Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Stranded in Cyprus - Now on 'semi-standby'

Lots to tell you today! It has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride yesterday and this morning with hopes raised and then dashed and then raised again.

Yesterday we made the decision to buy a small netbook computer since getting access to the hotel's computers was getting almost impossible unless you were prepared to queue for ages or get up at 6am. Our rep. recommended a small computer shop to us that was a bus ride away and we set off to find it. The guy in the shop was really helpful and so now I am writing this post on a new MSi U100 netbook computer in the privacy of my hotel room! My husband has been talking about getting a new netbook computer for a while now and I've been subtley putting him off since he already has one. Walking back to the bus stop he said 'I knew it would take something like a volcano before you'd let me buy one'. So my husband might be to blame for the volcano errupting - the lengths some men will go to get their own way!

Yesterday was a day of meetings and updates. We started the day with high hopes of good news about flying home since British airspace had re-opened only to find out that it had closed again due to more ash. The worst thing about the day though was that a holidaymaker's 'aparteid' developed in the hotel. People on a 'flight only' basis from the travel company's point of view were all downgraded and moved out to low grade self-catering accommodation whilst the 'package holiday' people were told to stay in the hotel on full-board arrangements. The flight only people weren't too happy about moving out with 1 hrs notice, especially as couples were being expected to share accommodation with other couples! Many of these people were refusing to leave the hotel, preferring to be sent to a higher class of self-catering accommodation across the road from the hotel. So a stand-off began between the reps and the 'protesters' which lasted about an hour.

The atmosphere was a bit ugly in the hotel at this point so we decided to go off into Paphos for lunch. It seemed to be all over by the time we got back and a sense of calm had come back over the hotel again.

A happier thing that happened yesterday was that it was my wedding anniversary - 19 years! I didn't expect to be spending it in a luxury hotel in Cyprus so that was an added bonus. Had we been at home my husband would have been in London all day and I would have been at my drama club in the evening so we wouldn't have seen each other all day!

There have been all sorts of knock on effects for people as this situation continues. Many people's single trip travel insurance has expired so whether that will affect insurance claims I'm not sure. Fortunately we have annual multi-trip insurance. Some people have run out of medication. One chap I spoke to yesterday had run out of some rather specialised medication and had been sent to the local private hospital. They were able to assess him but unable to dispense the medication so they sent him to the local state hospital which he said was bit 'third world'. They had the medication but said it would cost him 1000 euros! He came back without
it and spoke to the rep. She clearly has a magic wand because later in the day he told me he had received the medication free of charge under the European reciprocal health arrangement. Another woman is quite heavily pregnant and is being made an emergency by the airline so she may get home today!

The meeting this morning was very positive. Apparently the 'Wednesday' people i.e people who should have flown last Wednesday, flew home last night at short notice and arrived safely at Newcastle airport (should have been Gatwick but at least it's the Uk). The 'Saturday' people have been told to pack immediately as there are 5 flights leaving paphos for the Uk this evening. We are 'Sunday' people and have been told to check for updates every 2 hours and to stay around the hotel.

It's not likely we will fly today but the situation is changing by the hour so we have to be on 'semi-standby' just in case spare seats are available on any of the planes.

Actually we'd quite like to go home on Friday now (finish the week off here, get back to school and work next Monday) but I suppose beggars can't be choosers!

I might be able to give a further update later today - if I'm not on a plane!

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FredInChina said...

Ahhh - what an adventure Sue! You keep us all suspended to the next turn...

Great job with the updates & glad you were able to enjoy your time in spite of the hurdles.

Happy anniversary Sue!

safe travels.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your anniversary, hope you get home soon. Lucky for you the travelling-agency covers all the costs.



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