Thursday, October 1, 2009

Planes, trains and automobiles... and a ferry, too.

Hey all! I'm finally back. I've been back since late Sunday night but I have been a bit unmotivated to write this post for fear that it will be a complete downer and vent-fest. My trip was definitely eventful, to put it mildly.

But before I get into all that, let me first say how happy I am to have been able to go see my good friend Brittany get married to the love of her life. Even with all that happened, that single experience made it worthwhile. I stick to my original assertion that I wouldn't have missed her wedding for anything.

That being said, it was the trip from hell. Ha! I know, I know, that sounds pretty dramatic, but dramatic this trip was. Here's the rundown:

First, we missed our plane. We were flying stand-by (the boy's mom used to work for United, so flying stand-by was the cheapest and really the only way for us to go) and planned to take the 7:40 a.m. flight out of LAX to San Francisco. But we were a few minutes too late to check our bags so we decided to go to plan B, which was to hop on the 8:20 flight. No biggie, right? Well, that flight was not only delayed due to low clouds in San Fran, it was also FULL. Still, we waited and waited and right before the plane was ready to depart, the agent called the boy's name. That glimmer of hope was dashed when he was told there was just one seat. 

We quickly left that gate and ran--yes, ran-- to another gate with a flight leaving for San Fran. It was our last chance. Luckily, it was a much bigger plane and we got on, in first class. I would have settled for coach just to get a seat, but it was nice nonetheless. However, the story doesn't end there. That flight was a bit delayed too because of those darn clouds. But once up in the air we thought we were fine, we'd make our connection. What we didn't plan on was for the pilot to fly around in circles above the San Francisco International Airport for 15-20 minutes while waiting for the clouds to clear. Or for the plane to taxi for another 10 minutes or so because something was wrong with the airport's gate system (literally, the plane didn't know where to go). And once we got to the gate, there was no one to open the plane door so we stood--all us passengers-- and waited for another 5-10 minutes. 

Despite hustling out of the plane and sprinting through the airport-- it was like a scene out of a movie, I swear-- we missed our plane by one minute. No joke. We got to the gate and the plane was still sitting there, but they had just sent the manifest. No one else could get on board. I thought I might cry but I held it together. My lungs weren't doing as well since all that running triggered my asthma. But more on that later.

So next we had to decide whether to wait for a much later flight out of San Fran to Victoria or to try to go to Vancouver instead. I was trying to make Brittany's bachelorette party, so we went the Vancouver route. We got on the plane pretty easily, but our baggage did not.

On our way to Vancouver, glad to be in a plane and in first class. The free wine and beer helped take the edge off, for a little while anyway.

Once in Vancouver (and after making a claim with the baggage people to get our luggage...), we had to get to Tsawwassen ferry, so we took a short metro ride to the bus terminal. We missed the bus by a minute. I'm not making this up! The next bus wouldn't come for 45 minutes and by that time we'd miss the 5 o'clock ferry so the boy and I and this friendly Canadian girl who also missed the bus grabbed a taxi. Not cheap but we had to get there.

Braving the cold and the wind on the ferry. Did you know you have to dress up when you fly stand-by? I do now. This dress was not my first choice of flying attire, but jeans and sweats were a no-go.

Passing some breathtaking islands.

Luckily, the hour-and-a-half ferry ride was lovely. We were pretty exhausted but we took the opportunity to look around and take pictures. Once in Victoria, we got into another taxi simply because it was easy. Again, it was not cheap, but we just wanted to get to the hotel. We checked in at 7:40 p.m.-- the bachelorette party started at 6. I knew the girls were in the middle of dinner, but I didn't know where, and I couldn't get a hold of Brittany (I found out later her friends made her turn her cell off...). I was sleepy and starting to get sick from all the running so even though I was totally and completely sad to miss the party, I passed out alongside the boy.

I would wake up the next day with bronchitis and without my bags. On Friday morning we had a bus tour with the wedding guests and all I had to wear was the dress and heels I planned to wear to the bachelorette party. But I made the best of it. The boy did too. We got our luggage later that afternoon and we're able to look more put together for the post-rehearsal get together at a local pub called The Stickey Wicket. Unfortunately, because of all the meds I took, all I drank was a pitcher of water!

Things were starting to look up but I started feeling worse. I have had bronchitis many times in my life and this is the fastest it's ever come on. And by Saturday, the day of the wedding, it had turned into the flu. I threw up that morning and had the chills and was seriously worried I had Swine flu! (I don't think I did, but at that point I didn't know.) I slept until the early afternoon when I finally got dressed to go see Brittany get ready (and still keep a healthy distance). 

So pretty! The bride with her sister/maid-of-honor (left) and a helpful friend.

The wedding was lovely, gorgeous, intimate... everything you could ask for in a wedding. But my voice was pretty much gone and after one spin on the dance floor I felt like passing out. I tried to be "fun Carissa" but I was totally bummed that I couldn't boogie with Brittany as much as I would have liked (though this night I did have two glasses of champagne, at least). I did catch the bouquet though, so that was fun. Mostly because I like to see the boy squirm.

Yay me! My heels definitely gave me a height advantage on this one.

I'd like to tell you the trip home was less hectic and stressful but it wasn't. The flight out of Victoria was painless. Such a cute airport Victoria International is, so different than the craziness that is LAX. Unfortunately, San Fran was the problem again. We couldn't get a flight to L.A. They had canceled a flight just before ours, which was at 6:20 p.m., and subsequently all four flights after were full. Instead, we had to fly to Burbank. But get this-- our luggage was in L.A. And so was our car.

Feeling sick and cold and tired, I ate airport soup and slept on the seats at our gate. I was a sight to be seen. I looked miserable. After the 1-hour flight, a 30-minute Super Shuttle ride to LAX, a trip to the boy's sister's house in Santa Clarita to pick up Hazel and then the 45-minute journey home, we walked into our apartment at 1:30 a.m. (technically, Monday morning).

So that was my crazy trip. For the last few days I have been recovering from my bronchitis/flu that morphed into a cold. I promise to post pretty, happy pictures from the trip later. But until then, thanks for reading this long rant and tell me: Have you ever had a traveling fiasco like this? If so, please share, it will make me feel better.

Though honestly, I'm not sure if anyone can top this.


Amber (Girl with the red hair) said...

OH NO!!!! I'm so sorry your trip ended up being like that, that really sucks!

I have NEVER had a problem with flying/luggage, and I fly at least 3-4 times a year to go home!! BUT, I do take a small airline and I've only flown internationally twice, both times with no problem!

Once again, so so so sorry to hear you had such a crappy trip, lady! Hopefully the next time you come to Canada it will not be so terrible of a trip! Stupid airlines!

PS: Why do you have to dress-up to ride standby??

Shoshanah said...

I hadn't had any flight disasters until a few years ago, but since they wow. At least now its been long enough that I can look back and be amused.

As for stories....

There was the time when they were loading the plane with bags and they managed to break the plane. This was at the New Orleans airport about 2 years after Katrina, and they hadn't had mechanics at the airport since the hurricane. I was only going to be gone for the weekend, and I had already missed my layover at this point so I canceled the trip.

Then last year I was supposed to fly to LA, and had a layover in Houston. Except that weekend was when Rita was supposed to did Texas, so my flight out of Houston got canceled. Luckily I called the airport around 4 am that morning so I wasn't stuck in Houston living through an airport.

I actually had two other airport disasters recently two. And this comments already a bit lengthy, but they're in my archives if you're curious!

marie said...

what a trip. Hope I will not experience that. I'm going to Hawaii next month for the bachelorette party of my friend.

rachel said...

Holy cow, that sounded like a disaster! I'm sorry you had to go through all of that. I hope you're feeling better now... you poor thing!

Whenever things go wrong with travel plans, it seems to be magnified so much. It's one thing when you have a bad day but you can just go home and take a bubble bath or watch tv... it's another thing when you're stuck in an airport.

Looking forward to seeing more photos of the wedding. Your friend looks beautiful! (And you look great in your dress – if I hadn't read your post but just looked at the photos, I wouldn't have had a clue that anything was wrong.)

Elizabeth Marie said...

you look gorgeous for having bronchitis! poor thing!! I haven't ever had problems traveling but it's always in the back of my head! What a good friend you are to tough it out for her.

And LOL at making the boy squirm.

Feel better love!

You Are My Fave said...

Airlines can be the worst to deal with. At least your floral dress for the wedding was adorable.

Kristin said...

I always wanted to catch the bouquet for some reason. Now that I'm married, there that goes. Ah ha. The bride's dress is so beautiful!