Conference and the Volcano!

Trip Start Dec 05, 2009
Trip End Dec 05, 2009

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Flag of Dominican Republic  ,
Saturday, April 10, 2010

I was lucky enough to attend the Federation's (of Controllers: IFATCA) annual Conference held in an all inclusive beachside resort in the Dominican Republic. To keep costs down I flew Thomson charter return out of Manchester which meant an early (and I mean early)flight out of DUB. It was fantastic to be back amongst friends and I admire the good work of my colleagues who volunteer their time for this cause. And then the explosion! I was meant to leave on the Saturday but leave was not meant to happen.

Last time I had this much fun was when the Ozzies beat the Poms at Ashes. This time Iceland has beaten the European First Eleven Team at it. OK, we waive your debt; can you please turn off the volcano now.

It is certainly a personal catastrophe; a pain in the ash!, but let's be positive – good thinks may rise from these ashes. Don’t get me wrong – this could be a whole lot worse. So I noted a few exciting experiences.

BTW – with no TV coverage here in Punta Cana – and I include CNN in that statement – all these puns are my own good work.

Thomson Charter kindly took us from the departure gate to a fantastic resort (well it was when it was built in the 50s) and after only waiting six hours, agreed to put us up at no expense.  Let’s be clear – I am not complaining although there are only so many mojitos and pina colades (spell checks to "bonitos and pain colludes" maybe that means I haven’t had too many!). Includes all the food you can eat and a couple of nice pools plus the beach.


day one: swam, ate, checked at Thomson desk, swam, ate, checked, swam, ate, checked, blew up laptop adaptor fuse; paid eight greenbacks for around 17 kBs of internet access; missed family.

Day two: see day one. Additions: ran out of clean clothes (truth is this happened on day one minus three); washed jocks and socks and hung to dry in bathroom; upstairs neighbour’s toilet sprang a leak (sic) and filled up my bathroom ceiling cavity. Luckily I was doing things as per day one when the ceiling came down. Threw out toothbrush which was subjected to said water. (They used to use ash to make toothpaste!!!). Fortunate that the discothèque is so close to room; can’t hear mozzies swarming around inner ears and mozzies tended to stop noise at dawn.

Day three: AM: Mozzies not as bad last night (I went ashen when the folk next door mentioned how prevalent malaria is here); the stench from upstairs toilet water seems to be stopping them swarming under the doors where the rain water flooded in during yesterday’s storm (the same water to soak my bag. Luckily the dirty clothes - meaning every stitch I have here- - didn’t get wet as they were all in the laundry bag in the bathroom where the upstairs toilet water went. PM: After seven attempts, the flow of toilet water from upstairs has been stymied. Small bottle of mozzie repellent is twenty greenbacks; much better than paludismo, terciana, or  enfermedad infecciosa –  it is so popular that they have three words for malaria! Watched twenty minutes of CNN; mused over why American’s are complaining over low levels of education. Surely they could take those few trillion billion plasma TVs and block the volcano with them then at least the ash would be something you’d bother looking at!! Heading back to room to see if concrete saw has stopped in upstairs neighbours room. Still could be worse; I could be up there listening to some Ozzy idiot whinge every time the toilet was flushed. Resort is over capacity so they are looking for volunteers to change rooms (whingers first I guess). I guess I need to ash the question: if there are no rooms, where do we go? Laugh!

NB> This is when the power adapter for my laptop blew up. I eventually caught a bus to La Romana on the other side of Dom. Rep. and subloaded for any Thomson seats out to the UK. They kindly flew two 767s in empty and some poor soul left his passport back in the resort so I got a seat at the very last minute.

I arrived back home nearly a week late but safe; what a pleasure to be back with the family. Oh, and Thomson Charter did a great job looking after me. Oh and the IAA hit me up for my annual leave while I was stranded. World leaders though.

Another successful Conference.
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