Monday, February 14, 2005

Just trying to go home...

Ok, so I owe you lots of stuff about my trip to Indonesia, but right now I feel a great need to winge and whine about my trip home to Kosovo (so far, anyway- I've been at it 36 hours and I'm only half way there). It all started in Semarang Saturday evening. Mr. M's* neighbor drove us to the airport where I was to catch a flight to Jakarta, connect to Dubai, connect to Istanbul then connect to Prishtina. Well THAT didn't happen. It seems a little rainstorm caused a plane to slide off the runway and into a concrete embankment, closing the Semarang airport for two days. UH OH. Garuda (the airline I was on to Jakarta) said the best they could tell me was re-book to Jakarta the next morning, and speak with the customer service office in Jakarta when I arrived. The good news, I got to spend another night in Indonesida, the bad news - I missed all of my connecting flights, and things went downhill from there. SO I booked a 6:30 am flight to Jakarta, figuring that might give me enough time to catch another flight to Dubai (I had an 18 hour layover there) and hit the rest of my connections. About an hour later they called and cancelled that flight without offering to rebook squat. I called them back about an hour later and cried until they booked me business class at 8 am. :D Hell of a lot of good that did me, they bumped me back down to Economy when I got to the airport the next morning. At least I was on a plane.

When I arrived in Jakarta, I was under the assumption the airline would put me on any flight available to get me where I needed to go - NOT the case. It seems they will only work with the route you are scheduled and the airlines you are scheduled with so that it really doesn't cost them anything. It just gives me one big FAT headache. Finally after two hours of haggling, we managed to arrange something that wasn't terribly unacceptable - I would get back to Skopje instead of Prishtina, but I would get there Tuesday instead of Thursday that way. Mind you, I was supposed to be home on Monday. In the mean time, I was stuck in Jakarta for 8 hours, but they put me up at the transit hotel to pass the time. Took a nap, watched a movie, did some shopping and packed up and left.

So I got to Dubai finally at 5:45 this morning (Monday). My flight out is at 3:30 am on Tuesday, so I needed somewhere to hang out for 22 hours. I had hoped to just go into the airport and check into the lounge that I stayed at on the way to Indonesia. BUT, since I was changing airlines in Dubai, I had to collect my baggage and go back through customs. And since I'm not flying out on Emirates, I am flying on Turkish, I can't get back into the airport until midnight tonight. So here I am, stuck outside the Dubai airport in the rain with all of my baggage and no where to go, thanks to some festival that has every hotel in town booked up. Cried again. Someone took pity on me and hunted up a room at a 5 star hotel (NICE) for the day, at the mere cost of $165. Greeeeaaaat. As they were giving me my voucher for the hotel at the Emirates counter, they also proceeded to inform me that my flight from Dubai to Istanbul wasn't confirmed, that I was on Stand-by. Just so you know, if I don't make this connection, there's not another one for two days, which leaves me stranded here - with no hotel room in sight, and no one to pick up the tab - thank you Garuda! I marched my irritated, and exhausted ass to the Turkish Airlines office this morning and cried for the third time in 36 hours (when did I turn into such a baby?) as they proceeded to tell me that not only am I on stand-by, but that I also have to pay $75 for all of the changes to my route, although I had absolutely NOTHING to do with them. Garuda should have taken care of all of this, but since tehre is no Garuda office here, I am in a bit of a fix. It would cost me as much for the phone call to get them to straighten everything out as it would to just pay for the ticket. The woman at the Turkish office said she would do all she can to try to fix this, but I won't know anything until after 5 pm tonight. Great. Again.

Needless to say, I'm stressed out, tired, and just want to go home. On the upside, I AM in a 5-star hotel with the most comfortable bed I've ever slept in - big fat down pillows and comforters, wireless internet in the room, and a lovely view of the parking lot. Too bad I can't sleep. I was going to go lay out by the pool all afternoon, but lucky me... it's raining. *sigh* I just can't win. Anyway, wish me luck... I hopefully will be home in a few days. Since I'm stuck here, and have good internet, I'm going to try to post some of my pics. Check them out when you have some time. :)

* I've decided to not use anyone's real names anymore in my blog, just in case I want to bad mouth you (just kidding)... however, you should be able to figure out who you are. :P

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