Well I'm back from Barcelona and I hope you all managed to behave yourselves while I was away. Indi's back from his travels too, the issue of the Kottu popularity contest remains and we wonder if and how it will be solved.
Spain, Barcelona specifically, was rather fatabulous. I'd never visited the country let alone the city before so everything was new to me. It was a feast of colour, architecture, particularly of the modernista variety, culture and food.
Our (mine and C's) arrival in the city was marred by one thing; my suitcase didn't accompany us, just about every traveller's nightmare. We took two suitcases, we stood at the baggage belt and grabbed one of them almost straightaway, then waited while nothing much happened. I had an uneasy feeling immediately, mostly because these suitcases usually turn up together.
After a while we were left alone at a now stopped rotating baggage belt. There were two stray bags on the belt and neither of them, however much I stared at them and checked, resembled my one. I guess missing baggage is an everyday occurrence, you just never really think it will happen to you.
About an hour after the first bag had appeared we were in the queue for the lost luggage place. I was busily trying to be calm, manly and matter of fact about things whilst battling with a very problematic dilemma. We'd packed our own cases and there was only a slight bit of overlap, the toilet bag being in C's case, so she had all of her stuff and I had none of mine, bar what was in my hand luggage.
My battle was whether to feel pleased that it was my case missing instead of C's or to be a bit selfish and feel all sorry for myself that mine was the chosen one. I settled on feeling sorry for myself but pleased that, if one was to go missing, it was mine. Let's face it chaps, if you go away with a member of the fairer sex and their luggage goes missing, things aren't heading in a positive direction.
The somewhat miserable Spanish woman at the lost luggage desk punched some numbers into her computer and told me, with a certain sense of glee, that my bag was still in London. Against the odds I found myself feeling pleased, even when she added that it would be flying out in the morning and would be delivered to my hotel. As Neil Armstrong might have said, had one of his bags gone missing, it was one small step but in another way quite a big one really, knowing where the thing was.
We trotted off to out hotel, though when I say trotted I really mean cabbed. I had no camera, no fast lens and no spare clothes but toiletries, minus my can of deodorant, were safely ensconced in the lucky suitcase, the one that was with us. Miserable Spanish woman's word that all my things would arrive the next day was my saving grace.
The night would have been a test for any man, even a strong one like myself. For, packed in the stray Samsonite, was one of my top ten Barefoot sarongs, the one with the glowing bright blue squares, gold squares and the darker blue, you know the fellow. And, as I'm used to wearing a sarong in bed, being naked just makes me feel all, well, naked and wearing pants just makes me pleased I was never considered for the role of Superman.
The next morning I changed into my previous day's clothes, it wasn't a major hardship. C kindly offered me her deodorant. I pondered on the issue then declined, figuring that it was better go without than to smell like a girl. Luckily my moisturiser had made the journey in C's bag, so I maintained that clean mosturised look on the RD face, crucial when meeting foreign johnnies was on the agenda. We set off to look around Barcelona, me with the belief that I'd be reunited with the missing item of baggage when we got back to our hotel.
Getting back to the hotel in the evening was disappointing. There was no suitcase in sight and a phone call to the missing suitcase department (Spanish division) of British Airways told me that it was "out for delivery" and would arrive at an unspecified time. Later on it did, though it wasn't actually an unspecified time, it was in fact about eleven thirty.
The reunion was emotional. Me and Mr Samsonite have been all around the world and I was keen to make sure all the contents were intact. They were and the most important thing, the blue and gold sarong, was safe and sound. It was in the case exactly where I'd hidden it, in between the fast, expensive lens and the SLR.
I deodorised myself, threw on the sarong and unfolded and hung up my choice of clothing for the week. I was mightily pleased to regain possession of the clothing, the photographic gear, the shoes and all. But the thing I really had missed the most, that sarong with its blues and golds, was back.
Returning to London, our wait at the baggage carousel was tense and uneventful. All bags were present, correct and together and things went as smoothly as ever.
But I'm not sure I'll ever view the whole baggage and aircraft thing with the same relaxed attitude again.
Vut too doo?
Perhaps I'll pack a sarong in each bag, with one in my hand luggage just to be extra safe in future.