22 December 2006

Merry Delays

The irony of Christmas travel is this: precisely at the moment it is most important for everyone to arrive on time to their destination, the number of travelers wanting to do so causes them not to arrive on time.

Or chowder-thick fog in London causes it.

I am in Barcelona, and today I have visited the airport twice in hopes of finding my tall blonde family standing out like sore (jet-lagged) thumbs amongst the short chestnut-haired Catalans.

No such luck.

Yes, for some crazy reason they all decided to ship out--brothers, sister, in-laws, nephew, parents--, and instead of spending Christmas in idyllic snowy Vermont (remember Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney in White Christmas? yep, Vermont), they will be in sunny but cold Catalonia, in a big Catalan farmhouse, eating the local Christmas specials like escudella.

The series of e-mail subject headings from my father throughout the day should tell the story (of long delays, no one telling them anything, cancellations, getting a flight to Madrid instead, flight to Madrid delayed, still hoping for a Madrid-Barcelona flight)...

>Flight from London to Barcelona
>Dad and family still at Heathrow 7:00 am
>Re: Dad and family still at Heathrow 7:00 am
>Dad Heathrow 11:25am
>Dad Heathrow again
>Dad--flight to Madrid now, then on to BCN
>Travel on Friday to Madrid

As of 9 this evening we still haven't heard anything from Madrid and we're crossing our fingers that they'll make it to BCN before the rental car place closes. Bah humbug on Iberia.

The good news is, it's not Christmas yet, or even Christmas Eve, so there's a bit of leeway. And once they arrive, we're going to celebrate a Christmas like we've never celebrated before. It's going to involve Catalan Christmas traditions like logs that poop presents (yes, I will elaborate later, and no, I am not making this up), a little clay pooper to be found hiding in nativity scenes, and a man with 364 noses.

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