Well as you imagine everything wasn´t as smooth as you hope but I suppose it all adds to the story!
I got to the airport a little before 5.30pm, it was the first time I have flown with KLM and the first time I had used self service which unfortunately did not recognise my flight number nor my passport, which I thought was quite amusing- what a great start! Obviously it got sorted out as most of you know I am already here.
They explained that my connecting flight in amsterdam would already be boarding before I land therefore I would need to move pretty fast once I had landed. Unfortunately someone on my flight decided not to get on the plane therefore we had to wait for them to remove their luggage- which took 35 minutes, but I was assured that I would make my connecting flight. The Dutch are very relaxed people which seemed to have a knock on effect on everyone on board, so no-one seemed worried.
We arrived 10 minutes late but they let those who had connecting flights sit up front so we could get off first. (I would like to point out that this keyboard is like one of those badly dubbed chinese movies, I type then a few minutes later the words come up so hopefully this will make some sense- does anyone remember that programme Monkey? Classic dubbing, anyway I digress).
I made my flight in plenty of time and settled at the back, aisle seat, no-one next to me, result! And off we went! Again with KLM, you could pretty much do what you wanted, there were no films which I was gutted about but instead just read my photocopies about Galapagos Islands. When it was time to sleep, lights when down, and I have to say it was the coldest flight I have EVER experienced in my life! Propbably something to do with the Atlantic but I was never this cold with Virgin to New York! Fortunately I had 2 blankets and 2 pillows so I did get a couple of hours sleep.
They then informed us that we would be landing in 30 minutes and its about 27 degrees, nothing unusal about that you say, but considering I was due to arrive at Quito at 8am, approx 10 degrees, it was about 2.45am. Apparently we were stopping at Bonaire for an hour, a small island in the Dutch Caribbean- what? No-one told me! So I spent my hour on this divers paradise queuing for the loo and looking at the map to work out where I was, then it was back on the plane at 4.30am- hurrah!
More food, always a winner, then we were informed we would be landing at approximately 6.00am, 2 hours early- how do they do it? We are given our forms to fill to give to passport control, land, off I get into the passport queue, still dark outside, was hoping to get here when it was light, just to feel abit safer psychologically. Passport man takes one of my forms, stamps my passport, throughto bagge collection. There is hardly anyone there, the baggage belts are moving, luggage is just lying about like beach whales, only about 10 bags I´d say, but not mine. Part of me almost expected my luggage to go missing, so I was reasonably calm. I spotted a KLM cabin crew lady, hello my bags not here, really, oh dear, where have you gome from, London via Amsterdam, and Bonaire apparently, where are to going to, Quito, this isn´t Quito- WHAT?!!!
Eventually they got me back on the plane, the cabin crew found it highly amusing, ¨happens all the time¨ oh thats ok then, I´ve always been a fan of mild heart attacks so everyone´s a winner.
My next challenge was to work out how to tellpassport control, in spanish, that I am a**** who got off at the wrong airport and my passport has already been stamped- now believe it or not, this sentence is not in my Penguin Spanish phrase book. I know I´ll ask one of the cabin crew, they speak fluent spanish, just say "my mistake" in spanish they say and tell me what that is in spanish- yes thank you but that doesn´t explain why I got off at a place I still don´t know the name off and that my passport is stamped.
So using my initative (ha ha) I write out the following words on a piece of ripped sick bag for passport control;
"My Mistake Departure Wrong Airport Passport Stamp"
Cut along story short I got through, collected my bag and headed out to find a taxi.