Welcome to Barcelona. Here's your loin cloth.
I finally made it to Barcelona last night, although the journey has been an interesting one. Where to start? Well, the flight from Seattle to Heathrow was fine, no complaints (okay, I could complain about the hideous food, but that would be soooo cliche). After arriving at LHR, however, Ayman and I learned that our flight to Barcelona had been canceled. After getting bounced between several British Airways desks over the next few hours, we finally managed to claim our luggage and secure standby status on a later flight. Because we were going standby we were unable to check luggage and therefore had to kill more time in the pre-security area of Terminal 1 (think: a couple shops, a few restaurants, and a very limited number of cold, hard stainless steel benches). We eagerly arrived at the counter at the appointed time, and the loss of two unfortunate no-shows for the flight was our gain; we got the last two seats on the airplane. As we handed in our luggage to check, we pointed out that the luggage routing tags were still the ones from our old flight. The BA agent insisted that those were fine, and our bag would definitely be on our flight (this is what is known in the literary world as foreshadowing). Great. Grabbed our laptop bags and hurried to the gate, sprinting except for the two separate x-ray security gauntlets we had to pass through. Made the gate on time and had a reasonably uneventful flight, including even an edible meal! After arriving in Barcelona, we made our way to baggage claim for what we knew would be a nail-biter. "I'll give our luggage a 30% chance of showing up," I said. "I say 10%," Ayman replied. Ayman was closer.
Because of current security restrictions, we were only allowed one carry-on bag, which was naturally our laptop bags. So, I have plenty of electronics... PC, two mobile phones, camera, power inverter, iPod, USB hub, etc. Unfortunately, I can't wear any of these things. Nor can a brush my teeth with them, use them to brush my hair, or apply them to my underarms (I guess I can do that but it won't make me any more fresh smelling).
At least I got a nice hotel room. Here's a picture of the conference center from my balcony:
In case you're wondering, it's been 17 hours since I landed and this is the status of my bag as of now according to the BA web site:
|Bag 1 Status||TRACING CONTINUES. PLEASE CHECK BACK LATER|
Nice. I keep trying to call the phone number for British Airways Baggage Claim in Spain that they provided, but nobody answers.
We tried to run to the local mall to buy a few necessities, but all we managed was toothpaste and deodorant. Trying to find clothing was a tad disheartening. Let's just say that it would seem that 6'5", 245 pounds is not the size of the typical Barcelonian.
The conference staff was nice enough to give me 3 speaker shirts, which -- adding them to my gray t-shirt -- quadrupled the size of my wardrobe. If you're at TechEd, do drop by the VS booth or my session and say hi. I'll be the one in the blue jeans that look like they can walk away under their own power.