Thursday, November 4, 2010

Flying home

Souvenirs purchased.  Wedding gift purchased.  Wine, vodka and cognac packed securely.  Minimal clothing and shoes packed. Health card received from Peace Corps.  I was ready to go home.  My journey began in my village.  The Vice Mayor so kindly drove me to the end of my village where most people hail transportation.  I got into a teal green microbus with some awesome religious icons hanging from the rearview.  It also had an interesting stench emanating from the seat cushions.  Oh well, it was a ride to Chisinau.  Once I got to the capital I dragged my bag to the Peace Corps office so I could grab lunch with another volunteer and get some paperwork squared away.  After an amazing tour of the Jewish Center with Ohad, I walked back to the office, grabbed my bag and headed to the central bus station to get a bus to Bacioi (Bachoy).  The only airport in Moldova is located southwest of the capital.  Keith, a volunteer in the Community and Organizational Development group lives and works in Bacioi (his house has a view of the airport).  We both figured it would be easy to get a cab and catch a flight early in the morning.  We couldn’t have been more wrong. 

To start the evening off right, Keith gives me a great tour of his village.  Bacioi is a large village and affluent suburb with the prettiest casa de nunti (wedding reception hall) and really fun looking nightclub.  After this I met his host family (Grandmother, mother, father, and three children) and we had a wonderful dinner including the champagne and chocolates that I brought as a gift.  It was awesome.  I helped his host siblings with their English homework and found out that his host brother takes karate lessons.  His family apparently still asks about me (even a month later).  After visiting it was time to call for a taxi.  After calling the airport for information regarding when I should be there in the morning (2 hours early for the flight at 5AM) I started calling the taxis to find a driver that would come to Bacioi at 3AM and who knew the village somewhat.  Once I figured out that I only had to dial 4 digits to call a cab… the cavewoman Romanian began to fall from my mouth like nails on a chalkboard asking for a cab to pick me up, giving directions for my location and bartering a price.  I finally nailed one down.  He promised to be in Bacioi at 3AM to pick me up.  After watching a movie and chatting about life… Keith and I realized it was 3:15 and there was no cab and no call from the driver. I called the company to confirm and finally the receptionist put me in contact with the driver.  Lucky for me he had never been to Bacioi and had no idea where I was.  I threw my suitcase by the gate and Keith and I walked down to the main street.  With the help of a large casa de nunti as a marker and my phone’s flashlight we flagged down the driver, rode up to the house, got my bag, I thanked Keith and off I was to the airport… finally!

Once I got to the airport, I felt like an idiot because it wasn’t even open yet!  So I waited until 10 minutes before 5AM and finally they started checking people in for the flight.  In the meantime the nice cab driver brought me a coffee and told me to call him when I returned from my brother’s wedding.  He would give me a great deal and would drive me all the way back to my village.  So I fly to Budapest and in Budapest we are delayed for 45 minutes due to rain and backed up flights on the runway.  I miss my connection in Milan, Italy.  At this point I am exhausted and just want someone to take care of the situation but the pace of Italian customer service isn’t quite the same as in Germany or the USA.  Finally, I am given a ticket for a flight leaving in 2 hours.  Which means I will land in NYC at rush hour and will most likely miss my train to Albany.  I switched my train ticket to the 8:00PM train (which was also delayed) and used the free WiFi at PennStation to call my mom and let her know I was delayed.  Around midnight I slid into my mom’s warm car with leather seats and my smiling cousin Crystal in the backseat.  It was a wonderful ride home from Albany.  What a tiring trip home…

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