Saturday, 10 September 2011

Ibiza: The Aftermath

Kayt is coming round and we are going to open me up a proper bank account, not that dodgy one that Family Thrift 'sorted out' for me... I still have twenty euros in there actually, but last time I went they wouldn't let me get it out, I reckon HSBC and Family Thrift are in it together. But they can keep my twenty euros- I'm just happy to be far, far away from them and their polenta rations.

I reckon I have just enough time to round off my Ibiza story before Kayt arrives and we embark upon the frustrating Life Challenge that is Opening A Bank Account In France.

So, I had six and a half hours to wait at Ibiza airport all on my lonesome and I didn't feel very 'with it'. The airport was practically empty, so I found three chairs and lay down on them, with my feet hooked over my suitcase and my head and arms around my hand luggage. I hoped that because I was so in the open, anyone trying to rob me as I slept would be seen and stopped. I slept for about two hours, then the airport started filling up with people and I had to sit up and look lively.

I can't really remember what I did to fill the time... I listened to music and stared at the wall for about forty minutes, I even tried listening to Michel Thomas: Learn French, but Michel gets on my nerves at the best of times ("I want to, I want to do it, I think I would like to do it.... je veux." -which one is it Michel?? It can't mean three different things! Organise your thoughts- some people paid good money for them!) and sitting in the airport killing time after four nights in Ibiza is not the best of times.

There aren't really any shops or caf├ęs on the 'non-checked in' side of Ibiza airport, but I found one place that sold tea. I wandered over about lunch time and asked for an Earl Grey, which turned out to be a tiny, empty cup and a sealed teabag. I had to locate the jug of hot water, fill the cup, open the tea bag, then squish the teabag into the tiny, hot cup. I wouldn't really call it a 'cup of tea' per se, but it had been so long since I'd had a brew at all that my little paper cup of bitter, black water was one of the most welcome cups of tea I have ever had.

The departures board said that my flight to Paris was 'delayed' and there was no other information, so I kept checking it occasionally but I knew I wouldn't be flying at 4pm. At about 3pm I went and sat outside the airport and read my book. It was a gorgeous day and I felt stupid for not getting out into the fresh air earlier.

I decided to go in and check the boards at about half three. When I got inside there was a huge crowd of people queuing for two Easyjet check-in desks. My flight was Easyjet. I looked at the board and it said next to my flight 'Boarding- 15:40'.

'That's all right,' I thought 'Check in doesn't open for another ten minutes.'

In the back of my head a little voice was trying to tell me that there was something wrong with that sentence, but I calmly pushed all doubts aside and took a seat, waiting to see if the queue would go down. It didn't look as there were any staff at the check-in desks, so I thought I better join the back of the queue in case they didn't start checking-in for ages

I stood at the back of the queue, but I wasn't even sure if this was the right place to be or not. 'Boarding- 15:40.' It was about quarter to four at this point and still nobody had come to the check-in desks. I looked up at the boards to check if there was any new information and then it hit me.


The plane was BOARDING at 15: 40. Boarding means GETTING ON THE PLANE.

I felt like I was slipping under water... What was wrong with me? What was WRONG with me?? I have flown on my own five times this year, I know exactly what to do at the airport. I am always the one waiting by the gate an hour before the flight leaves, with my passport and my flight information inside my special Travel Wallet that my nana bought me on Great Homer St.

Normally in these situations, a list of possibilities runs through your head, a list of helpful solutions your brain offers up before you have the chance to go into meltdown... But this time, there was nothing. I looked into my brain, desperately looking for help, but my head was empty. It was just a white, blank nothing.

Then, pushing through the crowds came two flustered (but not completely freaking out, not yet) women and they asked me if I could speak French. In my panic I forgot that I can't speak French, so I answered yes, and then we managed to have a perfectly coherent exchange in which I understood they were on the same flight as me. Yesssss. If they were here, surely it was ok that I was here too?

The check-in finally opened and the two French women pushed their to the front. I was just debating whether to do the same when the lady at check-in called 'Paris? Paris?' Ignoring the angry retorts from everyone I manoevered around (demanding in every European language why I was pushing to the front), I made my way to the check-in desk. My baggage wasn't overweight, my plane hadn't left... I was checked in. All was fine.

"They are boarding your plane now, go quickly" the check-in lady said politely.

That panic again. I asked her where to go and then I ran there. I wasn't sure if they would let the plane leave without me, considering I had already checked in, but there seemed no sense in Testing Fate.

I leapt up the escalators to see a huuuuge long line of people snaking its way from me to Security. I wondered if I would be able to push to the front, seeing as my plane was boarding? However, seconds after joining the back of the queue, I was almost at the front. It was a fast-moving line and I breathed a sigh of relief. Remembering all the phones and keys and 'musical contraptions' in my hand luggage, I started organising myself before I got to the front.

I took out everything I would need to put in one of those little trays, including my travel wallet. I couldn't remember if you needed to put your passport in the tray as well. I opened the wallet. The A4 piece of paper with my flight details on it was folded up in one side and in the other side- there was nothing. Where I had been expecting the important maroon of my passport; there was just the blue material of my wallet and it made me sick to my stomach.

I checked the other side again... nothing. Nothing. I threw my bag down on the floor and rifled through it. It must be here it must be here it must be here it must be here. People were tutting as they stepped over me, but I didn't have the brain capacity to think it might be a good idea to move. All I could think was it must be here it must be here it must be here. But it wasn't. It wasn't there.

I felt like I was drowning. Had I left it at the hotel? No, I checked in. I obviously had it when I checked in. I tried to remember having the passport in my hand, taking it off the woman at check-in, but my mind drew a blank. Then I remembered, I had a fladsh-back to her holding it out to me, so I definitely didn't leave it at check-in.

Panic panic. Would they hold the plane? What if I missed my flight? I had thirty pence in my bank account. If I went back to Sant Antonio, could I get a job on the nasty tourist strip selling shots to rowdy boys from Sheffield, dragging my suitcase behind me, sleeping on the beach until I had saved up enough to buy a flight home?

There was a man in uniform stood behind me, making people wait and then telling them to go forwards to Security. I left all my shit on the floor and reached out to him. It seemed to take hours to get to there, it was like walking through mud, but eventually I was there, pulling on his arm, my brain trying to force words through the cloudy panic swirling in my head.

"HOLA!" was the first word that got through. After that it got a bit more difficult. "HOLA!"

He looked at me, frowning.

"I have lost my PASSPORT. Please can you... por favor... can you watch," here I did the internationally accepted sign language for him watching my bag- point two fingers at my eyes and jab them towards my bag, repeat X 2- "my bag? Por favor? I've lost my PASSPORT and I need to look for it!"

The man in uniform looked puzzled. Then, like a beam of light directly from heaven or fairyland or wherever you believe good things come from, a fat Spanish man stepped forwards.


In his chubby god-like hands he held out to me a maroon-coloured passport. I checked the picture but I knew it was mine anyway. I could just feel it was mine.

"Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh grazias grazias grazias thank you thank you thank you!"

The man in uniform and the fat Spanish man were looking at me quite sternly, but the fat Spanish man had a wife and she was smiling at me, so I aimed my thank yous at her.

Oh my DAYS. How lucky was it that the Spanish man who found my passport happened to be at that particular point in the queue? Actually, now that I think about it... perhaps that's where he found it. All this time I have been envisioning him finding it on the escalators and carrying it with him to Security, but why would he do that? It's all making sense now... I must have dropped it when I started 'organising' my stuff. He must have picked it up and before he could think what to do with it, saw a panic-stricken English girl yelling 'HOLA! PASSPORT!'

I am just grateful that I got my passport back and I didn't have to spend the weekend working the strip.

Once I had my passport, I whizzed through security and found my gate. It said 'Gate Closed' but before I could explode into thousands of tiny pieces, I noticed that, a few gates down, there was a queue of people, all wearing black and all looking pissed off: they had to be flying to Paris. I asked one of them if she was flying to Charles de Gaulle and she said "I believe so, but I don't know what is going on." All this was in French by the way. I felt very proud of myself. Obviously the key to speaking another language is to get rather fucked in Ibiza, then almost miss your plane, despite being six and a half hours early for it.

I finally, finally boarded the plane and I felt so relieved. I actually didn't feel horrible about going back to Paris, despite moaning all week about it. When the plane landed I felt really good about being back in Paris. After all the (self-inflicted) drama at Ibiza airport, Charles de Gaulle
felt familiar and safe.

The only problem was I didn't really have anywhere to go as I hadn't heard from my new au pair family. I really didn't want to turn up at their house in the state I was in.

I one-belled Kayt and she rang me right back. "Welcome back! Have you got enough money for the bus? I've got to meet my sister off the Eurostar, but you can make your way to mine!"

Ah it was so nice. In Ibiza airport I had felt like I was in freefall, with no friends to help me out if things went wrong and not speaking the language. I think in some ways it was good that everything went wrong- maybe the universe was telling me 'You can't rely on your friends all the time, nobhead.'

After speaking to Kayt, my new au pair family sent me a text to say that the gardienne would be waiting for me with my keys. I got on the nice AirFrance bus (fifteen euros but soo worth it) back to Paris and made my way to my New Home. I really like it! It's tiny though, a lot smaller than last year, but the location makes it worthwhile.

Kayt came round and we ate soup and bread and I told her all about Ibiza. She said "It doesn't sound as if you had a good time." But I did have a good time, I was just ill for a lot of the five days, but the memories of being sick on the dancefloor and having to go home early three nights out of four will soon fade... the Good Times, such as arriving at DC10, the Carl Cox moment, drunken tapas before Amnesia... those will be the times I remember a year from now.

By the way, I am now writing this blog post on Sunday...

Being back in Paris felt surreal. After planning my summer for months, I couldn't believe it was over and that my new era in Paris had started. I thought the summer would last forever, but it turned out to be the fastest four weeks of my life.

My first weekend back in Paris, I just slept and I still felt pretty fucking awful. I slept all day on Saturday, waking up just to catch the sunset outside my little window, then I fell back asleep and didn't wake up until the next afternoon. On Sunday night Kayt came round again and then I slept some more. Monday was my first day back at work and luckily I was feeling almost normal.

Since I've been back, I've spent far too much time on the internet, but it's been nice to look at people's photos from our holiday, to know that everyone else has been suffering from 'the Ibiza Blues'. This time last year I was feeling the same way, but I had something else to worry about back then... going to Paris. I was absolutely terrified. I've just read the first ever blog post I ever posted on here:

Nightmare Packing

Ahh, I can't believe I wrote 'But everything has to end, even Paris will end soon. Well, in ten months, but time flies by so fast that these days I can sense the end of something before it has even started.'

Even then I was obsessed with things ending before they have even begun. Wow. I have just depressed myself, a lot.

Here is the first ever post I wrote from Paris, exactly a year ago today!

Awkward Times from Paris

In other news, I have written so, so much on my blog this past week-I know it is sad and I promise I'll stop. I'm going to get out and about and enjoy Paris, rather than mull over the past. Speaking of Mulling things Over, I might be returning to England much sooner than I reckoned on... I didn't think I could afford to go back for Halloween Mulletover but my mum just texted me saying I have received an unexpected Tax Rebate of £100!!!! I really should use it to pay off my credit card.


I don't want to.

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