Monday, September 1, 2008

I have arrived...but not my suitcase

After close to twenty four hours of travel, I have arrived in Madrid. My journey started early Sunday morning with a 6:20 flight from San Jose to Chicago. After a three hour layover in Chicago, I flew to Toronto and then waited another three hours for my flight to Madrid. All told my flights were pretty smooth, I was able to sleep on the plane, and I was even seated in the emergency exit row for the flight to Madrid so I had tons of leg room! Considering the state airlines today, I guess it is not surprising that I was not offered free airplane food until twelve hours into my journey on my flight from Toronto to Madrid. My flight to Chicago offered a buy on board option which I passed up because I was sleeping had packed tons of snacks in anticipation of a lack of food.

When I arrived in the Madrid Airport, I was quite tired and looking forward to a good nap. I figured my first cultural event should be taking a siesta. However, my plans were slightly delayed when one of my bags did not arrive which seemed odd to me because one of my suitcases had made it and I had long layovers at both my stops. From my flight, five people did not receive their luggage, two of which were Spaniards. We spent the next two and a half hours walking around the airport trying to find the correct place to file a claim. I was able to look through the luggage in the back storage room and have filed a claim. Hopefully, my suitcase will come on the flight from Toronto to Madrid that arrives tomorrow morning.

After filing my claim, I took a taxi to my housing. I was kind of nervous about this part because I know cabs in some places are known to rip tourists off and not take direct routes. My driver was really nice and even complimented me on Spanish! Most importantly, the residencia seemed to know who I was and had a room ready for me. This was huge relief because last Friday night I was going through all my paperwork and I could not find confirmation regarding my housing for the first two weeks. Furthermore, because I arrived Monday morning there was no one I could talk to confirm my housing with before I left for my flight. Needless to say, I had a minor melt down on Friday night, but luckily everything worked out. I guess most of the Spaniards are not like my dad and do not confirm everything ahead of time.

Since getting to my housing, a college dorm room (that is no where near as nice as Wells House), I have spent the afternoon relaxing/sleeping. I think all the stress of packing, saying goodbyes, traveling, and losing my luggage really got t me because I passed out for three and half hours and still felt exhausted. Tomorrow I plan on taking the Metro to my school that I will be teaching at in order to get a better sense of the commute, walking around town, possibly getting a Spanish cell phone, beginning the apartment hunt, and most importantly calling Air Canada to see if they have found my suitcase.

Overall, despite the luggage set back, I am feeling relatively calm and all my worries regarding getting to my housing have been assuaged.

No comments: