The Travel Companion was itching to write about a day of delays and travel and I was more than happy to do so. So here, in the words of the TC…this was our day.
The last time I ran across the name De Havilland was a mention of air craft in WWI – when planes were made of cloth stretched across wooden frames. So when my itinerary told me that the plane which we were going to take to Ilulissat was of that make, the impression I had was not a good one.
This turned out to be a fair omen of what was to come. First, checkout time produced a quandary when I was duly informed that “your flight has been changed”. Nobody I asked seemed to know why or what it meant. Eventually, information was dragged out of the airline office which indicated that the change was made by the tour company, which took not just us but a fair number of people in our tour group and moved us from a direct flight to Ilulissat to an indirect one which took longer because it went through some other place first (admittedly, Aasiaat is just 15 minutes away from our intended destination). Why that happened was never totally clear, apart from the gossip that went around.
Worse yet, the revised itinerary indicated that our meals would be “undetermined snacks”.
As departure time came and went, twice, with our plane nowhere in sight, my suspicions were actually grounded in reality for once: the stupid plane had broken down. I was wondering if the silly thing was still made of wood and cloth and if the pilot smoked and drank while flying. Perhaps “technical issues” was a euphemism for “the pilot who got drunk and burned a hole in the wings when he dropped his cigarette on them mid-flight”? One of the other tourists in the group started speculating if we would even fly off that day…and they call me a negative person.
When the plane finally did turn up 2 hours later, I was more than a little nervous about getting on it. During the flight, I kept one eye on the nearest wheel compartment to make sure it didn’t fall off mid-flight or something and another suspiciously on the “undetermined snacks”. It was harmless and boring and a total waste of adrenaline; we got a chocolate chip cookie and 2 lemon-tasting sweets.
Well, the little plane did actually make it to Ilulissat after a strange and short stopover at Aasiaat, where we essentially got off the plane for 15 minutes so the air crew could clean the plane a bit. Little good that did, because all that looked visibly different was that our seatbelts had been rearranged more presentably.
And it was good to know that the tourist information in Aasiaat consisted of a woman in red on the phone.
The late arrival also meant our tour plans were a mess; almost everything in our schedule got changed after a harried-looking World of Greenland representative met us in at the fireplace of Hotel Arctic and had no answers to the accusatory questions the delayed people had for her.
“Just a few more hours and this horrible day is over,” commented a German lady in white.
I couldn’t have agreed more.
Of course, dinner came first and it was a 2-course New Nordic-type looking thing that tasted surprisingly good. Or it could have been the company, which was an intriguing mix of German, Danish and American.
As they say, camaraderie – whether lasting or not – is forged in misfortune.