Sunday, December 08, 2013

The Weekend From Hell

(We'll return to the travelogue about Sochi shortly-
Let me fill you in on my current nightmare.)

Chasing the Sun: Sochi to Jax to Sydney

Tech Rehearsal 2 in Sochi is over- Rain, snow, horrific traffic, biting cold, strange what-if scenarios, livestock encounters, lost creds, strange food, mystery booze.

For our part, things went smooth.
We did what we came to do, solved some outstanding port security issues, and generally made some great strides toward a successful performance come February.
Now, if all my equipment arrives intact and they finish construction in Sochi, it will be awesome.
So, now on to my next slice of fun... Australia, via the long way 'round. Why, you ask (Because everyone does) don't you go straight from Sochi to Sydney?
Well, we were only in Sochi a week to do basic testing and dressed for cold.
Now I'm heading to Sydney where I need completely different kit. Summer clothes, supplies, tools etc.
Besides, the FreqFly miles are almost worth the torture of economy class seats for 60 hours of travel on 7 different flights in 4 days.

Feel my pain: Friday 12/6 at 3:00am the fun starts...
I get to pre-game at the Raddison Blu in Sochi, trying to fix my bill as there are some odd charges in my folio.
Then the driver from NBC Ground Transport shows up and we head to Adler Airport.
First leg- Turkish Airlines, to Istanbul.

Ah, good times... A planeload of unwashed Eastern Europeans that have never seen soap and can't spell deodorant. They think an ounce of cologne is an adequate substitute for soap & water.

Phrase of the day: "Alright Aziz, get your unwashed ass out of the aisle and let others get to their fucking seats."
(Yeah, it was 4:30 am and I'm a little cranky.)
And the guy next to me, Jeebus. The BO could knock a buzzard off a shitwagon.
But... For an hour I can take the stink to get this show on the road.

Next - transiting Istanbul airport.

Travel bullshit 1- unnecessary credential checks.
From the time I got off the Sochi flight until I sat in my seat on the next flight 8, count 'em 8 people had to check my passport. Several needed to see my picture page, one leafed through all the pages and made a mark on a sticker on the back cover. One looked for the sticker the previous guy put on. Showed my passport and boarding pass to the gate attendant and ten steps later a uniformed chick in the jetway (jetway?! They have Jetways!) wanted to see both again...
Except for the unnatural need to see my passport, only one other encounter was notable. Going through the transit security an overzealous Turkish TSA-analog agent got a bee in his bonnet about a pair of hemostats in my carry-on. Remember what I said about being cranky... This guy got a full "Well, fuck you motherfucker, take them!" when he insisted they were forbidden.
None of the 150 previous inspections I've had while carrying them did anyone say anything. I put my disassembled carry-on back together under his watchful eye and saluted him...

"Fuck you very much, asswipe," and lumbered off.
Kinda surprised that I didn't get invited to an attitude adjustment session after that... I've got a short fuse when I short of sleep, or hungry, or traveling, or when confronted with dumbassery...

Ok, yes. I almost always have a short fuse.

Istanbul to London was passable: bulkhead seat, seat-mate that had bathed within the last 48 hours. I got a few hours in the airline lounge in London, then off to EWR on an 8+ hour flight.
(Movies: Cabin in the Woods, Skyfall & The Interns)
I also put a good dent in my current read, Bester's The Stars My Destination...
EWR was good and bad;
yay for Global Entry.
And my bag arrived all the way from Sochi.
The bad?
They close all but one TSA Checkpoint after 7,
And the TSA PreCheck lane closes at 7?
What the actual fuck, TSA?
You can do one or the other, but not both.

I had one more segment- EWR-JAX, and of course, there was one fly in the ointment.

I made it to Jax, but my bag of course stayed in Newark.
Any other time I could give a shit, but this time I have a short turnaround- I need my stuff. I have laundry to do and to repack...
I kept my cool and tried to charm the Lost Bag girl...
The bag will be in at 11, then they have a 3 hour window to deliver it.

Never mind, I'll come get it in the AM.
Which I did...
So now, Sunday AM, and I'm heading back to the airport...
Then 2+ hours to IAH, and 3+ hours to LAX, then 653,863 hours to SYD.
This is going to suck...



Old NFO said...

Ah yes, the 'joys' of international travel... Any pigs/chickens in the overhead on the flight to Istanbul? If not, I got you beat on that one! And yeah, bathing IS optional in a lot of places over there... I used to carry Vicks vaporub for that... high 80's in SYD when I left last week.

Unknown said...

Oops!! Let see what will happen with human passenger of Hawaii. May be their co passenger will be dog , chicken or goat.

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