Mayhem in Marseille

To say the past six hours in Marseille were the most stressful six hours of my life is a complete understatement. I am unsure how to put into words what I just experienced while trying to board my plane to Spain to meet up with my travelling family.

It all started early this morning as I crawled out of bed, not quite awake but ready to run across Rome in order to start my journey to Spain. Travelling alone is a whole other ball game might I add, one, that I am now not entirely fond of. Yet, considering I made my way to France is a decent accomplishment, but making my flight to Spain with a one-hour connection time, now that is worth a Grammy. Unfortunately in this instance, I am unworthy of a participant ribbon, let alone a golden trophy.

Arriving with an hour to spare my heart was torn between lunch and customs. But I thought it would be best to at least find out where to go before I grabbed my much needed burger. Having asked around for twenty minutes I was finally able to translate where to go, fifteen minutes down the road towards a large industrial shed. Upon entering I was faced with no air-conditioning, hundreds of angry tired passengers and no burgers. Reluctantly I edged my way forward, sweaty profusely and hunger pains leaving those around me questioning my loud stomach noises.

An hour into the line and I had moved about three meters, with my gate closing in ten minutes, time was not on my side and I was starting to loose my cool. But it was there, in that moment, a glimmering angel floated towards me calling “Madrid” bearing all hope and reassurance that I would be boarding this plane. Eagerly I waved my arms, hitting the child beside me with little remorse in hope of skipping the line and getting out of this stuffy shed. That was, of course, until she began explaining, in very broken English, that due to a strike in Madrid, I will be unable to take my luggage with me on the flight.

Rock, bloody, bottom

Jaw hanging, eyes watering and anger boiling within, I kindly asked what she suggest I do considering my whole life was contained within my luggage. To which she shrugged and told me to take another flight or leave it behind.

“Excuse me?“

With nothing but an empty smile she turned and tottered away in her ridiculous heels.

It didn’t take long for the world to start spinning around me, my throat closing and ears ringing. This could not be happening. This doesn’t happen to people like me, I went to a private school!

Unsure of where to turn I stood in the line while others bustled around me, eventually pulling out my phone to call Meg. Luckily Meg is an on-point traveller and kept her cool while explaining my options, during which I spluttered and snorted on the other end of the line.

Having managed to make my way to the front of the line and face the check out lady, tears streaming and teeth gritting I explained I had nowhere else to go and no money or credit card with me. However, once again my emotional outpour was received with a shrug and a look of utter annoyance. With little options I decided to go with Meg’s idea of rolling up my clothes in my alpaca rug and making a small carry on with which I could bring on board with me.

So there I was, in the middle of security, sorting through my suitcase, bidding goodbye to my fellow clothing, while rolling my special few in my small little rug. To say I was causing a spectacle is a wee understatement, which explained the growing presence of security guards around my suitcase and I. Their shadows casting over my frantic self, I looked up with a twitching smile, embarrassment levels already through the roof, to come face to face with the shake of head.

“But….This is…”

That is all it took, a simple shake of the head and an unimpressed look to send me in complete wails of emotion. On my knees in the middle of security, wearing three layers of clothing and clutching my alpaca rug, I was done. Passengers stared, and I am certain one took a photograph all while, workers went about their day as if this was an everyday work story. Pulling myself together, I threw my things back into my suitcase and shuffled my way towards the exit, leaving behind my dignity and piles of ripped tape.

You would think at this stage it could only go onwards and upwards, however, instead I was faced with even more difficulty and set-backs with finding and paying for a flight. Luckily, my Tuesday’s saving grace, Meg, was running around Madrid, filling in the gaps to get me on board a flight that night.

Hours later, ticket in hand, burger in stomach and the promise of free drinks on the plane, I entered through the gates of heaven and boarded my plane home to my travelling family. And here I am, an hour into my flight, reflecting and laughing over the days events, wondering how the hell I survived.


6 thoughts on “Mayhem in Marseille

  1. Oh my goodness! That sounds like a rough day. I don’t think I would have handled it as well as you did haha. I’m glad things are better!


  2. Your description was so good, I almost thought I was suffering with you. Four of us were in a four passenger air plane and tried to land in Marseile. A cross wind nearly flipped our plane over. Again, I enjoy your writing.


  3. I have had some pretty hairy experiences at airports. Taken ino custody by US security in Bermuda because I didn’t have a visa for the U.S. even though I was only in transit to London and had been transferred to Pan Am from Britiish Airways thanks to a strike. Then kept in a room minus passport and ticket and guarded by a NY policeman the like I had only ever seen on tv. I did a runner and double gin and tonic in hand, I watched from the comfort of a bar stool whilst heavily armed policeman ran around giving descriptions of me into walkie talkies. Bypassing all security and finding myself in a hangar in Athens, rushing across the tarmac with ground staff, a man pushing steps and child in tow to a BA aircraft about to take off from Larnaca Airport because I got my times mixed up . A military father’s words ringing in my ears : `you don’t know your 24 hour clock woman`. I was 36 for God’s sake!! I won’t even begin to tell you about Dulles in Washington!!


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