A Day Late, A Buck Short

Trip Start Apr 01, 2010
Trip End Apr 18, 2010

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Flag of Canada  , Quebec,
Monday, April 19, 2010

I'm back in Montreal, and I can honestly say that I have never been happier to be home.

My very long day began with a metro ride to the Madrid airport. The metro was fast, efficient and cheap, and took me right to the terminal. Gotta love it!

At the airport, there was selective chaos. All of the airline ticketing and service counters were overwhelmed with massive crowds and lineups that seemed to go on for days. On the other hand, the check-in counters and the gates were orderly and relatively quiet. My flight to Philadelphia was chock full of other "stranded" passengers. Some of them had amazing stories, including the couple who paid a private driver over three thousand euros to drive them from Paris to Madrid to catch this flight, and the man who'd been trying to get home from Uganda. Unanimously, everyone was feeling incredibly lucky to be on the flight at all, since it was one of the few going to North America from anywhere in Europe.

I had one of the worst seats on the plane - near the toilets, with no legroom and a seat that wouldn't recline - but I didn't care. I would have happily hung onto the plane's wing upside-down if it meant getting home. I was feeling pretty sick, what with my cold and sinus pressure from the takeoff and landing, and spent an uncomfortable eight hours getting to Philadelphia, but the main thing was that I made it. That's more than can be said for the hundreds of thousands of other stranded passengers. When the plane landed, there was a lot more clapping than usual.

A couple of hours' layover in Philadelphia, with the usual hassles of transiting through the United States - something I'd intended to avoid on this trip, but oh well, small price to pay. Then, the home stretch: a short-hop commuter flight from Philly to Montreal. That one was easy as pie. I nearly cried tears of joy when I saw the Olympic Stadium come into view as we approached for a landing just before sunset. There was an amazing rainbow visible over the Jacques-Cartier bridge, and I could even see my apartment from the air. Welcome home!

Thus, the saga of my return from Morocco comes to a close. Incredibly, I managed to make it home only a day later than originally intended. I know it's not much help to the people around the world who are still stranded, but I'm considering myself as one of the incredibly lucky ones right now, and thanking my stars to be back.

In the coming days, there will be airlines and insurance companies to deal with, paperwork to process, work and life to catch up on. But for now, I'm opting for a shower and a long, uninterrupted sleep. More stories and a trip summary to follow!


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