06 June 2010

Day 16 - Ibiza, Madrid Travelling, McDonald’s Victory, Paris, Sleep

Early Flight. Earlier checkout. Still didn’t have a printed copy of the boarding pass, and it was far too early to do it in Ibiza. The first thing we got to Madrid was to get this printer situation sorted out. Asked a man about where to get it, got to the Ryanair counter and the lady printed it for free. She said something about how she wasn’t supposed to do it and that she’s doing us a favour. Or something. Great. Now there is four hours left and we’re hungry in the airport.
That’s where Team Alpha and Team Beta comes in.
One team (let’s call it Alpha) goes to get food for everyone while Team Beta looks after the Luggage. I was obviously the person to lead Team Alpha.
I’m not sure what happened to team Beta, but my team had a most excellent adventures, dudes.
Three of us went first into a parkade area which is filled with rental vehicles. I waited there to get a satellite lock on my phone. Once we had it, we followed my NOKIA N97’s location of the nearest4 McDonalds. 2.7 kilometers in a straight line. Not a problem.
Except for the two highway intersection that is blocking the path.
In some versions of the story, there were close calls to being hit by vehicles. In other versions, I was being chased by a dog. Unfortunately, the real version of the story is just about a group of three people struggling against the blistering bright sun on a quest to find and retrieve food for hungry people back at the base. I must admit that there were times when giving up seemed like the best option. We were on the wrong side of the highway, and there didn’t seem to be a pedestrian path. Another time we could see the actual centre which contained the destination, but another highway separated us from
A huge fence blocked the path leading to the other side. It took a huge kilometer long detour to finally get there… and it was the most amazing site I had seen on the trip thus far. I am talking about one of the largest indoor malls I have seen in Spain. It was three stories tall with at least 200 stores inside. Before I even stepped inside, I could feel the cool breeze from the air conditioning unit. Wonderful.
The three of us stepped inside in stunned amazement. This is Mecca. This is exactly what we were looking for and was completely worth all the trouble. We would have missed the singular most amazing thing in the day if we had bailed earlier. We had a quiet lunch and everyone celebrated with a New York Crispy burger. Basically it feels like a bigger, meatier Big Mac with bread that has bits of bacon incorporated. Stayed within the mall for another hour or so, just wandering and experiencing the success.
On the way back, we took a different route now that we have practical information about the local topography. Instead of the two hour long trip, this only took us about 45 minutes. The sun was still blazing way too hot, but we took precautionary measures with frozen icecream sticks.
When we made it back to our meeting spot, we delivered all the tasty treats to our hungry compatriots. Apparently if we arrived 15 minutes later, Team Beta would have just paid for expensive airport food, which was definitely not cool.
The rest of the trip was mostly uneventful.
Ryanair is actually pretty interesting. Because we print our own boarding passes, there isn’t any assigned seats on the flights. Neat. I thought the whole experience was pretty ‘fast food’ flight. Their seats are not movable at all, and are made of a yellowish plastic. Unfortunately, for all the work that we had to do, the whole boarding and luggage check-in process still took forever. I think it would have taken the same number of staff the same amount of time to do the luggage check in as any other airline. We arrived in Paris-Beauvais and had to take a bus back into the main city. For future references, I think flying direct to Paris Orly or Charles Du Galle would have been better.
Got to the hotel in one piece, but it was late. All the rooms were full. Even though there is only a queen and a single bed in the room, we had to cram four people inside. Nelson took the floor duty honorably, and I had to sleep with a naked man.
For dinner, we made a fine choice of going into a Chinese restaurant. Expensive. Of course, the whole of France seems really expensive. There is no longer any dollar menu at McDonald's. The cheapest burger starts at 2 Euros and pales in comparison to anything in the dollar menu in Spain.

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