Wednesday, June 23, 2010

EASY rant

Dear all, I am finally back from my 16-day Eastern and central Europe trip! I know I haven't updated on my previous Dublin trip but there is so much to talk about especially now that I have the additional long trip to tell you. But before I launch into a very long post about that there was something interesting that we came across on the last day of our trip. I probably can make this quite long-winded, so perhaps you would like to boil some water and sit back with a nice cup of coffee while you read the rest of this post.

And as many stories would say, once upon a time...

Once upon a time five girl friends were returning home from a long backpacking trip. Being the frugal students that they were, they decided to book a flight with a low-cost airline, thinking that it would be much EASIER on their wallets. True to its name, it was indeed EASY on the wallets but the JET service was less easy on them. They arrived at Geneva airport only to realise that their flight at 7.30am was delayed to four hours later, to 11.30am. Fine enough, so they waited patiently at the airport while enjoying their breakfast redeemed with the 10-franc voucher provided. At 11.30am, they boarded the plane, fine and dandy.

But after 30 minutes, they realised something was wrong. The plane was not moving! Then the pilot announced that a passenger had checked in a piece of luggage but the person was not on board the plane. So the stranded piece of luggage had to be searched and retrieved from the aircraft hold. Fair enough, who knows if it may contain explosives then suddenly KABOOM! and all passengers on board would become fine particles floating in the air. But the delay on this flight made the five friends a little worried as their next connecting flight was at 1.50pm. Not really enough time but perhaps they could still make it if they ran all the way to their next flight.

Not good. When they got to the security checkpoint it was already 1.35pm. Actually the first person of the group made it to there at that time as all were separated at that point. The first person of the group ran all the way, barely made it on board the connecting flight, also one that was EASY to JET around with. But the second person reached the gate it was 1.40pm. The staff at the gate told her straight out: "You missed the flight." with a stern stare. (The plane was still on the ground at this point.) Needless to say, the third, fourth, and fifth person also did not get on the flight. The third person tried to explain to the stern-looking staff that they were late because of the delay in the first EASY flight, but to no avail. He would not listen and repeatedly told them, in a cold and unhelpful manner, to go the the sales desk outside. So there.

Then, the remaining four friends went to the EASY-to-find sales desk (actually it was the exact opposite) with the help of some helpful and other not-so-helpful staff. They were informed that to get on the next flight, they had to pay a 'rescue fee' of 43 pounds. They tried explaining that they missed the flight because of a delay in the previous flight of the same company and it was certainly not their fault that they did not get on the plane. No chance. Angry and disappointed, they were prepared to hand over the 43 pounds to get back home, when another staff member from the EASY plane company, heard their story and said that it was alright to provide them with free replacement flights back home. Yay! so in the end they put away the 43 pounds and happily got on the next flight back home, 8 hours later.

Okay, so this is the very long-winded story which happened to us, and can probably be summed up in a few words: because of the delay in our flight from Geneva to London, we missed the connecting flight from London to Glasgow. It wasn't our fault but the service and attitude of the people we met were awful. Several times we were told that we had to be at the departure gate 30 minutes before time but it was impossible! Previous problems with the same company (delays, cancelled flights) and this really bad experience made us really disheartened and vowed never to fly with the company ever again.

Anyways that is the end of my grandmother's story. Sorry to have made you sit through it all, but hey, what needed to be said had to be said! I hope I will be able to write about my travels in the next few days but no promises, as I will be heading to the isle of skye on friday for three days, and I'm sharing my current internet connection with friends. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Ireland - Belfast

Dear all, I have been packing up my bags in a frenzy these past few days. I never realised one year of living in Glasgow could make me accumulate so much junk. I will be selling some of those soon, and everything else will have to fit into my two luggage trunks, and two more of my parents'. Which brings me to my next point: wouldn't it be awesome if everything I owned could fit into one trunk, or even better, one backpack? Wouldn't it be fantastic and SO convenient if I could just up and go, not having to worry about what to keep and what to take. I have toyed with the idea of minimalism (as stated in a previous post) but I realised I could never take it to the extreme - I love pretty clothes just like any other girl, and really they do make me happy. I know it's shallow but then again I reckon what's so good if I chose to adopt a lifestyle that I'm unhappy with? I would much rather minimise other areas of my life - I could do with less shoes and bags, and I don't feel the need to accumulate books. So if you took a peek into my two large luggage bags you would only find mounds and mounds of clothes. I'm only bringing back two pairs of shoes (downsized from over 10 pairs - no mean feat is it not?) and two bags (reduced from about 6 or 7).

Anyways, since I'll be pretty busy with prom and then my subsequent trip, I suppose I'll have to blog about Ireland now. Besides, I lose the urge to blog about my travels the longer I postpone them, and the memories fade before I can write them down.

We took a bus tour in Belfast to the Giants' Causeway the first day we were there. It cost about 20 euros and it took us to other places as well, like those little villages en route to the causeway and the suspended bridge. It was my first time on a tour where the bus driver doubled as the tour guide - it was scary at first because silly me was terrified that he would lose control of the bus as he was talking non-stop, and he was driving kinda fast, but he turned out to be extremely experienced and there wasn't really anything to worry about.

We stayed at Lagan's Backpackers, a quaint hostel with the quirkiest owner you'd have ever seen! He was funny and chirpy all the time, and he whipped up breakfast for all the backpackers staying there, every morning. And that's me looking happy with my full english.

I can't really remember what was the name of this castle. All I could remember was that we were only allowed about 10 minutes to enjoy it, or else.....!

And then, THE Giants' Causeway!

We had dinner at a local pub, and ordered the 'heart attack on a plate'. Why was it called such? This dish consists of fried and fatty food, and obviously that was not its name on the menu. But it is delicious nevertheless and should be tried at least once (or rather, once at the most!) when you visit Ireland.