Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Beginning-Only told in Retrospective

I wasn't able to keep a blog while I was gone, so I thought I'd tell my story from the beginning-only at the end of the trip.

Tuesday May 09 2006
The Amazing Race (Jess, Jetta and Christena's Version)
Tuesday afternoon Christena and i put the finishing touches on the packing for our trip to Belgium. The Airway Transit van picked us up at quarter to three and that was the beginning of our adventure. We arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare. We sauntered up to the check in counter only to find out that Jetta had been "cancelled." For some reason, someone had informed the airport that I would not be bringing my guide dog with me. After much deliberation, and a pissed off airport employee phoning around, Jetta had been re-instated as a "passenger" and we were able to continue on our way. I have never experienced Jetta being considered a "passenger" before, but I guess it works.
Upon arriving in Germany, life became crazier. We flew over night and so it was Wednesday by the time we landed. Everyone was in a huge hurry to get off the plane only to push their way out into a squishy entrance where we were all penned in by more passengers. The customs line was a giant mess. I have discovered that Europeans do not line up. They are friendly, great people, but the concept of the line-up has escaped them. After shoving our way with the rest of the crowd, we found that part of the hold up was the giant, broken escalator we had to climb. We jogged up it-since we had only an hour to get to our next flight-and found ourselves in another holding area with shoving passengers. An hour and two terminals to run through to get to the next flight-things did not look good. :) When we finally escaped the customs "line," if you could call it that, we dashed through the rest of the airport-skipping down moving sidewalks, dodging rolling carry-on luggage and side stepping slow movers. When we finally reached the other gate, they had just begun to board and we had lucked out. We were worried about our luggage not making the flight, but somehow it came spewing out of the conveyer belt in Belgium. The rest of the day was spent getting acquainted with the hotel, pool and eating fabulous food. In Belgium, they like their steaks rare so if you order a medium rare steak, it will come still mooing. I discovered this after ordering steak for lunch.
We went to the pool for a bit of a loose swim-trying to work some of the jet lag off. There we ran into another problem with Jetta. They had given her an acreditation, which is a pass that allows staff and swimmers on the pool deck. (I had never seen a competition do this before, so I was optimistic that we would have no problems, but was I ever wrong).
It read:
Guide dog
The only problem was that they did not expect her to actually come on the pool deck. They thought I'd leave her out in the stands. After some heated discussion between my head coach and the owner of the pool, all was solved and Jetta was allowed to stay. After practice, we returned to the hotel, showered and headed down for supper. Tenie, Jetta and I tried very hard to fight the ravages of jet lag that gripped our tired bodies, but we were all in bed and asleep by 7:30. Jetta included. Since our day ended there, I guess I'll stop now and continue with this tomorrow. I have to get up for practice, even though I just got back and it's late.

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