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Two days in the life…

Posted on Saturday, March 15th, 2008

Time 06:00 gmt +1
time since leaving home : 1 hr
It starts badly. I take the 6.05 train from Rennes to Paris CDG. It’s 5.55am. I just drove from home. Didn’t stop for coffee. Those of you aquainted with country living will like that one. Arrived at La Gare. Bought my ticket. Bugger me, it’s expensive. One way. Last minute. Make a valued decision to go in 2nd classe. I probably belong there. Mercifully 2nd class is empty. Not a person in my coach, which is quite lucky as I have a free seat assignment.
No one else.
46 seats.
All to myself.
I stow my things and doze off. Keira Knightley nuzzles up to me. Audrey Tautou is on my lap. A choir of angels provides the soundtrack.
“Pardon, C’est mon siege..”
Well of course it would be, arse face, I think while, moving all my things to an adjacent seat and saying ‘Oh, Pardon, Pardon’.
6am, no coffee and 45 free seats and I have this complete git moving me after I was getting nuzzled. In the new world order that I’m starting to plan, starting to plan I must stress, since deciding to entertain folks in far off places for the price of a train ticket, people like this, won’t be eliminated, just forced to take trains with likeminded assholes so that the rest of us can safely get on public transport without having to commit a mortal sin. On the other hand, Harry Lime had a point.
What ever

Time 09:30 gmt +1
time since leaving home : 4 hrs 30mins
I arrive at CDG at 9am for a 4.50pm flight to New York and then on to Lima at about 11pm local time. As must seem evident I’m a tad early. No other train could have got me to the airport on time. But that’s cool, I can go into Paris for the afternoon.
Or Not.
I thought there as a chance of an earlier flight but sadly (strangely) there wasn’t one. But they did seem rather happy to check me in so early and I watched my bags disappear down the ramp as they seem to do from time to time in this weblog. Um, OK, they’re checked to NYC. As events unfold, slowly throughout the day, the chances of them arriving anywhere where I need them (and trust me, after a day or two I need them..) become remote and the chances of them being sold from the back of a truck in Belleville seem more likely.
So they checked me in.
Later. Much, much fucking later, I was told that they should have told me of a delay but they didn’t because they were all high on crack, or fucked up from the excess of the night before or just retarded. Whichever way, they all worked for AMERICAN AIRLINES.
Take note Luis. There’s a theme here. FYI Luis, the young gentleman from Lima who arranged my flight, knowing that when life is beautiful I have nothing to write about, booked me on this route. I guess he knew that I wouldn’t be able to deal with the banality of a direct flight which gets there on time, with luggage arriving intact or, hey, maybe even a fee upgrade. . One thing is for certain though. The conquistadors probably didn’t use American Airlines when they defeated the Incas. They’d have been late.

Time 17:00 gmt +1
time since leaving home: 12 hrs
Apparently the flight is delayed. I’m at the gate, have been since the afternoon. Nada. Rien. Personne.
On the TV monitor it has said ‘delayed’ for the last few hours but there is no agent at the gate. At about 8pm an agent comes and when I suggest that I may have a problem catching my connection out of NYC tonight, I’m answered with, ‘Well you were told at check in sir.’ ‘Was I shite’, I duly reply, realizing that this would not improve my chances of getting anywhere tonight. Apparently because I’d checked in early they hadn’t told me, nor given me the vouchers for a free lunch and dinner as they had everyone else. Anyway, the flight was to be about 5 hrs late because of ‘weather’. There was me thinking that planes flew in weather every day, but apparently not this kind.

Time 21:30 gmt +1
time since leaving home: 17 hrs 30mins
Hey, we’re being boarded. The weather must be the right kind of weather now. It’s dark, though. The flight will now get me to JFK at midnight local time but, not to worry as an agent will meet me at the plane and give me hotel, food and transportation vouchers. I’ll have missed my connection to Lima but have been re-routed through Miami tomorrow. It’s a long flight. I sleep a little. Sleeping on the train was more fun. I don’t want to hear choirs of angels up here, thank you.

Time 01:30 est
time since leaving home: 25hrs 30mins.
I arrive at JFK, Terminal 4. It takes forever to clear immigration. I don’t even want to as I’m in transit but I have to go through with it all the same.
“Excuse me, where can I find the American Airlines agent?
Ah, there’s not one, um, OK. In that case, where can I find anyone who can help me?
Terminal 8, OK, yes, Take the skytrain, yup OK
I’m sorry, what did you say? It sounded like you said the terminal is closed until 3am.
Ah, OK, so I have to wait then… right, right, um OK.”

That’s the trouble with those small regional airports, huh?

Time 03.01 est
time since leaving home: 27hrs 01min
So those nice people at American Airlines give me a voucher for a hotel and tell me where I can jump on the shuttle bus. Of course the shuttle bus service starts at 4am. It’s really cold now. I’m starting to feel really unwell.I keep thinking of words that my friend Mark said to me in Italy a couple of weeks ago. “Allow it to be different.”

Time 04.15 est
time since leaving home: 28hrs 15mins.
I arrive at hotel and ask for a wake up call for 8am. Go to bed.

Time 09.15 est
time since leaving home: 33hrs
Wake up, shower, feel much better, drink coffee, go back to terminal 8, check my bag and am given a $5 voucher for food. I buy 4 espressos, line them up and knock them dead. Life is beautiful once more. That’s what I was thinking as I worked out that I wasn’t even half way to my destination yet. I “allowed it to be different.”

Time 11.40 est
time since leaving home: 35hrs 40mins
Take off on another American Airlines, to Miami his time. I work out that American are the only airline capable of making Air Canada look good. I arrive in Miami, looking forward to a quick lunch only to find myself taking the next flight from the same satellite and therfore, without leaving the terminal and waiting for god knows how long in line at security to come in again once more, I’m given the choice of starbucks or pizza hut for lunch. I pass. I read every magazine at the news stand, play all my favourite mental games, you know like, ‘what’s his name and profession?’ and ‘what does she look like naked?’ and the like. I’m bored, my laptop battery is low and I want to keep a little for the plane. The plane arrives. Once more I get on board. Oh Joy.

Time 17.50 est
time since leaving home: 39hrs 10mins
‘American Airlines are sorry to announce…..’ well you know the rest, really, don’t you? Delayed an hour and a half. Apparently the plane is overweight. Some people may have to get off. I feel a couple of hundred eyes staring at me, which seemed to say, “if he get’s off no one else will have to”. I ain’t budgin’. We eventually take off at 7.30pm It’s a 6hr flight so I sleep a bit, arrive in Lima at midnight local time then am horrified to see maybe 600 passengers in line before me for immigration, with only 6 of a possible 16 agents working. Get’s more and more like France here every day. I wait in line an hour and a half. Welcome to Peru. I’m met by Guillermo, who I remember from last time, go to the hotel, only to find the restaurant closed and sit quietly writing this little aide memoire.

Time 2am gmt-5
time since leaving home: 49hrs 10mins
Going to bed now. Many negative thoughts running around my head. Perhaps a little moment of doubt on my part but, hey, it’s OK, I’ll allow it to be different.

12 Responses to “Two days in the life…”

  1. Matthew

    Don’t know if it’s much of a consolation but I talked with a guy in Buenos Aires who is beyond excited to be seeing you there. I know it’s a few days off yet but hoping your trip goes well

  2. Mark Mushet


    I’ll be brief. As long as you don’t fly Air Canada, arriving at Vancouver International Airport is a delight and a breeze. Just avoid speaking in an eastern European language and flee when the RCMP show up brandishing tasers.

    Hint: come to Vancouver! I’ll meet you at the airport!;-)

  3. Judith

    Just be thankful that ryanair dont fly there.. yet.

  4. javiera

    Hey robin, i´m writing you from Chile, i´m not to good with english so i hope you have patience with me….i´m just writing you to say that you were great in Montemapu, the festival of the last weekend, i´m sorry if you have troubles with de sound and if you seem that your were a little bit “rockstar” but your music is too nice to lost the spice before….i´m very thanksfull to have the oportunity too see you alive…i´m very fan of you…and i have too say thanks for your work, and i hope we can see you another time in Chile….good luck !!! kisses

  5. Mike in York

    I feel a couple of hundred eyes staring at me, which seemed to say, “if he get’s off no one else will have to”

    … wtf??? Americans suggesting YOU get off the plane??

    the words pot, kettle and black spring to mind … As I’ve said before – I hope you are collecting these for your iminent autobigraphy.

  6. Victoria


    I am writing you from Chile. I had the opportunity to be with you at the show that gave in Alameda’s Theatre. I would like to thank you for all the beauty you have left in my life. Do not imagine how changed my perception of life after your simplicity and human qualities. Never my life was like after hearing your music, and will never be the same after meet you… You remember me the road to myself … Thanks for that!

  7. Dominic

    Apparently there are currently 19,000 items of luggage stacked up in the new Heathrow Terminal 5 building.

    There is probably a good chance that a fair proprtion of it belongs to you based on

    Hope the tour has gone well since you finally arived.


  8. gary

    it’s awesome to be watching daytime TV while on vacation and hear your sweet sweet music pouring out from a Neutrogena ad. Good stuff!

  9. ted

    Hey, what’s with the silence….stranded in another airport? I hope the reason for the lengthy silence is related to work on a new solo album…..yeah?

  10. clive

    too quiet Robin…. just a few words would be nice!

  11. Wans


    Any chance 4 You come to Brazil again?

  12. Col

    Nice to hear your music at the end of the film S.Darko, its been so so long since I heard those haunting melodies…

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