Zagreb to Cork, Ireland

09:00, bus to ZAG: Up at 07:20, shower, packed, pastry, tram to bus station. On schedule so far.

The three flights are on three different airlines which I booked myself…gulp. (They aren’t responsible for delays from the others, nevermind if I accidentally booked one leg for the wrong day.) So, I’m flying Zagreb-London (Luton)-Dublin-Cork, and I have at least 2.5 hours in each place. I think I have enough time to claim baggage, get through customs, and re-check.

Either bedbugs, or the fear of them, kept me up much of the night. Then drunken assholes kept me up the rest, coming in plastered at 04:00 and 06:20.

10:48: Waiting at the gate, trying to spend my last kunas. This final cup of tea will get me down to 2.10, which is about €0.30, which ain’t bad.

I decided to risk buying a 1/2 liter of grappa with thyme. The sales person assured me that if I left it in the security bag that I could get through all of the checkpoints I am facing. I had my doubts, so I ran back to the security station here and asked the agents manning the x-rays. They agreed that it should be ok to take through.

[At the food counter/bar, Zagreb Airport] There is a woman sitting next to me in some kind of uniform – glances make me think Croatian Airlines – drinking something strong, rakija I think. Which would be fine – she doesn’t look like a pilot, and it is almost 11am – but she is also coughing up a lung without covering her mouth, spewing god knows what in my general direction. Ugh.

Mom is worried about the world situation, and I caught some pretty apocalyptic BBC in the youth hostel… it does almost sound like the end of the world, financially at least. HardTalk asked the question “are we headed for a depression?” (not recession) and the guy at the hostel desk said “this crisis is going to make 1929 look like a fun party”. Maybe I should head home, stock up the cabin, and ride it out Grizzly Adams style.

15:20 I am so angry and sad I could easily cry. For one thing I just poured out 100mL of Talisker Distiller’s Edition single malt scotch whisky to get through security. For another reason, I drank around 150mL before giving up and dumping the rest. Finally, Ryanair (sorry, Kamila) charged me 12GBP PER KILO for every kilo over 15 (what happened to the good old 20kg standard?) I had 20.8 (after I stuffed my jacket pockets with several kg) and the compassionate-yet-unyielding woman at the ticket counter rounded down to 20, but still, 60 GBP for 5kg extra. I’ll censor the rest of that paragraph.

As for the 5kg, I guarantee that I weigh 5kg less than the average lardass on this flight. If you’re going to be a jerk about me carrying everything I need to work for umpteen months on my back, then weigh the $!@#*& passengers and charge them accordingly!

Carry-on is a strict 1-item limit, although at least they seem to be fair and not letting women get away with a purse as a second item. Supposedly a 10kg limit, although I am the only person I’ve seen, in over an hour, who got checked for weight. As for the scotch, I only had 100mL left (the limit on liquids) but since it was in a 500mL bottle it was no-go. At least they haven’t asked me to turn on my (broken) laptop – that could have gotten interesting.

There are military people walking around Luton with BIG guns, and one guy had it not pointed down at the ground, and had his finger on the trigger guard area. I’m really not liking the UK at this point, at least not their airports. Take me back to the ex-Soviet bloc, the commies. I was more comfortable in ex-Yugoslavia than in the UK.

16:00 on the Ryanair cattle car, er, I mean airplane. I had just barely enough time in Luton to scarf down a surprisingly good pizza – chicken, spicy sausage, onion, hot pepper – and a pint of draught Staropramen beer, and the day started to look brighter, slightly.

Tried to make small talk with the woman in the window seat: “are you from Lithuania? I was just in Vilnius a few months ago – lovely!” Suspicious look: “How did you know I am from Lithuania?” “Um, from the passport you shoved in my face as you squeezed past to get to your seat…”

Oh, and the people in Zagreb were wrong, of course, about the grappa getting through security. Fortunately I asked about it while I still had my checked baggage, and was able to shove it down inside (and then pay 12GBP for the extra weight).

18:45: Aer Arann counter. Very nearly had to pay another €42 for the extra 6kg (my pack gained weight between Ryanair’s scales and these?) since my added-baggage fee paid to Ryanair didn’t mean squat to this airline. But the woman here was less of a …stickler (not what my notes had) and let me slide.

23:51 bedtime in Cork. Kamila met me at the airport and after a short taxi ride we were home. Long day. Basically dropped the bag and fell asleep.