Debbie Does Dallas… and then some!!

by Debra Chappell

View from Seat 24E American Airlines Flight 520 (at 7:15 AM ):


Mood Reading:  ZZ’s (Not so great-spent the night at a casino/hotel in preparation for early flight – guy in next room on a winning streak and slamming doors all night and into wee hours – including the one sounding my alarm.)

So, here I am on a layover in Dallas after awaking at 4:30 this morning to catch the shuttle for an early flight heading to Barcelona.  I should be happy and excited at getting away, which I am, but still groggy and a bit grumpy from a less than stellar night’s sleep and the hurry-up-and-wait routine that has redefined air travel these days.  Am blogging from the airport during a 4 hour layover, waiting for a 9 hour flight to London with another layover and then on to Barcelona from there — justification for a few stiff margaritas if ever there was one!

We should have known how the day was going to go when both the hubby and I got detained at security check-in first thing, apparently posing a security threat in our Birkenstocks and Brighton jewelry respectively, prompting a swift search for the wayward over-the-limit tubes of shave gel and bug spray  – by 1.5 ounces no less!  To make matters worse, the security officer in charge lacked any sense of cultural sensitivity or understanding when the hubby displayed his quick wit and otherwise dry sense of British humor, and detained him needlessly for another 10 minutes just as a matter of principle.

Arrived in Dallas intact, if a bit wild eyed from all the caffeine consumed en route.  Grabbed a bite to eat and as advised, took the mono-rail to the International Terminal… and then back again after discovering our gate had been changed back to the terminal we’d just come from!  The whole process not quite amounting to “an ordeal” yet, but getting close, and the day is still young.

A couple of hours and another aircraft later:

Blog got interrupted by boarding our plane to London, finally – and no minor feat —  totally chaotic utilizing that most efficient of boarding systems; every-man-for-himself.

Little things in the universe of an airplane seem to take on a new significance, priority, and social strata (she says reflecting on her 35F center row seat assignment of the Boeing 777.)  An aisle seat on the outer flank for example, is a newly coveted position worth jostling over –  akin to a trendy loft in downtown Manhattan while the rest of us watch in envy from the ‘burbs’ – those center seats 5 across in the middle of the plane – as legs are stretched and the WC is accessed at will, seemingly without any choreography, forethought, or worry over who may be sleeping and how to crawl over them! I can only observe in silent resentment from my dwelling in the middle, the air equivalent of New Jersey. Ah well, at least I have a blanket to keep me warm.  Since our flight lands in London, they’re trying to acclimate us to the local weather by keeping the thermostat at a blistering (by English standards) 62 degrees.  I expect the bloody overhead sprinklers to come on at any moment…just to authenticate the whole experience.

I will be blogging from the road – hopefully the sights and sounds of Barcelona –  and then from England for my mother in law’s 90th birthday celebration. In typical Chappell fashion, combining work (his) with pleasure (mine).  And lest you be concerned with respect to accepted operating procedures regarding the dangers of announcing travel plans via Social Media, you will be comforted to know that our good friend Boris, the cross-fit trainer with pecs and biceps the size of watermelons is house sitting and starving the Rottweiler’s while feeding the plants.  He’s also keeping an eye on the over sensitive alarm system and the multitude of security cameras surrounding the place.  Besides, judging from the lack luster results of my last garage sale, I doubt we have anything that anybody would remotely want.  We couldn’t even get rid of the stuff left over on the sidewalk marked “FREE”, much less dare to hope that someone would haul off the old box TV that weighs a ton.

Since they’re coming ‘round with “dinner” now, a term I use loosely, I’ll sign off while deciding between the rubber Chicken and Rice or something being passed off as Cheese Tortellini’s.  I think it’s safe to say that the complimentary wine is the same though whether in an aisle seat or the hinterland, and most likely will be consumed gratefully by those in both locals.

**Note:  I was going to end here but we have now found ourselves on yet another flight totally unplanned – this one going to Paris!  Yep, we got to London an hour late and somehow British Airways saw fit to reroute us from our direct flight to Barcelona with an hour stop in London, to a more scenic and leisurely  itinerary including a 3 hour layover in London and then a little stop in Paris along the way – not long enough to take in a café and sip a good local Beaujolais mind you, but sufficiently inconvenient to totally screw up what remains of the journey and the day.  The hubby and I are thinking if we work at it, we could squeeze in pit stops at Nice, Marseille, Milan and Madrid while were at it!

Post Script – Finally arrived in Barcelona after colossal Mongolian Cluster F*&%!!  36 hours from the time we left Reno, bags still in Paris so I’ll be wearing same pink blouse  until luggage arrives “sometime manana”!  Not to worry, have credit card will travel and now we’re off to Las Ramblas on two hours sleep and more caffeine.  Tapas and a bucket load of Sangria will make it all better and the city is already looking pretty wonderful.  Could be worse, could be waylaid in DeBuque with no clothes and only Bud light, right?