Insult? Meet Injury.

The following morning I re-checked my new flights. Amusingly, Tenerife South Airport’s website was still listing Globespan‘s two flights as on time. I’d spoken to a couple from Aberdeen who should have been on the other flight to me and they’d coughed up £1000 to get home. Ow.

Another person told me a friend of hers had taken up RyanAir‘s generous “repatriation” offer at £60 all in. Except for the additional fees. After which her flight was then £200. Plus it landed at Prestwick Airport (not Glasgow International) shortly before midnight so she had a costly taxi far to add to that.

Just to make that point there – RyanAir ripping off people stuck in a horrible situation. Absolutely no surprise whatsoever.

We were ushered out of our room so the cleaners could assault it shortly after 10am and jumped into a taxi to the airport. We were very early, so the queues were short although none of the check-in desks were open.

The fastest queue to grow, though, was EasyJet‘s. I think they were the only airline with flights covering routes offered by Globespan and a lot of people had not found out that they didn’t have a valid ticket any more until they arrived to see their flight cancelled.

I had a quick nosey at the board to see that Christina’s flight was on time and mine was… delayed. Oh great. I had 2 hours and 10 minutes’ layover at Belfast International. That gave me around an hour and a bit to get my luggage and check in for the next flight. I was now delayed by an unknown length of time.

Fortunately, it eventually became clear that my delay would be no more than an hour. After no fewer than three gate changes, we finally boarded (Christina and her mum were already on board their flight by this time) and taxi’d for take-off.

Credit to The flight was delayed due to bad conditions in the UK which caused problems with the plane being able to leave there to get to us. And it was a comfy enough plane for budget. Nice staff, too. And a decent in-flight magazine.

I snoozed and read all the way to Belfast where the couple next to me ushered me off the plane ahead of them as they knew I might be tight for time with my transfer. Fortunately, Belfast is a small airport and my luggage appeared fairly rapidly.

I ran down the corridor, got directions to check-in, ran down another corridor, turned left, spied the EasyJet check-in and gasped my way to it.

“Where are you going tonight, sir?”


“You are aware of the delay to your flight, yes?”


At that point it was an hour. Of course, it wouldn’t make a difference to checking in as they always close 40 minutes before the original, scheduled time. But that’s  no consolation. Again, weather was being blamed. And it could have been worse – I’d seen flights from Luton, Stansted and Gatwick cancelled.

I moped my way into the departure lounge and eventually settled down for a panini when my flight was delayed by an extra half hour.

And then bumped up by 15 minutes with a “boarding now” announcement just as I got my food. Typical.

I finally arrived in Glasgow at a little before 11pm. Christina and her mum had waited patiently (in a pub – surprise) for my arrival as I was driving them home. My uncle picked us all up and ferried us to their house where we swapped cars and I began the drive up towards Perth.

We didn’t die. I got everyone home safe. And it made for an interesting though tiring end to the week.

Huge thanks to Christina and Karen for inviting me out there. I really needed the break after my recent placement and other things that were messing with my head. And thanks to my dad for sorting the flights out at the UK end. More thanks to Stuart, my uncle for dropping me off at 5am and picking me up a few days later at 11pm.

Here’s hoping the excitement on my next holiday is all pre-planned.

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Are you sure you have flights home?


Erm... who?

Up early this morning to check on the situation regarding Globespan. A quick click onto their website and all seems fine. Flights still for sale, all hunky dory.

Then onto the BBC website, the Telegraph, some travel industry site… “Globespan goes bust”, “Largest Scottish Air Carrier Collapses Leaving 5000 Stranded”.

Back to Globespan’s page. A quick forced refresh and it changes into a nice note from PriceWaterhouseCoopers saying that they’re the administrator and as I booked direct with the airline for flights only that I’m… well… screwed.

And thus the lesson prompted by the collapse of Excel a year or so ago have been proven not to have been learned. There is still no cover for those who book flights directly with an airline. Book a holiday with them and you’re fine. Book the flights via a third party and ABTA cover you. No worries.

But save cash by booking direct and if the company goes under, you lose your money. And if you’re already abroad you have to sort your own self out as far as getting home goes. Why – a year on – is this still the same? Oh, yes. Because it would mean that companies would have to fund a scheme to help people in case it happened. And they’re businesses so it would hit their bottom line.

So. All of a sudden I had no flight home. Interesting.

Had things have been different, I’d not have cared too much. I’d have got the ferry to Marakech, or picked another flight at random to anywhere and worked my way home. Sadly, now, I am living something approximating a “real life” and so these options were no longer open to me.


My initial visit was to the Thomas Cook website. Christina and her mum were on a flight on Friday and there were apparently still seats on it at a decent price. Only every time I tried to book one, the website told me there wasn’t any room on my return flight. Which was weird given that I was only booking a one-way.

I gave up.

Next stop, which put me on the track of a staggered journey: Jet2 to Belfast and then EasyJet to Glasgow. Both tickets together around £120.

Following obvious advice, I stepped through the purchase of each bit by bit until I had each seat on standby. Better this than buying one, to go to the next site and find they’ve sold out! So both seats available, both ready to be paid for, fill in details, *click to buy*, on to other site *click to buy*…

EasyJet mail comes through instantly. Belfast to Glasgow sorted.… erm… what do you mean SQL Error? Refresh and the site tells to to rebook from the beginning. Argh.

I checked my account and the flight was there. It just hadn’t been paid for. Still reserved, but warning me that if payment wasn’t received “soon”, I’d lose it. Nowhere, though, was there an option to pay for the bloody thing.

I started again, went through the whole procedure… and ended up in the same position. Even changing the payment method made no difference. Wonderful.

On to Skype to ring their premium rate number where I go onto a very nice chap in Delhi who took all my details and promised they’d resolve everything. Someone would call me back in the next 2-3 hours. Just in case, I rang and emailed my dad so he had all the info as well. I couldn’t guarantee being able to re-contact Jet2.

Long story short, eventually my dad got it sorted. They billed me for both flights, only sent me paperwork for one, pre-acknowledged it was their mistake and a refund would be issued forthwith and – for some reason – wiped my frequent flyer points out.

The nice chap at reception let me print out my boarding cards for no fee, despite their being a pay-per-use PC with a printer attached nearby.

Oh, we walked to Las Américas again. And sat and read on the beach. And drank heavily. Well, I did. I think I’d earned it.

Situation sorted, though.

At least that’s what I thought…

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Siam Park… and the beginnings of a problem

Siam Park

A big sign and an old guy

Today’s excursion was to the large new water park opened a few months back – Siam Park. This is an oriental-themed water park with some pretty nifty rides, some decent places to eat and – I believe – the largest man-made waves in Europe.

We didn’t set off as early as we’d planned, but it did give us time for another hefty breakfast. Before I set off, I received a text from my aunt – “Heard on news that Globespan have gone bust. Who are you flying with? Mother worried”.

Guess who I was flying with? I checked online very swiftly and found that negotiations were underway and that Globespan were confident they’d get some cash through from their investors by the end of business. Nothing to worry about, storm in a tabloid.


So off we jolly-welled and got the free bus up to Siam Park.


We’d picked a good day as the rain from Tuesday and the overnight downpour had cleared the sky. Nice blue sunshine blazed down as we pattered around the park trying the rides. There are long slow ones, and scary big ones. Ones you go down in a tube by yourself, some in doublers and a couple in fours. They’re all pretty good fun.

There is also one ridiculously tall one that neither of us went on, mainly as it’s a 30 minute queue for a 9-second slide. Nah.

We spent a fair bit of time in the large pool at the top of the park with the aforementioned wave machine. For twenty minutes all is calm. Then for twenty more there’s a bit of rocking. Then in the twenty up to the hour, a gong chimes and a miniature tsunami is released with a roar every minute or two.

Seriously, it’s pretty impressive. It was the suddenness that surprised me. There’s a snort of released air and suddenly there’s a wave at the end of the pool travelling towards you. I’d love to know how they do it.

Mmm... beer

Even beer knows how to relax at Siam Park

We enjoyed lunch in the restaurant by the pool – I can recommend the overpriced but delicious red chicken curry. Very generous with the chicken, too. Then an hour or so sunbathing and listening to Steel Panther and giggling like schoolkids over their first copy of Viz. Well, they’re a silly band. Check this website to find out more.

All too soon it was time to head back on the free bus. A nice hot shower awaited to make my sunburn tingle before dinner at the attached restaurant.

Just in case, I checked further on the Globespan situation. It seemed ropey. Very ropey. But there were flights available on Friday I could move onto. I’d leave it overnight before booking something I might not need.

There are more of those rumours that we may have gone to a bar where karaoke may or may not have taken place.

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Doing nothing at all


Where's the winter sun, then?

Today I took the opportunity to do something I rarely do: nothing. Well, not exactly nothing but very little.

A lie in followed by a long read. A late – and large – full English breakfast. More reading. Some chilling, and then a bit of a relax.

Christina and I then decided to make the most of the gap in the clouds and walk over to Playa de las Américas. The weather wasn’t fantastic but I’ve seen worse in hotter countries. We just chatted, strolled, ate ice cream and sat on the beach for a while.

After a quick munch at McD‘s, Christina went to see about getting a little henna tattoo done but the girl who did the work didn’t bother to show up. So we walked back again. And sat and chilled and read books. Dinner was involved later and then an early night.

I don’t often relax. This was about as close as I get to it.

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Birthday in the sun

The Can-Can

Fit women showing you their knickers. That's class, that is.

My first full day on holiday was a) busy and b) my birthday. As mentioned yesterday, I decided to treat myself to a couple of dives, partly to try to make sure I didn’t need a PADI refresher as I’m required to dive every 6 months or I have to sit a course. Which is both expensive and annoying.

We got up fairly early and Christina decided to come along for the ride, though she couldn’t dive as she was coming down with a cold. The shop sorted me out with all my kit, including an air bottle that required a wrench to open. Not until I’d ripped the skin on my hand trying first. Ah well.

The boat was a smallish RIB with enough room for a handful of us. There were two instructors, the pilot, Christina and myself and two other divers. The trip to the first dive site was maybe 15-20 minutes during which time I managed to just about stave off seasickness. The sea was pretty calm so we’d picked a good day to go out.

Having said that, I couldn’t wait to get into the water and away from the bobbing. The sea was a moderately comfortable 19 degrees – colder than I’m used to, but fine with the full length wetsuit I’d been issued with. I was one on one with my instructor so we edged our way down the anchor rope to around 30m and began to explore.

Thing is, My mask kept fogging and I was rapidly becoming both dizzy and disorientated. I’ve never felt like this underwater before, even with mask problems. The mask was my own – I’d brought it with me and it had been fine in the past. I guess it needed a better clean before use. However, the head problems just wouldn’t go away. As long as I kept my mask clear, I wasn’t so bad but at the first hint of clouding I started to feel spaced out.

Not good.

I just relaxed and kept my mask clear as much as possible. The dive itself was OK with decent visibility, but nothing spectacular to see. However, I don’t remember too much of it which is a shame.


And more hot women in hotter pants.

When we surfaced, I had a bit of a headache and we also got stuck at the dive site for some time as the anchor had managed to wedge itself rather too securely on the sea floor. My instructor had to dive down to loosen it, and after almost half an hour of riding the waves what little food I’d had that morning decided to make an exit.

We made it to the second dive site, known for turtles, about half an hour after that where all the water I’d drunk decided to leave my digestive tracts and mix with the sea water. I decided to sit the dive out and lie down. I wasn’t just ill, I still had a sore head and felt dizzy. Not a good shape to be in before a dive, even a shallow one.

So that was most of the day. After returning to shore I headed back to the resort with a sandwich and had a bit of a snooze until I felt more human. I was in such a rush to lie down I even forgot to get my logbook stamped. Very annoyed about that.

The rest of the daylight hours were relaxed, and in the evening we caught a free bus up to see a cabaret show that Christina and her mum had booked. Not normally something I’d do on holiday, but hey – why not? It was called The Sound of Musicals and included a meal and all the alcohol we could shove down our necks.

It wasn’t bad, either. The food was pretty decent and the free wine not the worst in the world (though the rosé was the driest I’ve ever tasted and I stuck to beer anyway). The performances were good, and the song choices not bad either. There were numbers from The Sound of Music, Les Misérables, Chicago, and Joseph amongst others.

The girl sat next to me was related to one of the main cast members and on the way out I mentioned this to him as the performers waved us off. “The noisy girl at the front? Yeah, that’s my cousin!”

There is a vague possibility that Christina and I headed back to the karaoke bar when we returned to town, but there is no proof of these rumours. I hope.

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