[2/2] Lisbon to Dublin: the Leftovers

kids

I have dinner with V in the Cork airport: a tasteless burger with tasteless fries. ‘Thank you God for giving us ketchup and mayo, otherwise, 95% of fast-food restaurants would have gone bankrupt!’

An Irish lady sits with us. She was at the back of the airplane so she gives us more details about the sudden death of the Brazilian guy: a Portuguese girl was seated next to him. She saw that he was agitated and asked him if everything was ok. It was not ok. The Brazilian was obsessively saying that his time has come. He will die soon. ‘How do you know this?’, I ask. the Irish woman ‘I was a few rows in front, so we had a girls’ chat at some point’.

After dinner, V and I go towards the exit. A coach is supposed to take us to Dublin. We are not in a hurry, maybe a bit too relaxed. Outside we see that the two coaches are full already. We are left outside.

‘Lady, what about us?’ I am asking the blonde working for the airport, a woman in her late thirties, with red lipstick and thick eyeliner. ‘Another coach is waiting for you. But the driver can’t go before the last passenger is coming, a Portuguese woman.’ ‘Cool, where is she?’ ‘I think she lost her luggage’.

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Photo by Nick Hillier on Unsplash

21h30

I sit with V in the coach chatting about life.

22h00

The mysterious woman is not coming. V and I keep chatting about life. I start biting my nails and looking at the watch every 5 minutes.

22h30

No trace of the mysterious woman. I become agitated. Tomorrow I have to organise a conference for 300 people. At 09h00.

The driver doesn’t know anything. I go out of the coach and head back to the airport. I see the blonde with a lot of make-up. ‘Excuse me, how long do we still need to be here’? ‘We need to wait for the last passenger,’ she says. ‘Hmmm, mmmkay, we will wait here, I hope not too long’. We sit. I am anxious. V is tired and impatient.

23h00.

The Irish lady appears from nowhere and sits in front of us. ‘My son needs to come and pick me up. I live 20 minutes from Cork. This boy is late, ai. What about you?’ ‘We were left outside. There is another coach ready for us but we need to wait for this Portuguese woman that lost her baggage’, I explain. ‘Ha, the Portuguese woman is interrogated by the police. She was found with methamphetamine in her backpack’. ‘What? How…how do you know?’ ‘My dear, I know everything’, the Irish lady tells me petting my back. ‘Oh, my dumb son has arrived!’

I almost run to the blonde woman. ‘Lady, who exactly are we waiting for? Are we kept here because of another drug smuggler?’ ‘Wait, no, what?’, she is babbling. ‘Look, it’s not our fault that she is smuggling drugs. Why do I need to pay hours of my life for this? Why does V need to pay hours of his life for this? You need to send us to Dublin!’ ‘There is nothing we can do. You need to wait. You will leave soon’. The blonde magically disappears.

I don’t understand why we need to wait for a lady who is interrogated by the police.

23h15 The blonde lady is untraceable and invisible.

23h30 No blonde lady. No Portuguese drug smuggler. I call my colleagues in Dublin and tell them the short version of the story. ‘I don’t know when I will get to Dublin’. ‘But Camelia, are you ok? Why are you still there?’ ‘Good question’.

23h40 The blonde lady appears out of thin air.

I go to her covered in clouds and thunders. ‘Lady, we are still here. I have a conference to organise tomorrow at 09h00 in Dublin. I can’t do it from Cork. You will get me fired. You see this guy here? He is working for NATO. He needs to be on a boat. The boat will leave early tomorrow; it will not wait for him. You will get him fired too! Are you going to sleep well after this? Are you? ARE you? CALL US A TAXI WOMAN!!’

00h00

Finally, V and I were sitting in a cab. Tired, feeling cold and angry. We fall asleep. I arrive around 02h00 at my hotel. My colleagues tell me that, the next day, I can come to the venue later, at 11h00. Just get a God damn rest!

[1/2] Lisbon to Dublin – the coke smuggler

Lisabon on a cloudy day

The photo was taken two days before the flight, in November 2015, in the area of Belém Tower. It was windy. Old phone, bad quality.

I am flying from Lisbon to Dublin. I am in the middle seat, in front of the plane, between two men. After approximately one hour, the captain is asking for a doctor through the station. There is a person feeling unwell in the aircraft. A doctor and a nurse get up from their seats ready to help whoever is in distress. The ‘patient’ is at the back of the plane. I am struggling to see what is happening, but I am too far and all my attempts just make me look like a hopeless giraffe.

But then I see this flight attendant, a blonde lady in her late forties, red-faced, obviously highly panicked, running on the aisle. I become again a giraffe trying to catch a glimpse of what happens but it is confusing, there are people coming towards me, other people gather around someone who has some kind of seizure.

I am a chicken when I fly, I get easily scared, I cannot breathe properly, my heart is pumping hard and sometimes I have panic attacks. Once a teenager held my hands when we had a bumpy landing in Bilbao. So two scenarios are unfolding in my head – either the person is a terrorist, or those people are performing some kind of exorcism on the ‘patient’. In both scenarios, there is a high risk we will all die.

avionnn

I am nervous, pale, I look at the guy on my left side – he is rather calm and ignores me – and then at the guy on the right side – he is empathetic (Thank God!, I might ask him to hold my hand) and starts talking to me. He tells me he is Portuguese, works for NATO, tomorrow he needs to be on a big boat and he is happy because his wife gave birth to a beautiful baby two days ago. ‘Dope, man!’

‘Do you think everything is fine back there?’ I ask him. ‘I am going to check’, says V. He goes, he pees, he comes back, but he’s not sure of what is really happening, he couldn’t see too much. ‘I think someone has a heart attack’. ‘Oh my, are you sure he’s not a terrorist?’ He looks at me pitifully and he shares one of his headphones to watch a movie. It’s a bloody thriller with Ben Affleck which doesn’t help too much. I turn my head again and wow! There is a guy with a lot of blood on his arm. ‘Jiiz, there is a guy with a lot of blood on his arm, I am telling you, something fishy is happening!” I tell V. People are even more agitated in the back, the flight attendant’s head is completely red and sweaty, and the captain is announcing us that we are going to have an emergency landing in Cork. Oh boy, Cork. The guy on the left is calm as a cucumber. I breathe in, I breathe out.

The landing is smooth, and policemen are coming in the aircraft. We are held in our seats for one hour at least. A lady starts talking with – most probably – her husband, with a very posh British accent: ’I am so pissed, Edward, we have this stupid delay because this guy has just died. OK, he has died, but why is this our fault? Why do we need to be here for an eternity’? I look at V – ‘The guy really had a heart attack. Kaput!’ We imagine a 50+ man on a business trip (flying with Vueling though?) going to his family and with his poor heart too weak to make it until Dublin. What a pity.

We get out of the plane. More police officers at the terminal. They are asking questions to every single person on the plane. ‘Do you have footage of what happened?’ ‘Footage? No, why would I have footage’?

V and I are asking people around us what that was all about. We finally find out: a Brazilian young man, around 25, had a seizure and died because he was carrying in his stomach capsules of approx. 8 gram of cocaine each. One of these capsules exploded and the boy got very ill. And paranoid, so paranoid that he bit one of the doctors who wanted to help him. That was the reason for the blood I saw on the passenger’s arm. The Brazilian died eventually and this is why we ended up in Cork with a corpse in the aircraft.

To be continued…yes, there is more to be shared…

Trees in my life

cherry tree (3)I visit Falticeni, the small town in Northern Romania where I was born, at least twice a year. This spring, however, I have stayed a whole week and I have taken some long walks to those places that bring sweet memories of my beautiful childhood back to me.

The first stop was in the neighborhood where my grandparents used to live. The flat where I spent a significan part of my first 10 years of life was placed on the last floor within a four-level brick block. I took a quick look where their balcony used to be but now modern window frames were glittering defiantly. But generally speaking, nothing much has changed since I left the area. Instead, something else happened: trees had disappeared.

My magic trees that gave me thrilling, happy moments when I was a small girl, were cut down for making space to cars which needed parking spots. Or for building useless constructions. Read More