Saturday, May 26th 2008
Ok, so this is how the story goes:
Bear has known OP for 16 years now. They met in Vienna, Austria 16 years ago, when OP studied here. During all these years Bear and OP stayed in touch. Bear had quite a hard summer for various reasons in 2007 and OP invited Bear over to get away from Bear's thoughts and fears. When Bear finally decided on the right time for a holiday, it told OP and booked a flight. Bear's parents were so nice to pay half of it for a Christmas and Birthday present. The countdown started.
Bear's flight was due on April 26th at 8am. Since Bear had to go to work on the day before, it already started to pack things two days before. Very unusal for Bear, since Bear *always* packs its thing the night before. But this time Bear was a bit nervous - well for a change it was not GreatBritain Bear was going to. So Bear thought of that holiday, so far away, a bit different and was afraid to forget something important or being not ready on time. And since Bear is also a bit older now, it needs its goodnight-sleep and didn't want to think about getting to bed at 2am and having to get up again at 4am - not a good idea! So Bear finished packing on Thursday 24th. Bear was proud.
April 26th!! Bear had to get up at 4am, packing the rest of the stuff (toothbrush, make-up,...), gulping down some coffee and trying to have a bite or two of breakfast. Bear's father was so nice to drive Bear to Vienna airport - they had to be there at 6am. Bear's flight was due at 8am. They were there on time, looked for the correct Check-In-desk, found it and Bear handed over its e-tickets.
Bear's original flights should have gone from Vienna to London Heathrow, then Bear should have changed by itself to London Gatwick and get the connection flight to Dallas. Four days before Saturday, Bear was told that American Airlines had changed their flights and Bear did not have to go to Gatwick - connection to Dallas would be at Heathrow. Bear was glad and not too happy at the same time. Bear was not too keen on changing airports but not too keen on London Heathrow either, as Bear does not really like that airport...
Anyway, Bear handed over its e-tickets and that nice lady told Bear not to forget to change airport in London. Bear was a bit confused and told her, that Bear had been told not to change airports and handed over the mail that said so. The nice lady looked at it, checked her computer and told Bear that Bear was right, but unfortunately the computer-system still said the wrong thing and that she didn't know how to change it. She told Bear to wait there and she will get the American Airlines lady who should get Bear the new ticket. Bear waited. And waited. And waited. And watched others checking in, while Bear's father went outside to smoke (he didn't want to leave before he was sure, Bear was safe on its flight - nice, eh?!). While Bear waited it tried to figure out which ones of the passengers who checked in would be flying to Texas aswell. Bear guessed right nearly all the time... Bear got pretty nervous now. Bear had waited for 45mins when the lady noticed that Bear was *still* waiting there and said, she'd check with the American Airlines lady. Unfortunately they hadn't managed yet to change Bear's tickets. Bear was really nervous now. After all it was only 6am and this is how Bear's holiday should begin?!
A young man came up and told them that this couldn't be *so* difficult to do, made two, three clicks, grinned at them and handed Bear its new tickets. Bear was happy. Bear said goodbye to its father and off Bear went. No more problems at Vienna airport.
On the flight to London, Bear was surprised how nice the BA-flight attendants were. And how funny the captain was. When the plane flew over London, the captain told the passengers about the sights they could see and the flight attendants went around and pointed them out. The BA-flight was on time. But Heathrow wasn't. Bear had to stay on the plane, waiting. The captain was already pretty pissed off and also told his passengers! He said that it was pretty frustrating that we had to wait here on the runway for our gate to get ready and that it was Heathrow's fault and he didn't know why they weren't ready. They had known before that the flight was on time, but still weren't hurrying up. After quite some time, the passengers were allowed to get off.
At London Heathrow, Bear had a bit of time, went around, looked for some place to have a cigarette, couldn't find any (no more smoking in GreatBritain's airports!) and waited for the monitors showing the correct gate to go to. It took ages to do so. Bear was bored. And Bear got nervous again. Even the flights due after Bear's flight were boarding already. But not Bear's flight to Dallas. Bear asked a bunch of men who looked like they were going to Texas aswell (yes, it's possible to spot them!) if they knew anything about that flight. They assured Bear that it still had to wait. While waiting they chatted about things to do and see in Fort Worth and then - finally - the gate was displayed. Off they went. And had to wait again at the gate. Bear was bored - again. So much waiting. Bear doesn't like to wait.
At last, they were allowed to board the plane and finally headed off for Dallas. AA-flight attendants were pretty old. Bear had never seen elderly flight attendents before and neither had it seen so many male ones. Bear was seated next to a man. At first they didn't talk. Bear tried to sleep but couldn't quite. Bear can't sleep sitting. The man next to Bear could. Bear was tired.
They finally started to talk when they had to fill in the green and white documents for being allowed to go to the US. He was Mexican and was going home now from a friends' wedding in Scotland. Bear is a big Scotland-fan, so they talked quite a lot about Scotland, then about themselves and Bear told him about its friend OP and visiting him and so on. When they were about to get into Dallas, Bear and that man exchanged email-addresses and said that they would visit each other.
Dallas, finally. Bear was tired but happy. But there were still the new restrictions on going into the US that Bear had not experienced yet and Bear was curious. The Mexican Gerardo waited for Bear and told Bear what they would do: taking fingerprints, taking a picture and asking funny questions. The questions on the white green document were quite funny already and Bear wondered how they would be able to top that. Gerardo was through already when Bear finally got to the security checks. The questions were not so funny. Normal questions: where do you come from, why do you come here, what will you do here, who will you visit, ... things like that. Funny was, that the guy at the security check started to chat with Bear. They chatted for quite a while when he handed Bear its passport and whished Bear a nice holiday. Bear looked at him and said: "What? No fingerprints, no picture?" The man looked at Bear, swore silently and asked for the passport again. He had forgotten it! So they took fingerprints, which was not so easy as it was too light and then they took Bear's picture and Bear asked wether it could see that one to check if it's ok. He turned the screen round and Bear approved.
Gerardo was waiting for Bear. Bear's luggage arrived pretty soon (good, because Bear was worried that its luggage would be stuck in Heathrow), they said goodbye to each other and off Bear went. OP was already there, reading a newspaper waiting for Bear. Bear has made it and was finally in Fort Worth, Texas with OP. Bear was happy.