23 November, 2007

How Was Your Thanksgiving??? Here is How Mine Went!!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day with family and friends...and beer and food. Crappy football was of course to be watched but thank god I didn't have the watch the cowgirls suck it up over the Jets. Speaking of football...I spent my Thansgiving Day with a bunch of football fans but the other kind of football....

I had to fly to London for the day to visit a new client and do some work. Although I wasn't able to be at home with my family (which I have been for the past 31 years or so) at least I was able to spend most of this holiday with a bunch of English speakers, even if I could not understand everything they said.

I had a flight out of Luxembourg at 6:55 am which means I was up before the butt crack of dawn. Although I only live less than 30 minutes from the airport, I for some reason got up at 4am and was at the airport by 5:20 am. Although it is not good to be up that early and at an airport, at least I was able to part literally 75 yards from the front door of the airport and I was checked in, through security and siting at the terminal in 10 minutes. The flight was uneventful and we arrived at the London City airport at about 7:15am. No it was not a 20 minute flight, just a time difference change from Luxembourg to the UK.

After taking the light rale train from the airport and then the Underground a few blocks from the client, we were there. Yes "we". I was traveling with a co-worker from Italy who works in Luxembourg as well. The work day was fine. Met a handful of guys from the client that were upset that their beloved England lost the night before in a football match against Croatia and therefore ending their changes of making the Euro Cup for 2008 but do we really care about that? Probably not. On to the rest of the day.

We left the client a little before 5pm and heading back on the trains to the airport. That is when the day took a less favorable turn. Before we even got on the second train that we were to take, it was delayed and when we finally got on it, it was packed like a nice hot and smelly can of sardines. We got to the London City airport with a good amount of time to make our 7:15pm flight to Luxembourg. London City is a regional airport right in the heart of London, just a stones throw from the Canara Wharf business district. Although we could have flown into Heathrow or Gatwick, they are far too busy and a bit more out of the way. Plus they are better for international flights.

When we got off the train at London City, it was a mad rush to the airport terminal for many that must have been on t^he brink of missing their flights. We had time and were able to check in rather quickly as we were flying Luxair, which not a great deal of people do, and we were in business class (more on that in a minute) which lets you check in quicker. A quick trip through the security check and we were at the terminal. It is nice to not have to take your shoes off in the European airports that I have been to so far, just your belts and metal items.

The terminal at London City, I believe there is only one, had a nice duty free shop and a few other shops and some cafes and a restaurant-bar that was very busy. The area to wait for your plane was general and not specific to a gate so it was a big mass of leather chairs in rows with men and women in suits drinking beer and wine. We wanted to get in on that fun so I quickly made my way to the bar and ordered up a few Boddington's for my friend and I. We found a little standing area near the bar and settled in for a refreshing beer on this holiday to be thankful. After about 2 sips of the beer, the fire alarm went off...and didn't stop for about 20 minutes. Some folks started to exit the terminal with the help of airport staff, out onto the runway. We held out for awhile to finish most of our beers but the fire fighters eventually made us leave and head out to the runway area. It turns out there was a fire somewhere in the airport but not where we could see it. Some guys had the right idea and brought their beers out with them to the runway. They were some real English drinkers I would have to say.

After about 2o minutes outside in the cold, we were heading back into the terminal and fighting to get a spot near the bar at a table. We did and we also got a few more beers. Stella at this point. Our flight was delayed about an hour or more due to the overall backup of planes from the supposed fire.

We finally made our way onto the plane and we settled down into our business class seats. The only problem with that is that in a prop plane with rows of 2 seats on either side of the isle, there is no real distinction between coach and business, other than the price I guess. Maybe the food service. I am not sure and I could not tell because if I turned my head around to look back into coach, changes are I would have gotten my ear clipped off by one of tall Luxembourgish women running the flight. At least there was a decent food and drink service, even for a flight that is barely over 1 hour in duration. Beer and wine is included in the meal service which is always nice.

After the food came and went, it was time to catch a few winks of sleep before we landed in Luxembourg. Or at least we thought it would be Luxembourg. Right when I thought we would be making our descent into Luxembourg, the captain came on and said that it was too foggy to land in Luxembourg and instead we would land in Leige, Belgium or Saarbrucken, Germany. We ended up choosing and landing there before midnight. When we got there they were nice enough to say that we would have a bus shuttle to take us to Luxembourg which was about a drive of 1 hour and 2o minutes or so. The hitch was that the bus would not be available for another hour and 30 minutes. That was the last straw. When we got off the plane we headed quickly to the taxi stand and grabbed a cab since we didn't have checked baggage. The cabbie said it would be a ride of about €170 but for a ride of over an hour, we could live with it, even if he only took cash.

On the ride from Germany to Luxembourg, we were greeted with German talk radio and then some dance or trance music when the cabbie pulled out some burned CDs from the glove compartment and started to jam. After stopping for gas at a roadside stop and making our way through the fog, we arrived at the Luxembourg airport to pick up my car at close to 1am. The best part was that the ride from the airport to our flat was a little over 15 minutes.

Although most of the day sucked it big, I at least got to come home to Paula and Molly, asleep, and I did get to talk to my mom and find out how the Thanksgiving dinner went at my Grandmother. All in all it was not the best way to spend this holiday but it could have been worse.

Although I didn't have any turkey as it is not easy to find in Luxembourg, at least I was able to have a few beers and doesn't that always make things better?

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