The long road home

aka ‘The return trip from hell’

6:38 PM : we are leaving the hotel grounds and have to go several minutes in the wrong direction thanks to a funky access road until we find a u-turn (on a highway … imagine that!) … I find out that Jordanian drivers use their high beams for all kinds of signaling which makes me even more nervous about the night drive than I already am.

7:45 PM: we arrive at the airport and return the car .. we try to get into the check in area but are being told that we are too early and have to wait in a very uncomfortable seating area with both ‘no smoking’ and ‘smoking area’ signs … Julius continues his nap in his car seat. We are being told confusing estimates of when we can get in. (Jordan is doing their change to daylight savings time tonight which contributes to the general state of confusion)

21:00 PM: A loud tour group of Spanish travelers arrives, their tour guide tells them to already form a line which in Spanish seems to translate to ‘clog up the entrance’ … I talk to the tour leader and some airport official to make sure that we get in first since we have been waiting for a long time already. The airport official (pink folder guy) even takes our cart and pushes it to the front of the line .. very nice.

22:30 PM: Julius wakes up and finds a 17 months old girl to play with

23:10 PM: they finally open the gates and we can get in … Ritsu and Julius quickly through ‘ladies inspection’ to get to the check in counter first, while I do the whole security song and dance with all the luggage … at check in we find out that once again Air France’s computer system is very comfortable with seating a family with a 3 year old child all separately … But we are told they will work on it ‘just give me 5 minutes’ .. which is French for 22 minutes ..

23:40 PM: we go to emigration, avoiding a long line by waving Ritsu’s UN passport and going to the diplomat’s check point … but pink folder guy pushes part of the Spanish tour group in front of us .. we were there first and we actually have a diplomat passport … grrrrrr

midnight turns immediately into 1 AM: duty free shopping .. we buy so much bulky stuff that we even get a free roll-on bag .. the manager guy is super confused about some special offers which expired midnight …

1:40 AM: we move towards our gate and Ritsu discovers Cinnabon .. we just have to get some cinnamon rolls and a coffee … the clerk can’t even get a simple coffee order right, charges 40cents extra for milk .. and the security people would not let Ritsu bring the coffee into the next area .. sigh ..

2:10 AM: the airline announces boarding of our flight, business class and families with small children first … all members of the STG (Spanish tour group) are ignoring this and walz passed us, just to be super slow once they are in front of us …

2:55 AM: flight leaves on time .. no food until breakfast, no toy for Julius, who quickly sleeps .. Me, sitting at the aisle, I keep getting bumped into by STG members who ignore all signs of ‘sit down, buckle up’ … I just love the feeling when someone pushes down my head rest right into my sunburnt back …

5:50 AM: had no sleep .. breakfast smelled funny .. we land in Paris watching a beautiful sunrise (J still sleeping) .. now the big ‘chase your plane’ marathon begins … Charle de Gaul airport really sucks … we have to pass numerous controls and check points .. I wonder if the total distance is 3 – 5 km .. Julius is a trooper and only stops to take a good look at the airport train station …

6:50 AM: we reach the final security check and hear the final boarding call for our flight … sure enough, there is no one at security we can address with this … again, R&J go through first to run to the gate and me and luggage follow … and yes .. we make it barely in time ..

7:20 AM: our flight takes off in time, plane only half full, finally a bit of relax, nice croissant and at 8:45 AM we arrive in Turin … all bags accounted for and a taxi ride later we are home by 10 AM …

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