The show must go on, a phrase that almost everyone has heard at least once. Whether it has been said to you, or the first time you heard it was from Moulin Rogue (that is where I first heard it growing up) or the haunting hit song from Queen, nearly everyone has heard it. It is a beautiful song and honestly another motto that I try to use in my everyday life. You see this traveling Gypsy suffers from invisible chronic illness.
Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, are evil. Like serious I would not wish them on my worst enemy. I don’t often talk about my chronic illness in a public way, but I felt I needed to address it today for some reason. Perhaps as a reminder to myself that the show must always go on, life does not stop for anyone, ever. It just keeps moving forward and so must we.
Has anyone else noticed the fun little tweak to the design around here? I will be the first to say it is not super obvious and I have not finished yet, but I am rather proud of myself for it. I did it myself and as someone who used to be good at building websites back in the day of GeoCities, but then got lost that makes me feel accomplished. With that being said, has anyone else watched The Kindness Diaries? There is a new season up and I Have to say once again I ended up crying at least once in every single episode. For those reading who don’t know what The Kindness Diaries are, allow me to introduce you. First you need to meet the man behind the Kindness Diaries, here he is Mr. Leon Logothetis.
2/18/19 – Okay so this Lovely London post was started back in 2018 shortly after my piss off delta post LOL. Whoops. (oh and the big bit about balance haha) Yes I know I didn’t get back to it, but as usual I got tugged a million different directions. I am still working on that whole bloggy balance thing. I promise, I am working on it. Slowly, I am getting better at it. As always though, it is a work in progress and one thing I am getting much better about is not flogging myself so much for not getting the balance just right, especially when it comes to things that are supposed to be about enjoyment like blogging. So, lets get back to that post I didn’t finish in 2018 shall we? Yes I am going to post it with some funny little ad in’s, because why not have a laugh about it. Eh?
Oh Delta airlines, where does this humble Purple Gypsy begin.
A flight, some of us love it and some of us hate it. I fall somewhere in the middle when it comes to actually flying. I am indeed a nervous flyer, I get very anxious on planes and just the idea of being locked in a tin can that makes me at the mercy of someone else that may or may not be having a good day (not slighting pilots here I appreciate they do such a tough job), my dogs are even trained to help me with that anxiety (and others). I have learned to cope with flights, though, because I want to see the world and these days that generally means flying.
Don’t get me wrong, I get whimsical and picture hopping on a large cruise liner (sometimes it’s a yacht ,depends on the day) and sailing the ocean to see the world. Dancing the night away with a handsome man and praying no one yells “Iceberg, straight ahead!” while I am sleeping. I love steamer trunks and the idea of dressing in my best to wave to my loved ones as I set off on my grand tour. I take a carriage back and forth to the docks as well just because, of course. Alas of course, this is not a way many travel these days. Even steerage is hella expensive and flying is the faster and generally cheaper way to go. So overcome one must!
As my Gypsy snapshots from instagram have shown I was winging my way around England and Italy in May & June. I am going to be making posts about the trip now that I have finally kicked myself in the rear end about my blogging and set myself a plan, can see more about it on Birth of a Notion if you want to. I need to catch up on my diary too, ha what can I say I have been busy doing so many things other things have ended up falling down. I struggle with finding balance sometimes, I am a work in progress like most of us.
So I feel it is best to start this story where you would start any good story of course, at the beginning. It was a lovely hot day in Tucson (what else is new) and after pulling an all nighter to make sure I was sorted with my shop and then last minute packing it was off I went. For this particular trip I had been adventurous and took advantage of an Expedia Bargain Fare. This meant I paid a lower price and did not have any say in my layovers, or even the times of my flight. Adventure right? Believe it or not the flight times were very reasonable and really there was no big issue with the ticket experience. I might even do the bargain fare again sometime, but the biggest downside is that you don’t get to pick the airline.
There is the rub in this little story.
I was given flights from Virgin Atlantic. I have heard decent enough things about Virgin and was not too worried about it, until I looked closer my domestic flight. Of course there was going to be a layover, heck I was surprised to only have one. My domestic flight was Delta and of course after a little research that I had not bothered to do before (dumb my fault), Virgin and Delta are bed buddies these days.
I have had issues with delta before. I have found the staff rude, flights oversold and a number of other problems. I know many other people have also had issues with Delta from celebrities (who seem to have problems with lots of airlines) to just the everyday traveler. It really does seem to have gotten worse in the recent years. I decided even though I was not very happy about it, a small, relatively short from TUS to ATL domestic flight shouldn’t be a problem. Just a little hop, skip and a jump, a little sitting about and then off I was going to England.
Boy was I ever wrong.
At first everything seemed very well and no big deal. Then when we tried to land in Atlanta it turns out we couldn’t do so. There were a few different stories told about why we couldn’t. One was a thunderstorm and that seemed to be the one they stuck with the most. So alright let us go with that one. Then we don’t have enough fuel to circle so we had to be diverted.
Did you just say I am on a plane that doesn’t have enough fuel to make a little circle? A plane that like two hours ago was on terra firma and I mean, isn’t that when you should FUEL the plane? Yeah to say my anxiety went through the roof would be an understatement, I mean come on. I remained silent and obedient in my seat, because I am paranoid about being one of “those” passengers. We land safely (Thank the Gods) in Alabama and there we sit. First, it should only be about 20 minutes, then 45….. 4 hours later we had been given more fuel and were in line to take off again. Yes, 4 hours later. I get it the little regional place we landed was not equipped to deal with the influx they got I do get that. 4 extra hours sitting on a plane on the tarmac though, is enough to test even a saint and I am no saint.
By the time we finally got to Atlanta, where they made all sorts of promises about connecting flights. I had missed my original connecting flight. I had also by 10 minutes missed the last flight going to London for the evening. Weary Gypsy slowly made her way to customer service to see what would be done.
That is where things really went sour.
I did not miss my flight because I wasn’t paying attention.
I did not miss my flight because I was late.
I did not miss my flight because of anything at all that I did.
I missed my flight because Delta had me locked in one of their planes on the tarmac in Alabama. Customer service, however, acted like it was my fault. I was not the only one getting that treatment either and my heart goes out to my fellow travelers that day who were stranded. I won’t go into all the long details as this post is already getting a little bit long. Let us just say that it took over 2 hours to get them to do anything at all.
One staffer just told me to go sleep on the floor and wait for a flight the next evening.
One staffer said it was my fault, so they really couldn’t do anything.
Another made me call someone on a red phone that didn’t do me any good, they said someone at the airline had to help me.
When I was finally able to get someone to help me and rebook the flight it wasn’t until 7pm the next day. When it came to where I could stay for the night I was given a “voucher” to make my overnight at a local hotel cost $99. It wasn’t until well after I got to England I looked things up and found out I could have paid $79 without the stupid voucher. Interesting how that worked. Check out time of course was no later than 11, so it was back to the airport the next morning for a long long wait time and sitting around for my flight.
Atlanta is of course the home of Coke.
So I couldn’t find a single Pepsi anywhere. For me that was a special slice of Hades.
At least I had my special Wonder Woman water bottle to keep my hydrated and I can still come up with star dates. Not sure if that is a useful talent?
I did manage to chat with a few nice people along the way though. I met one Virgin staff member that morning who was very kind and helpful. The desk that day didn’t even open until 2 hours after I got to the airport. He took pity on me and made sure I got checked in so I could go on through security and sit until my evening flight. He was also super kind several hours later and upgraded me to a little more leg room seat for my flight to London.
So thank you super kind guy from Virgin Atlantic in Atlanta I am sorry I really should have gotten your name. This weary Gypsy was still in such a tizzy it slipped my mind.
This was my view for a large part of the day. I am very glad I had crochet and some technology or this Gypsy would have been bored and having an anxiety attack. Having anxiety is not great fun when things go wrong during traveling. The key was not to let it win though and I didn’t allow it to.
Finally after what seemed to be forever (yes I am being a tiny bit dramatic here) the plane was boarded. I will say the extra leg room was pretty nice!
The details of the plane ride and the landing however, will be saved for the next post. I hope you have enjoyed my little story of how my trip started and well my anti delta post. As if them doing some BSL banning against service dogs wasn’t bad enough (hello not legal). Someone really needs to give them a few customer service lessons.
So the time was officially upon us, Phoenix Comic Con 2016! I went for the first time to this comic con last year for one day and I really did love every moment of it. So when I saw the list of attendees for this year I knew I had to go for them and because of the fun of comic con in general. So the bags were packed and the pibbies in their service dogs in training vests were loaded up and it was time to get going on a two hour tour, kidding kidding but there was a drive involved.
The trip went off without a hitch as far as the drive and we checked into our hotel easily. Diva & Olly were extra happy about the room as well.
The room was super clean and everything looked pretty new. While last year the stay was clean enough things were looking a little run down and shabby. Motel 6 though you can’t really complain about it unless it is not clean. You could tell the room we were in and (likely others) had recently been redone and could even detect a hint of fresh paint smell. So an overall thumbs up to Motel 6 Black Canyon! I do have to suggest you guys really get your ice maker fixed though, it was out of order this year just like last year. Come on you are in Phoenix people need ice.
Friday we were up and at em ready, go to go. The heat was marked to be a record breaking 115 that day so we packed plenty of water with the pet to go bowls and water jugs and were set. Last year getting tickets was an easy affair, went inside waited for a little while and then got the prepaid passes. Passes were paid for in February in preparation. Now, since it was a Friday this Gypsy did expect a little bit more of a wait, but once loaded and through traffic we got there about 11am, so thought the wait should be medium at worst.
This is where everything went completely pear shaped and boy was I wrong about the wait. Apparently everyone in Phoenix planned for the heat save for Comic con. There was a line snaking around the building in a very confused way that also nearly guaranteed everyone would be in direct sunlight for a long time. We dutifully took our place in line as one directing guy assured us the line was moving fast and would not take that long to get us in. I worriedly pointed out the service dogs with us and once more was assured the line wouldn’t take long.
An hour into our outside wait in the blazing sun and trying to find what shade was find-able even as one person stayed in line and the other took the dogs we were really getting concerned. My companion went to find another staff person to speak with to see if an accommodation could be made. The dogs were doing their work despite the horrible heat. We were looking for any kind of accommodation, an ADA entrance maybe or just a way to flag our spot in line and allow us to go inside and sit with the dogs and wait for our spot in line to come up. We did not expect to budge ahead. I have never been anywhere that they won’t make any kind of ADA accommodation and according to my companion, I was turning redder than a tomato, which is not a good sign for me. When she politely asked my friend was laughed at, snorted at and told to get in line like everyone else. Not acceptable. We were not the only ones having that issue either, there was several disabled people waiting outside and even another service dog. Grand total we waited in the heat for over two hours. Once we got inside my companion went to get the tickets and I immediately went to sit down and take care of the dogs. I myself was feeling faint, close to passing out. I don’t consider myself a weanie, but 2 hours in direct sunlight in 115 degrees is dangerous to anybody. The news even had “death temperature” warnings.
I quickly stripped their vests off and filled our portable water bowls for the dogs (i had been giving them a lot of water outside as well) so they could cool down as fast as possible. Diva laid herself out after drinking a lot of water and Olly did the same but was not in the mood for a photo.
Once we got a little bit cooled off, it was time to do some people watching.
While I was still pretty miserable I enjoyed watching them watch people and of course I was enjoying the people as well. A lot of people came over and said hello and asked about the dogs, which was nice. That is part of their job making it easier for me to communicate with other people. Give me nature, give my animals and I am perfectly at home. People, however, make me want to run and hide. Ha so she goes to Comic con you say.
We had made plans to walk around the con and see things on Friday, but once everyone was cooled down we were also exhausted. So we all agreed to head home for the night and start fresh on Saturday. Olly was certainly okay with this choice.
Saturday was a brand new day, even though we needed them with us, we decided to leave the dogs in the nice cool hotel. It was going to be 118 degrees and while we had our passes, we just did not trust something wouldn’t go wrong given how things went on Saturday. Traffic was better and we got inside relatively fast around 9am. There was already a crush of people! That is where this gypsy started doing her favorite thing finding great costumes to take a picture of. I succeed through the day and here are a couple of my favorites, which have been posted on their own as I took them.
Bad guy Zoom! Creepy he even had the voice.
Harry Dresden, Wizard! He even had business cards.
The one and only Deadpool.
Such a sweet, cute couple, Killian Jones and Emma Swan
There really were a lot of fantastic costumes this year and these are just a couple of my favorites. I did not approach everyone and ask and I am a firm believer that Cosplay is not consent so if you don’t ask to take a picture don’t take it. Social anxiety is a pain in the rear end sometimes, but I still got some great shots that I am happy with. The Dresden really made me the happiest because I am a massive Dresden fan and that Bob the skull I asked him to hold.. was mine.
James Marsters was the highlight of Saturday for me. There were a lot of great people there this year, including Alex Kingston and Billie Piper, but James was the big one for me. He arrived late for his autograph op, which while slightly annoying was alright. It gave us geeky people a chance to walk to one another and enjoy being friends. I met a nice group of people, including a brave young woman battling cancer. If you read this Hun big shout out to you and you CAN BEAT THIS.
When he did arrive James was friendly and kind to everyone in line. He made a connection and chatted a little bit with everyone as they got their autographs. It was wonderful to see and he was genuinely pleased to see a variety of things come along. Me and the lovely gal in front of me had Dresden articles to show. He was very excited about that and when asked how long he would be the narrator for the books by Jim Butcher?
“I will narrate the books until either me or Jim DIE”
So there you have it to anyone else who reads or listens to the books. After the autographs we looked around the hall of heroes, some more and enjoyed it. AZ Avengers as always, were fantastic and I wish I would have had the patience to stand through the people and get some more pictures. More people watching was involved.
Picture time came and once again James was a hit with everyone. He really is one of the nicest people you will ever meet. I had Bob with me again, of course, and no sooner then we were about to pose for the picture then he said.
I said of course and gave him Bob. The resulting pose and picture was amazing. Please pardon the crop but I am respecting my companion and my own’s social anxiety issues with this one and just sharing the man himself and his awesome Bob holding pose.
He even went to make sure the photo turned out with the photo people and we may have heard the exclamation of bad ass! All in all the perfect end to a fantastic day at Comic Con. It was very busy all around, but worth every second.
Sunday was supposed to be another day of enjoyment. Sadly, we had to cut it out as my companion had some very bad feet. The bottom line, Phoenix was a really nice adventure. We arrived back home in Tucson safe and sound and I had to play catch up with things. So the post is a little bit late in coming, but I have enjoyed writing it. I recommend anyone who wants to attend a fantastic comic con than is still growing, to check out Phoenix. You can get tickets unlike San Diego and have just as much fun!