Monday, January 21, 2013

Jen's European Adventure: Ryan Air Nightmares, Jen's Major Meltdown, and Che Che De Leche

Okay, chums.  I know it's been 6 months since my trip to Europe, and you guys probably don't really care about it anymore, but I do, and that's what is important.

So, without further ado, Europe: Part 4.

The next morning, Josh cooked us up a good, British fry-up for breakfast.  It consisted of Lorne sausage (good), haggis (okay), beans (for breakfast? no.), toast (ah, there's something I'm familiar with), eggs (also another familiarity), roasted tomatoes (probably my favorite part of the breakfast), and black pudding (I will NEVER let that stuff near me ever again).

We went to church at the Aberdeen ward, which was an experience in itself.  Sacrament meeting consisted of a 45 minute talk purely on callings (which Ben slept his way through), and Sunday School surprised us with very um... opinionated people.  The best part of church though, was when Ben had to go out to the car during Sacrament meeting.  He was being very thoughtful, and decided to crack the windows of our car, so it wouldn't be too hot when we came out.  When we came out to our car, a bird had decided to take a dump on our car... or rather in our car.  That's right, a bird with perfect aim landed its crap right through the crack in our car window, so there was bird poop all over the driver's seat.

I just sat and laughed while Josh cleaned it up.

That evening, we visited Dunottar castle with one of Josh's friends, Vicki McKay (pronounced: Mc-eye, with a long i sound.  There's your Scottish pronunciation lesson for the day).  This was by far my favorite castle from the outside point of view.  It was absolutely beautiful with it's green and black cliffs right next to the ocean.  Oh, let me stop telling you about it and just show you.

Beautiful, right?

That night, we had to check in for our flight to Paris, and Josh was putting in all of our information in the computer.  I told him my birth date, and he put it in correctly, but then accidentally pushed the down arrow key right before he submitted it, and so it changed my birth year.  I ended up having to talk to some Indian guy on the phone trying to fix it.  I couldn't understand half of what he said, but it all got sorted.

We decided it was time to start packing at 11:00 that night (we had been putting it off all day) and let me tell you, that was one of our biggest adventures of the trip.  We were flying with Ryan Air, which is a cheap way to fly, but you pay for it in comfort and small bag size.  We paid extra to check in one bag, but that filled pretty quickly with our tent and camping supplies.  Our carry-ons were smaller dimensions than any other flight I've ever been on, and they were super strict about the weight.  If you went over on either the weight or size, it was an extra 50 pounds, which none of us wanted to pay.  It took us forever to pack, and I'm a worry wart, so I was freaking out about my bag.  It was just barely the right size, and I was really worried that it wouldn't pass.  Needless to say, we were up until 1:30 trying to fit in everything we needed to, and went to bed far later than we should have.

The next morning, we needed to be at the airport in the afternoon, so we decided we had time to go through Edinburgh castle, if we hurried.  Ben had to pee on the way, so we stopped at a McDonald's in Dundee.  Josh and I waited in the car, and there was this group of kids that got out of a car, and they looked like they were in some sort of a band.  When Ben came back, Josh told him that we saw a band while he was in the bathroom.  Ben asked what band, and without missing a beat, Josh answered, "The Bladder Runners".  What?  But surprisingly, Ben believed him, and so of course I jumped on the prank train. We started talking about how Josh's sister has their album, and that their music is really awesome.  Our deception lasted for a good couple of minutes, and then we couldn't hold it in anymore and just busted up laughing.  This is how we entertained ourselves on the long car rides.

We made it Edinburgh Castle, but didn't have much time at all to go through it, so we literally ran through the castle.

After that we started on our way to Sister Liu's house.  We were hoping she could give us a ride to the airport, but hadn't technically asked yet.  So we were just going on good faith. We were running late, but we didn't want to make it look like we came just to ask her for a ride.  So when we got there we sat down and started to chat, the three of us worrying about the time, and then finally asked her if she could drive us to the airport.  She very happily agreed, and we were on our way.

At the airport, we weighed our checked bag, and we were .2 kilos under.  Woohoo!  And we didn't even have to weigh our carry-ons here, so that was another plus.  We went through security, and the saga of Josh's bad hair continued.  They made him  throw away his tried and true hair gel, and both Josh and I got the pat down.  Apart from that, we made it through security fine, and then we had to wait in line for our flight.  Ben found a fun toy to help him pass the time.

We loved how it  said Bananas in Pyjamas.  Oh, the small delights in life.
I was sitting there worried about my carry-on the whole time.  A lady was coming around with a cardboard box to check the bags, and I knew she was going to check mine.  Josh kept telling me that if I looked guilty, then she would for sure come, so I tried my hardest to act casual, but, of course, the lady comes up to me.  And she lowers the cardboard box over the suitcase... and it fits!  Hooray!  I was so relieved.

It was time for our plane ride, and let me tell you, you haven't truly experienced flying until you've flied on Ryan Air.  There is literally no room for anything, including your legs.  We were lucky we were some of the first ones on, because there was very limited room for luggage, and our wouldn't have fit under our seats.  But we entertained ourselves by making fun of the safety pictures on the back of the seats in front of us.

I mean, those pictures are pure gems.

We also had this excited message at the end of our flight (just fast-forward to 25 seconds):

How fun is that?  And I totally don't judge those people for clapping when they landed.  You would clap too.  Trust me.

So we're finally in Paris, and we pick up our rental car, only to find out that we also don't have insurance on this car.  But this time, instead of dishing out another 100 euros for 2 days, we decided to risk it.  After we got our car, we started driving to our campsite.  We realized we were starving, and so we decided to eat at a Parisian style restaurant... McDonald's.

Hey, don't judge, we were starving, and it was the first thing we saw.

But my, oh my, it was an experience going to McDonald's in Paris.  First off, none of us speak French.  At all.  So we get in line, not knowing how to order anything at all, and then we notice these kiosks where you can order your food.  We decide to order on them, so we don't have to use made up sign language to order our food, but they don't take our cards.  So we're back to waiting in line.  Josh and I both ordered cheeseburgers and fries without much problem, but funnily enough, all Ben wanted was a water, and it was his order that we had a hard time with.  We asked the worker for a water, but she had no idea what that was.  We all looked at each other realizing we had NO IDEA how to say water in French.  All I kept thinking was "agua".  We couldn't even see anything on the menu that looked like it could be water.  We saw an Evian bottle, and we tried pointing that out and saying the brand, but it still had no affect.  Finally, Josh just said "Evian" in a French accent, and lo and behold, it worked!  They knew exactly what we meant.  Go figure.

After eating our meal of cheeseburgers and fries with garlic mayonnaise, we set off for our campsite once more.  This is when we realized that we forgot our aux cord, so there was no listening to familiar tunes on the trusted iPods, instead, it was a French radio station.  Which started playing our new favorite song "Che Che De Leche":

At this point in the trip, I had just experienced Ryan Air, found out our car has no insurance, so we're screwed if anything happens to it, couldn't even order a water at McDonald's, was driving down a highway with signs that I couldn't read in the slightest, listening to a song called "Che Che De Leche", and yes, I'll admit it, still a little jet lagged.

I couldn't handle it anymore.

I had a meltdown.  Not a crying or stressing out meltdown... I just started busting up laughing.  Out of nowhere.  I'm sure the boys thought I was cray cray.  I have never laughed so hard in my entire life.  Tears were streaming down my face, and it was all I could do to sputter out a few sentences explaining how I wasn't sure we were going to make it through these next two days.

Meanwhile, we had reached a toll booth, so Josh pulls out his credit card, and what else happens, but he drops in on the road.  We are in the middle of a freeway, people, and Josh dropped his card.  There was absolutely no hope for me.  With tears streaming down my face in laughter, I got out of the car and found Josh's card, along with a couple of euro.  Woo hoo!

So it took me a while to calm down, and eventually I did, and we made it to our campground.  We parked and started setting up our tent, and I look on the grass to discover a little souvenir.  It was an Eiffel Tower key chain, just sitting there waiting for me, like a little gift from above.

Our next stop was a charming place called Carrefour.  It's a supermarket, and the one we went to was like going to Walmart in the Bronx.  I mean, it was awful:  so dirty, unorganized, and just plain disgusting.  We needed to get food, and more importantly, hair product for Josh.  After we found some pizza, we made our way to the hair product aisle.  All of the hair product brands that we recognized were out of stock, but there was a whole box of a certain brand of hair gel: Kera.

*Note:  If there is a whole box of something in stock, while everything around it is out of stock, something is wrong with that product.*

We make a mistake of thinking the product is okay, purchase our items, and then head off to Versailles.  We got there too late to go inside, but we did get there right at sunset, and it was beautiful.  Words can't describe, so I'll show you in pictures.

I don't even know if these pictures do it justice, but trust me on the fact that it was amazing.  After staying until it got dark, we drove back to our campsite.

And don't worry, "Che Che De Leche" serenaded us on the way back.