It’s over. There’s no way out of the United Kingdom. A friend took his scooter down to the Eurostar office in London and found a line 200 people long in front of it. By the time he would have reached the front of the line there would not have been a single space on any train. I can’t drive out because I’d need to take a ferry or book a spot on a train for the car out of this large island. The ferry ride is very long and the drive would make it longer. It would make more practical sense to take the next available flight out of London, which is Tuesday, April 20. I’ve made my reservation on that flight now. I’m stuck in London for four extra days. I can only hope that the winds are in my favor and that the volcanic ash will allow me to leave on the 20th.
I’m absolutely heart-broken. I travel all the time. But I organize my home and work schedules very delicately around all my travels. Now that it’s disrupted, my home and work schedules are also disrupted.
Most importantly at home, two of my children needed my help in their studies as their final exams near. They were so happy that I was actively involved in their studies. Now I’ve left them alone to fend for themselves. Their aunt is staying and will help out. But they still need their mother.
My work schedule has gone all a muck as well. I’ll need to seriously consider cancelling a business trip to Italy in May because of what this trip now has done to the children. After this, there is no way I can jump on a plane in less than three weeks to come back to Europe. No way.
Regardless of all this, I’m going to try to forget everything and have a nice day in London. It’s beautiful out this sunny Saturday morning. I’ve been to London several times but have never had the time to do some sightseeing. Perhaps this is a sign from the Gods that it’s about time to get on with it and see the sights of London.
We always see news items on TV about people getting stranded in airports for a variety of reasons: strikes, civil disturbance, and natural disasters. I never thought I’d be in this situation myself.
I came to London on a very short trip. I had two days of meetings. I organized my travel to arrive the night before and leave the evening later. While in London on our first day of meetings, we heard of the volcano that erupted in Iceland and that it might disturb flight schedules. I hardly thought twice about it. That type of thing doesn’t happen to me. It happens to other people. And how could a volcano in Iceland affect my flight back to Cairo from London? Ludicrous!
It’s not. I’m now stranded in London trying desperately to get back home.
Friends on Twitter are envious. One could really be stuck in a worse city. But I have four children at home that really do need me. I need to get home.
All night last night I was thinking of ways to get back.
We have a contemporary history of Egyptian immigrants being illegally smuggled out of Egypt to southern Italy by sea. If I could only find those smugglers and get me a trip on the return route back to Egypt. But where does one find a smuggler?
Of course by morning I was thinking more clearly. The plan now is to find a flight out of another southern European country before they are all booked up and to try to beat the south-easterly winds that are causing the volcanic ash to spread all over Europe. I need to beat the ash to southern Europe and get out as soon as possible.
I’m now in a desperate race against time. Find a plane out of southern Europe and a train to that southern European country, all in time before the ash arrives.
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