We were set. Packed. Ready to go. We waved goodbye to my mum, who had generously taken us to the airport. And we were off.
Or so we thought.
A line snaked its way through the airport. We laughed, looked at the board to see where we needed to go, and realised that this was our line. With what seemed to be about 200 people and three staff serving them.
We joined the line, chatting and hoping that it would hurry up, but it didn’t. It took almost two hours for us to simply check in. I joked with the woman who checked us in that we should get something for our honeymoon. “Oh darling,” she said, “things like that don’t happen anymore. It’s all about money now”. Our hopes and dreams of an upgrade were dashed.
On to the next line: security border, followed by security check. Paperwork to be filled in, bags to be opened, laptops to be taken out. And then we were finally out. We rushed to the only luxury we could afford to use: the American Express Lounge. We had 30 minutes to use it before we had to get to our plane. We relaxed, finally able to enjoy the start of our honeymoon. A man and his wife sat next to us, with the man joking about how the wife makes all the rules, how she nags, etc. It wasn’t pleasant. So we left.
We sat down on the plane, only to realise the seats were tiny. I’m talking claustrophobic-worthy tiny. The food was brought around, but I felt queasy just looking at it. Husband scoffed it down, citing the fact that we needed to eat during the flight otherwise we’d go hungry. I preferred to go hungry. We both tried sleeping, but to no avail. And, when we decided to watch movies, we found that 98% of all the TV shows and movies were Chinese. Not movies that happened to be in Chinese, but they literally were all Chinese movies. I tossed and turned in my tiny seat, as did husband, and we both looked at each other, our eyes pleading the other to say “it’ll get better”.
After a terrible flight, we got off in Beijing. We joined a line, realised it was the wrong line, joined the right line, and were told we had to go to a different line to check in. We told the check-in person that it was our honeymoon, and his response was “Okay, so because it’s your honeymoon, I’ve managed to make sure you’re sitting together”. Great. We have about 35 minutes until our plane boards, so we rush around to the passport stamping area (yep, not really sure what else to call it). Then, it’s on to the security check. Which is a hell of a long line. And then, out of nowhere, a woman appears, bringing us to the front of the queue so we don’t miss our flight. It’s like an angel has appeared, and we’re so grateful. We rush to our gate, show our boarding passes, and…are told our flight is running late and that we will only be boarding in an extra 30 minutes. I say something along the lines of “I just feel like I’m meant to be telling people that it’s our honeymoon. So, yeah, it’s our honeymoon”. The woman looks at me, and says “Um…congratulations?” and walks off. I’m mortified.
We get on the plane, and food arrives. I still refuse to eat much, except for bread and water, but husband keeps eating. And then, just a few hours before we arrive in Zurich, he throws up. He feels terrible, and hasn’t slept much. We arrive in Zurich for yet another flight (note: it was going to be $700 extra each for us to fly with just one stop). The Swiss airport is insane. It’s so quick and everything runs on time. We catch a train to the terminal, and get on the plane. We fly over the Swiss Alps (extremely low, I might add), and captured some amazing photos. We look at each other, husband feeling much better, and say “It can only get better”.
Arriving in Milan, I have this sinking feeling that my bag might not arrive. We wait, and there it is. I breathe a sigh of relief, and we wait for husband’s bag. When everyone else has left, we realise that his isn’t coming. The carousel stops moving.
Husband is basically comatose by this point. Big dark bags hang under his eyes. His tall stature seems to droop. It’s painful to watch. He drags himself to the lost and found, which feels like it’s in the centre of a labyrinth. At each turn, there’s another turn, and there’s a worry that husband might fall over and not get back up. Finally, we find the counter for lost and found. Because of husband’s state, I have to explain to the woman what has happened. She informs us that his suitcase is on a flight out to Milan still, and will only arrive the following day. Fantastic. Just what we needed. She gives us the necessary information, and a toiletries bag, and sends us on our way. We convert some Australian dollars for Euros, and go searching for a taxi, as a train seems out of the question with husband’s queasiness. The first guy offers us a trip for 100 Euros, but it turns out to be a private car (note: not Uber). Nope. The next guy harasses us, and offers us a trip for 90 Euros, also in a private car. We just want a bloody taxi. Finally, we find a taxi. The guy speaks limited English, but humours me by giving me an Italian lesson, while husband gazes out the window longingly, probably thinking about how great it will be once he’s had a million hours of sleep.
We get to the apartment, and are greeted by a friend of the Airbnb host. He shows us around the apartment, and then leaves. Husband marches straight for the bed, collapsing onto it as though he’s never seen a bed before. I go to the bathroom for a shower. Turning on the water, I wait for it to heat up. After a good 10 minutes, the water is still freezing. I give up, and message the host to let him know. It’s 4pm, and husband turns to me and says he’s fine with just a 1.5-hour nap. I switch on his alarm for 5:30pm, while my phone is charging in another room. I close my eyes, elated at finally being able to sleep horizontally after almost 24 hours of travel.
I groggily open my eyes. I’m starving, and feeling a bit wobbly. I reach over for husband’s phone, and it’s 11:30pm. We’ve slept for 7.5 hours. I yell “What the hell?”, and husband replies “I know”. We’re both trying to make sense of it all, and then he realises he’s left his phone on ‘complete silence’ mode, meaning the alarm wouldn’t have even made a sound. I’m furious. We’ve missed out on hours of walking the city, on dinner, on our first day of our honeymoon. Husband is still feeling ill, but I (the ever-caring wife) demand that we go out to a supermarket to buy some bread and meat. I had tried to order takeaway, but it seemed we needed an Italian phone number to do that — something we had planned to organise instead of sleeping. By the time we actually decide to go to the supermarket, it’s 1am. And it’s cold. The streets are beautifully empty, mist swirling about. We then get home, I eat dinner, and we go to bed.
The next morning, we wake up, and get ready to go for a tour my mum had bought for us as my birthday present. Husband is really, really unwell. And, to top it off, our money has still not come through, so we’re left with the remnants of what we had converted at the airport, which was about 30 euros. We take out money at an ATM using our Australian debit cards, and were charged nothing at all. Any other money has been spent on medication for husband, who is really not having a great time. And we still have to hope that he will get better soon.
And then he got better.