So there I was; stranded alone at a bus stop outside Calais with a suitcase, a rucksack and two euros seventy-five in my pocket. I managed to use the pictograms on the bus stop to figure out which bus would take me back into town. After wandering cluelessly around the city for an hour or so, I managed to find an affordable hotel and some food. I couldn’t get through to Qantas from my hotel phone that night, so I had to wait until the next day to try to straighten the whole mess out.
The following morning I made my way down to the Calais tourism office to begin my quest. I had to walk around the block a few times before I even started, since the office didn’t open until eleven o’clock. Apparently French tourists like to sleep in.
I got directions to an internet/phone café and got busy. The first place I rang was Qantas’ France office. I spoke to a friendly American man there, but unfortunately he told me he wasn’t able to change any bookings for London flights at his office, and he gave me a number for the London office. As you might imagine, at this point I wasn’t particularly optimistic about the possibility of getting any help at all from the English. As it happens I was right, but fortunately the English unhelpfulness extended as far as having their office shut completely. I was automatically patched through to the New Zealand office. It was a pleasant surprise to be asked “how cen Oi hilp you” from the other side of the world.
Thankfully the Kiwis knew exactly what had to happen. I could change my booking from “London to Adelaide” to “Paris to Adelaide” for only a small fee, but they would need a copy of my passport and a copy of the document denying me entry to the UK. Fortunately the internet/phone café was also a fax café. I sent all my papers from Calais to Aukland, and by lunch time the next day I was all sorted out to come home. Thank God for the Kiwis. And thanks for nothing, you stupid useless whinging Pommy bastards.
So now here I am at an internet point in Changi airport, Singapore. I’m almost two thirds of the way home, and killing time while I wait for my next flight. Buying a whopper meal with a credit card is a really strange sensation.
Far from home
Garry with 2 Rs