Monday, March 27, 2006

Airport Limbo

It's 6 pm and I'm sitting in the Halifax airport waiting for my 9 pm flight. Better early than late plus my parents have to drive back to their village up north which is about a 1.5 hr drive. And they want to stop at Walmart for a few things.
It's a long trip home... I'll land in Heathrow at 8:30 am, wait 8-9 HOURS there, then fly to Vienna where I wait again for a few hours until the 11 pm flight to Tirana. I think I'll be in bed by 1:30 am Wed, if I'm lucky.

They almost didn't let me leave Canada!!!! The ticket lady first made me pay for my 3rd bag. POUT! I took one large and two carry on sized, and you are only allowed 3 maximum, no matter what they weigh. So I parted with my credit card. Then she asked if I had a visa for Albania, which I don't. I told her I just have to pay 10 Euros when I arrive. She said "No. That's only for 30 day visitors. You need a residence permit or a return ticket to Canada." I started to shake- arggggggg. I hate problems like this. She started to look up the price of a ticket. I DO NOT want a return ticket. She told me I could get a refundable ticket. Man I was fuming. This never happened before. Did Albania change the rules in the last 4 months? (Certainly a possibility- we even had rules change retroactively in Romania) Of course she didn't know. I never heard of an Albanian Residence Permit. They're not THAT organized. All they want is the 10 euros- you should see how happy that lady is to take my money.

I started to feel like Robin Williams in Terminal. Have you seen that movie? It's hilarious. Anyhow, I felt like I was in no-man's land. I can't stay in Canada for more than 180 days/year or I'll lose my non-resident status, and I can't stay in Albania for more than 30 days without a special permit. I guess I have to keep moving. I told the ticket lady that I would only be in Albanian for a week and then I'm going to Vienna- would that make a diference? She asked me for that ticket, which of course I don't have- it's probably sitting on my husband's desk in Tirana.

She finally gave up and said "oh well.... I'll let you go to London and then it's someone else's problem! You'll probably get through to Vienna and then they will ask you for the Visa."

So I'm safe for about 18 hours I guess.

And then what??

5 comments:

ITS said...

Oh, how sad... I can see how troubled you are, by how you mistake Tom Hanks for Robin Williams.

I am sure once you enter Albania, all these troubles will be forgotten :-)

Cheers,

traveller one said...

oooooopsie! Thanks for the correction!

Mia said...

It sounds like someone was trying to pretend that they knew the rules. But you are the person who is going to live there and you know better. But at least they let you out of Canada.

christina said...

One of the reasons we never fly over London Heathrow is the looooong wait between flights. Too much for the kids to take.

I loved "The Terminal"!

But I don't love the fact that you had to go through so much fuss. How ridiculous. I think there is actually some sort of new rule though, requiring airlines to check if passengers have a visa/residence permit for wherever they're going since they could get into trouble for transporting potential refugees. Or something. :-)

Hope you made it to the other side in one piece and will post again soon.

Cynthia Rae said...

I hope you are now at home, safe and sound, sleeping away Wednesday in your bed. Hope you had a safe trouble free flight and that you are NOT in Vienna living in the airport!

Buona tornata! Welcome home!
Cyn