Thursday, September 20, 2007

At some point in the future, I am sure this will all be very hysterical.

However, today is not that day.

But I’ll get to that bit in a second. So, when last you heard from me, I was in Paris preparing to embrace my new future. Let’s begin there.

After a fitting Parisian goodbye consisting of a long drawn out meal, a whole bunch of wine, a walk along the Seine and martinis until who knows when, I woke up in just enough time to stuff the last of my possessions haphazardly into my already overstuffed suitcase and do the usual mad dash to CDG, my lateness compounded by the vagaries of the French rail system, then further compounded by a personal search that would have rivaled the migration of icebergs in leisurely pace. This culminated in the security woman’s decision that the climbing caribiner that held my keys was a decidedly deadly threat and must be confiscated with maximum theatrics. Her acid-tinged glance told me she didn’t think too highly of me either. In short, after the usual Herculean effort it seems to take for me to board a plane at CDG, I arrived just in time. Unfortunately, as I found out on arrival, my bag was not as lucky.

I decided to try and look on this as a positive thing. After all, now someone else would have to drag it to the hotel. Then I arrived at the hotel to find out that someone had canceled my reservations. How interesting. I jumped online to see if I had any messages to indicate to me the plan had changed. Nope. Nothing. Luckily, the hotel had space, so no problem at all. Reservation reactivated. So here I was in Copenhagen on a lovely Sunday afternoon. Might as well enjoy it. Off I went for a walk and to do a little scouting for dinner places.

It was a beautiful day. I passed a picturesque canal where fishing boats bobbed at anchor. The water smelled of the sea, and people lounged on the patios of neighboring restaurants, enjoying a leisurely drink on a Sunday afternoon. I walked down to this large circle, sort of a park where many roads met. Turns out there was a street exhibition taking place. Clear plastic spheres were scattered throughout. Each one featured an award-winning design concept created to make the world a better place – shelters for refugees, computers cheap enough to give away in the third world, biodegradable packaging – that sort of thing. Very cool stuff. An ornate theater on an adjoining street was apparently at intermission for their Sunday matinee performance. Well-dressed people lounged on the second floor balcony overlooking the circle, sipping wine and champagne. Opera, design, architecture, water - I think I might like it here. After a decent dinner and a couple glasses of wine, I retired to the hotel to get some reading done for a meeting the next day feeling pretty positive about life.

One decent night’s rest later, I was ready for the first day of work. Coffee was the first order of the day. Copenhagen has tons of coffee houses, shouldn’t be a problem, right? Mmm, wrong. No one gets coffee on the way to work here. A million coffee houses in this city, and couldn’t find one that opens before 9:30. While it is refreshing not to have a Starbuck’s on every corner, I would have given my eyeteeth to see that little green awning that particular morning. Eventually I was able to get a sandwich counter to take pity on me and give me my black beetle fix.

My first day of work was fantastic. The people I work with are smart, passionate and full of ideas. It’s a great environment to be in. I consider myself very lucky. It’s exactly what I wanted to be doing. I couldn’t have picked a better agency. It would have been a perfect day except for one little thing.

The dubiously-rated “four star” hotel I was staying in inexplicably decided I’d checked out, removing the few things I had in my room and putting them into a clear plastic bag in the lobby. This bag was then unceremoniously handed to me by an unbelievably rude hotel employee in front of a long line of American business travelers like I was some homeless person asking for handouts. In addition, my bag had arrived from the airport, but they’d sent it back. Luckily, my work had already booked me in somewhere else, so I went back to collect the two bags that I had thankfully sent ahead through FedEx (ah FedEx, how I love you) and went to my new home.

Two days later, after receiving no response to the countless e-mails, and a “we’re busy, go away” message every time I tried to phone the SAS baggage people, I headed back to the airport. After waiting about an hour for my number to be called, a friendly looking guy called me up to the counter. The confused look on his face did not bode well. Neither did the “that’s strange” that burst from his lips. It seems my bag was in electronic limbo. As far as the system knew, the last time it had been spotted was the super evil Phoenix hotel. Together we looked through the hall of lost luggage with increasing desperation. My sad little overstuffed bag has been swallowed by the valise Bermuda triangle. Vanished without a trace. This has never happened before, he assured me. For some reason it didn’t feel like much of a comfort.

So, I have a confession to make. I’ve been kind of wallowing in self-pity the last few days, feeling like life was peeing on me repeatedly and being rather disgruntled about it. Then tonight I was reminded of the fact that the clothes, shoes, skin care, make-up – they’re just that - stuff. They can be replaced. I have a job I love in a city I am growing fonder of ever day. Everything else is unimportant. So, while I am not quite to the point I can laugh about it, I am at least over letting it get me down. Anyway, I now have the perfect excuse to go on a serious shopping trip. I guess there are worse things in life.

Although if any of you should feel like going on a few review sites and helping me take down the Phoenix hotel in Copenhagen’s user rating…


JB said...

All I want to know is...HAS IT TURNED UP YET?

No stranger to lost luggage myself. My record is having it get lost three times in a journey. Once involved me flying from Boston (it got lost there) and then to Dallas (lost again, in the action oriented South), then a final "fuck you" at O'Hare. It did always get located fairly quickly, though. At the time, it did occur to me that maybe it was the universe's way of telling me that I am too attached to material possessions.

snooky green said...

No, the bag is still AWOL. In addition, neither customer service or SAS baggage will answer their phone. As the messages are in Danish, I can only guess what they say, but I believe it's along the lines of - go away, we're busy. They have now listed it as located and in process of delivery, which would be a good thing except for the fact that it has not actually been delivered, which makes me think that they just listed it that way so they could get it out of their system and back into sweet sweet limbo. Also, I have gotten no answers on compensation, despite my bag being gone for nine days at this point. It's all a regular joy-fest. I have the sinking feeling that I will need to spend another evening at the airport sometime soon.

Alice said...

"Although if any of you should feel like going on a few review sites and helping me take down the Phoenix hotel in Copenhagen’s user rating…" hahahaha