreign locale and then head off to an exotic location. Spoiler alert: it’s not. And I’m going to tell you exactly why not.
Meeting up in Frankfurt. Not so much fun. In Amsterdam, they told me that the flight from Frankfurt to Buenos Aires was overbooked. Uh oh. But the hubby had a seat so it couldn’t be that bad? Of course, the hubby was already flying from Istanbul and I couldn’t reach him. When he arrived in Frankfurt, he was confused about my arrival time (because the Turks have decided to stay on Summer Time forever) and the first thing he did was read my message can’t get a seat. He thought I was stuck in Amsterdam!
I wasn’t stuck in Amsterdam, although the plane was late. And then we had to park in a remote position meaning we had to be bussed into the terminal. I’m dating myself (but I think most of you realize I’m no longer a spring chicken anyway) but I remember when Frankfurt airport was two tiny terminals and you had to go outside and walk across the street to change terminals. Not so little anymore. The transfer from the Schengen terminal to the International terminal takes a good 15 minutes – if you’re pushing it. Good thing I was wearing a pair of running shoes because I took off like a bat in hell as soon as the bus doors opened. (I’m not a total freak as I literally led a group of at least 10 people who were in the same situation.)
I finally got through the last security check to find the hubby waiting for me with the message that the plane was indeed overbooked and we would be lucky to get seats – let alone business seats. We debated heading to a local hotel and trying again the next day, but in the end, we waited and ended up with economy seats. The seats weren’t together but some nice man switched with us (luckily, I had a bulk seat and therefore he was willing to give up his aisle seat for the incredibly long flight).
If you can find the romance in this story, please let me know.
Returning home. Despite the sheer length of this journey, it actually went off without a hitch. We flew from Salta to the domestic airport in Buenos Aires. While waiting for the bags, I found a bus company to transfer us to the international airport. Although there was some confusion about direct (as we ended up traveling through the city before finally heading to the airport), we made it in plenty of time to check-in and – yippee! – no problem with getting bumped from business this time.
Now everyone gets a little down about the end of vacation. I’m no different. But – in addition to the normal depression of going back to everyday life – I had the sadness of knowing my husband was returning to Istanbul while I was headed back to The Hague. Not. Romantic. At. All.
Just to be clear, I had an awesome vacation. I totally recommend Argentina to everyone. Art and culture compete with good food, beer and wine to make for a great visit.