And so we were having a pampering night at my friends house in East London (E16) not far from Canary Wharf. You all know that, chatting, eating, drinking and having fun. At around 10pm it started to snow making some of us very happy and the others not so much.
The irony is I was leaving London for the last time taking all my things away with me this night and the weather was looking the same as when I arrived to London in the first place. I got stuck in Dublin for one night because all airports were closed due to the snowfall. But anyway back to the story.
So as my friend was not going to drive me to the airport and neither was her boyfriend the option was: national Express coach. Fine with me anyway :) My other friends gave me a lift to West India around midnight where I wanted to take the tube to Stratford. When we got there I was afraid I won’t manage to catch the last train and went to Poplar to take DLR instead. Of course waiting there for around an hour no train came and The System was shut down without any warning or information. I was trying to figure out how to walk to Stratford in all this snow or which night bus would be going there. From years ago I thought there should be one leaving from Canning Town. You could forget about a taxi. When all public transport is down or severely delayed everyone is getting a taxi!
Then my friends called and said the other guys will drive me to Stratford. Great news! And so they did. I was at the A9 National Express stop at around 1.30am Nobody was there. The bus should have arrived in 20 minutes and as you can imagine it didn’t. They run every half an hour (20 past and 10 to). After a while more people came but still no bus. Then we saw a bus that was going to Liverpool Street, empty inside and he told us he will be coming back to Stansted in one hour but before that somebody should come. I waited there for 2 hours and in that time 2 buses came both going to Liverpool Street, nothing to Stansted. I was really cold by then.
I met a really nice guy from Equador, who now lives in Miami, but have been moving from one place to another whole of his life. We had a nice chat when he told me I look and behave as Maria who he know in Miami. He even took a picture of me to show her she has a twin in Europe. how crazy is that?
So at last half past 3 am the bus came. I was so lucky to be in a right spot. The crowd pushed me inside and I was one of 24 people who managed to get on the bus. The rest had to stay behind. I quickly fell asleep in the warmth of the seat and was woken up just before the airport. I knew the second I will get off the bus I’ll be freezing cold. And so I was. I was trembling and teeth barking while running to the toilet to put on more clothes and get warm. My eyes hurt but adrenaline was working. Will I be able to fly today or will they cancel?
It took me 50 minutes to get through security gates. The queue was reaching the entrance doors. After that I still had one hour to wait. I got a hot drink but still felt cold. There wasn’t that many cancellations when I was waiting in the lobby so my spirit was high well as high as it could be considering being exhausted and cold. The board first showed the gate number only 30 minutes before the flights departure so in theory just when it was supposed to close. I was one of the first to get there. The plane was outside and in a while some people started to queue. Quarter past 7 am when we were supposed to take off there was no member of the crew there, no information, nothing… I looked around and saw some pilots and girls in Ryanair dress code in the cafe so I approached them and asked if they knew anything. They didn’t, but told me most flights were canceled some delayed and we should ask at the information desk.
When I got there I saw a man frustrated with the service he was getting as his plane was canceled and he was supposed to get back to main hall to get more information from Ryanair staff. He had to go back through emergency doors and they didn’t have anyone to show him the way. Anyway when it was my turn the woman was so stressed out that I could feel her resistance before I even opened my mouth. I can’t honestly say I blame her. She knew nothing, they were short staffed and we just had to wait. And so we did. I was sitting and my eyes were so painful I couldn’t keep them open. When I closed them I felt I won’t be able to open them again. I had to be able to do it in case I had to act fast if the flight was canceled. My mind knew my body was supposed to be alert, but the body refused constantly drifting into sleep. I suppose it was because of the alcohol I drunk that night and the night before. I got cold much more easily and I didn’t get much sleep as well.
After 8 am they let us on board. I went straight to the back of the plane where I met one of the polish crew members. She was coming from Stratford as well and had to take a taxi. She told me that after the bus I took came there was no service for another hour. I was so lucky to get on that bus! She also said they were considering closing down the airport. It stopped snowing long time ago by then, the snow was maybe ankle high. Why shouldn’t we take off then? Somebody told me a story from earlier this morning that the passengers waited three hours inside the plane just to find out it was canceled in the end. I hoped it wouldn’t happen to us. I mean in Poland they know how to handle snow and if the make Stansted ready everything should be alright.
We waited until 10:30 am to take off. I was so happy we did I just couldn’t listen to a guy from Warsaw complaining all the time. There was only 1/3 of passengers and three or four people came to the back to lie down. Instead they were chatting, complaining, boasting how it would never happen in Poland and so on…
When we broke through the clouds there was the most beautiful view. This is why I love flying. You can see the fields of white, the enormous space of blue sky and strong sun making it all seem less bad. I was so joyful. I was happy because I left London and didn’t have to worry about re booking my flight, getting back, arranging place to stay. I was on the way again, between places, free.