Shopping in the net

A short and intense Odyssey

06.05.2018 Amsterdam, NL

During the layover in the AMS airport I visit the bookstore and my attention goes to this pile:

 

I decide that it will be the right book for the next summer holidays, so I take a picture and keep it in the back of my mind (and in my phone too :) )

 

14.06.2108 Aarhus, DK

A task that usually takes some time is the planning of my business visits to the colleagues in the countries I’m responsible for.

This time I have to organize the visit to Argentina and Chile, so I reach out to the people there and find an agreement on the dates.

After a few iterations we have a deal and the meetings are scheduled.

Once scheduled, I make all the travel reservations.

Now everything is in place and any change in the date or time of the meetings would result in a big mess.

 

11.07.2018 Billund, DK & Frankfurt, DE

It’s Susy’s B-Day and we spend a beautiful day off celebrating it.

In the late afternoon it’s time to go: the flight for Argentina waits for me at 19:15 at the airport.

After the business trip I will start the summer holidays, so my Kindle is ready and the book found two months ago is downloaded.

Security scan: OK.

Departures timetable screens in the airport: NOK!

They start displaying the word that the travellers would never want to see: DELAYED.

I go to the gate and there are no additional info about it.

“Hi Luca”, I turn my head and I find one of my colleagues, who is going on vacation with his family.

We spend some good time together

and we find out that we have the same sunglasses….. actually the Italian flag on his glasses makes them much better than mine :)

After a while the bad news bring us back to reality: the airplane for Frankfurt has not left Frankfurt yet, so the delay is at least 1,5 hours.

Math cannot be tricked and it simply means that most likely I will lose my connection to Buenos Aires: it would have brought me to destination at 7:00 in the morning tomorrow, in time for the meeting in the early afternoon.

Not a good news.

A quick check on Momondo and it is clear that there are no chances to arrive in Argentina on time for the meeting.

This is really a bad news.

I reach out to the General Manager in Argentina: we agree that it sucks.

But we also agree that we will find a way to meet.

I suggest to meet in front of a drink and he likes the idea.

He will leave the day after tomorrow for his vacation, so the available time is really short.

The only good news?

With 1,5-hour delay I get into the plane and finally leave for Frankfurt.

Short flight, so instead of watching a movie or a series on Netflix, I go for the book: as the situation is going to be disappointing, the title is a good match.

After a few pages it is clear that it is actually a perfect match!

It is kind of an inspiration and I decide to follow it.

The plane lands in Frankfurt just a few minutes before the connection flight departure time: the latter doesn’t wait and the only thing I can do is going to the Lufthansa desk.

In the meanwhile I receive a new boarding pass from Lufthansa, through email: I have a seat tomorrow, in the evening flight.

No way. It would mean no options to meet my colleague.

At the airline desk a very kind and calm guy welcomes me.

I explain that I need to be in Buenos Aires as soon as possible; he finds a combination of flights that will arrive at 21:35.

My search in Momondo was better: arrival time – 19:35.

I push the guy a little bit and he finds it as well. The problem is that it is through Madrid and the connection time is “only” 2 hours and 20 mins, while the minimum allowed time (by the booking system) is 2 hours a 40 mins, so the IT system doesn’t allow him to proceed unless I declare that I will be responsible in case I will miss the connection flight.

I remember the book.

I take a deep breath.

I take also a second deep breath.

And now I can calmly explain to the kind guy behind the desk that they are completely responsible for the situation; so, just proceed with the reservation.

He needs to make a phone call and he discusses for a while, in German, about the situation.

Good.

Maybe it’s good.

At the end he says: ok, we can proceed.

Great.

But.

Always with a kind and calm voice, he simply says “Ops, there was only one seat available and it’s gone now”.

I search for some cameras: maybe I’m the victim of a joke and someone is having a lot of fun.

No cameras.

He is kind and calm, but also serious.

I am kind and calm, but also firm:

“N-o f-*-*-*-*-*-* w-a-y”

So he says “One moment” and he disappears for a some time.

The World Cup semifinal ends… I can read some news…. go through some fb posts…. check my email…. see the match highlights….

Then he is back.

Satisfied, he announces that everything is fine.

But.

(deep breath……)

In case the luggage didn’t make it, the company won’t delivery it to my hotel in Buenos Aires.

I don’t agree with that. Calmly, kindly and firmly.

But it is clear that the discussion is useless and I decide to take it in Buenos Aires.

Then, very fast and with a low voice, he also adds: “By the way, YouAreInWaitingListInTheSecondFlight”

“Sorry?”

No cameras.

It’s all real.

We kind of agree that everything will go well and my luggage and I will arrive in Buenos Aires, happy and on time.

I go the the hotel in the airport.

Exhausted.

The line to check-in is huge.

More than Exhausted.

I decide then to check-in on the second flight and to come back to the line after dinner.

The online check-in works and I have a seat in the flight from Madrid to Buenos Aires.

A good news in the big messy night.

Less than more exhausted.

Lufthansa pays also for a buffet. I walk into the room, which is in the exhibition center of the hotel, and it is very clear that the budget for the buffet was very low.

It is one of the saddest buffet I’ve ever seen.

I just turn back and walk away. Fast.

The hotel restaurant is closed, so the only option is the bar.

The waiter brings me the menu: only pizza.

The waiter is a friendly and funny guy.

“I’m Italian and I have high expectation for the pizza”

His reply, with a smile in his mouth is “My friend, this is the best frozen pizza ever”

I can just smile and say: “Deal”.

 

12.07.2018 Frankfurt, DE & Buenos Aires, AR

Early wake up, flight on time.

The new day starts well.

In Madrid, it takes me one hour to go from one terminal to the other one: it is quite a long time, but it’s still far from the 2 hours and 40 mins….

I’m wondering where my luggage is.

I’m hoping it is boarding with me.

The flight is a long one and goes smooth, between the book and some movies. It is a day flight, so I am not tired.

We land almost on time.

There are many passengers and it looks like each of them has between five and ten pieces!

So the belt goes on and brings luggages for almost one hour.

No sign of my luggage.

Many passengers are still here waiting: I better go to the baggage claim desk before all these people.

It turns out to be a great idea because in a few mins the line gets very long.

The person at the desk tells me that my luggage most likely will arrive tomorrow and they will bring it to my hotel.

Obviously I don’t mention my discussion with the other guy in Frankfurt and I take a taxi.

My colleague is waiting for me at the hotel.

We have our meeting.

No slide: a beer, a piece of paper and a friendly, interesting discussion.

I go to my room tired, but satisfied.

I’ve planned a meeting tomorrow with all the people in the office.

 

13.07.2018 Buenos Aires, AR

I wake up.

On the chair there are the clothes I’m wearing since two days ago.

It’s time for shopping!

Going shopping in a city that you don’t know is a challenge.

But I succeed:

While I am opening the bags:

VRRRRRR

Oh, I got a new email.

The colleague in Chile, with whom I agreed the date more than one month ago, is writing that Monday (yes, the agreed date) is bank holiday in Chile…..

I hear a voice far, far away:

Luke, may the book be with you….

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