Hugfest2017: Day 1 (part 1)

Oh my stars, it’s been a long week.

I realise it’s Tuesday, but I’m talking from last Tuesday till now, it’s been… eventful.

So I’m gonna break down the days as best possible, but I will say this actual week so far has finally been a bit slower paced and that’s good.

Tuesday Jun 27 – woke up at 712am, had my last day of snuggles and cuddles for awhile with the furgirls, and panicked that I wasn’t going to make everything fit in my luggage that I could possibly need for doing crafts and wearing clothes and every possible scenario under the sun. Thankfully, Sheila was there to help, and got me back on track, sorted me out well, and in return, I made us a fab lunch (I sure could go for a wrap right about now as I write this!), and debated about taking a nap. It didn’t happen. I hopped on Flight BA2156 and headed for Gatwick Airport, in London. The plane left at 8pm, Antigua time, and got in at 905am England time.

I didn’t sleep on the plane. I got all my luggage (why did I pack so many heavy objects??) and found out that my flight to Paris would be leaving from the North Terminal (I was currently at the South, so I had to hop the shuttle that runs between both – like a subway train, and it’s so funny because it announces that the ride is exactly 1:45seconds long, but due to weather, it’s going to be likely arriving in one minute thirty eight seconds. Maybe it was overtiredness, but that made me giggle). I arrived at the North terminal, just after 11am, I was allowed to use the automated machine to check my largest suitcase for the flight to Paris later in the afternoon. I had TONS of time. Man oh man, did I have to pee. But no rest for the wicked, right? Gotta find where my plane leaves from… I followed the mass exodus of mortals down a long corridor and into a brightly lit area full of restaurants, information booths, bathrooms, etc. But nope, no matter how hungry or badly I needed to pee, I had to stay put.

I need to backup. When we arrived at Gatwick, my phone automatically connected to the wifi, and started to drain the 90 minutes free internet service the airport provides. DAMMIT!!!!

Well, as the cliché states, best laid plans… 13 of us were watching one board click with details about our flight, while the rest of the passengers to be were watching others. When we first got into the waiting area after we passed through security, the flight for EasyJet was still showing that it would tell the gate at 1300. Then it was 1330. Then 1500. Then it disappeared off the board. It was 1535 when I realised we should be boarding, and several of us went at the same time to the Information booth. One older Info booth lady took me and a young mom of two kids (one was in a stroller) and we went to see about what could be done. I don’t have a credit card, so it’s not like I can be able to make other flight arrangements. We had to go back through security, and by that point, most of the others who had missed the flight as well (though it didn’t leave for awhile, the gate was closed and it was too late for us to board the plane.)

The issue was only compounded by the fact that it was now almost 2pm current time (9am Antigua time, meaning I’ve now been awake 26hours straight), and so begins the craziness of my brain beginning to melt slowly. I stood in queues. I talked to security. I stood in more queues. I begged for lines to hurry up so I could pee.

This screen glitch was laughed about later by individuals wearing airport badges, and I really hope they can’t sit properly on any comfy seat for the next 8 weeks. Okay, that was even harsh for me, so let’s make it 3 weeks. That’s better. Moving on.

The next few hours dragged by as I was dealing with trying to get ahold of my checked bag (that has the bridesmaid’s dress I NEED for the wedding!), trying to find some way of connecting to the internet to let everyone know what’s going on, and try to find some corner hopefully so I could possibly sleep. Well, that didn’t happen. At the roughly 32hrs awake mark, I tried my phone’s internet, not having seen the fine print on anything because – well, I didn’t know it had connected, so I didn’t see a need to read ToC of something I hadn’t done yet. *queue snarky face. Nope, add more snark. There ya go*.

I wandered around the lower floor of the North Terminal spent £1.30 on a water (oh these lids are so fun!) and realised that I could use the Internet Access Kiosk terminals that were close to the area I got the water from. Plug in a bunch of coins, and BAM! ONLINE! FINALLY!

But I made the mistake of not really thinking it through, and my first foray online was just over 18 minutes long. Tried to get all the intel out to the world that was necessary, and got rewarded with people wanting to instantly help, while others were… let’s say not quite as helpful. I was running out of time, and realised my brain was officially almost mush, so I said I’d brb and took off slowly, painfully, without my main luggage still, off to find some food for the first time since about 3am the night before on the plane.

On the main floor, there’s a large cafe called Costa. I found a sandwich, a lemon tart (holy sourpuss, now I get why Brits get a bad wrap, they have crazy strong sour collectors! Dang that thing had superpowers!) and some wannabe frozen hot chocolate that was nice and cold but less nice than cold and definitely NOT a frozen hot chocolate. ((I miss Second Cup!!!))

Armed with the luggage that was now giving me blisters, bruises, and other bumps of sadness, I once again stopped off in the kiosk near my internet access point and bought yet another water. No, I had NOT finished the first one, thank you for asking. But I might be finished that big bottle today. It’s adorable! My stars was I tired.

At 6pm current/1pm previous time (30hrs awake), I was back online, this time for a whopping 121minutes (do not ask me why it didn’t just say 2 hrs, but whatever. Plans had changed, and I had to once again, finish the conversations in a hurry in order to get upstairs to check to see if my checked baggage was taken off the plane and out of the holding bay yet. It had only been off the plane for 5 freaking hours… and no. 8:07pm I was informed by yet another security person that the bags were still not in yet, but to check at 9:30/4:30pm. I’m dragging these two heavy pieces of luggage around, have 0 coins on me, and offer two lovely gentlemen five quid (pounds) if they just let me have their trolley so I can put my two heavy-as-fuck bags down. They make change for me, and one pats my left arm, telling me I look like I could use a strong cup of coffee. Thankfully, there’s a small COSTA (more like a Starbucks than a Tim’s) kiosk up on the second floor, and I grab a oatmeal seed cranberry thing and an Americana, and I think I might have uttered “I love you” to the cashier as she handed me the coffee. I don’t remember drinking most of it. There were internet access terminals near that kiosk, but none of them were working, and I needed a viable printer anyway.

Back downstairs, I’m online again, but now I have a trolley, and it’s so much easier to push shit around than lugging it. I’m not even kidding, my back was so fucking done by that point, if the terminal was to catch on fire for any reason, I’d be like OOH nice warm toasty fireplace. Goodnight! ZZZzzzzzzzzz

I’m chatting to a few friends, and they are starting to sense that my rational thought is quickly depleting. I mean like I am pretty sure when someone asked me what time it was, I think I said something about a frayed shoelace. I am scared to check, because you should never be held responsible for the shit that comes out of your mouth over 32hours awake. This might and probably will come into play in a character’s story arc at some point, because holy fuckwads, I was a mess.

I think I may have made like 10 new facebook statuses over the course of an hour alone.

Plans were changed. No more Paris – I would have had to wait at the airport (no extra money to go to a hotel and wait it out) until Friday afternoon, and that was a STANDBY ticket, so not even a guarantee. Hella nope on a rope.

I was able to print out a bus schedule and confirm where it was leaving from – directly 40 steps away from the internet kiosk I was using (*YAY!*) and it would be leaving at exactly 430-530 (there were two buses, so if I caught the first one, that was okay, but I had to make sure I was on at least the 530 one or I’d miss my bus to Manchester) – and I updated my status again. I put 635 on it, as that was on the right side of the paper and my brain was reading the left and stating only the right. Derp.

At 32.45hrs ish being awake, I was offline again, and figured that was a good time to check on my baggage. It was! *drumroll of drama* YAY! Finally reunited with my baggage, and it’s only taken me 33.25hrs awake to now be able to find somewhere quiet to sit and ponder life. Since it was nearly 10pm/5pm where I am/was, people were either getting ready for bed or getting ready for an evening meal. I had that granola thingy over a couple hours before, but I needed somewhere to kick off my shoes for a bit.

I have to point out that the washrooms have very cute toilets. The ones near the Costa cafe on the main level are well taken care of, smell clean and fresh, and are super bright. It might have been that I was close to 34hrs awake and was sensing EVERYTHING super intensely, so it might have been a dimly lit cave for all I would know.

… to be continued…

Sera Hicks on Blogger
Sera Hicks
Creative Journey Leader, Intern Supervisor, Admin, Writer at Geeks and Geeklets
Geeky Hobbit-loving Whovian. Lover of chocolate, cats, and crafty things. Writer, Creative Journey Leader. It has to be better tomorrow.