Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The story so far ...

3pm and still our New Zealand guests haven't arrived, despite them leaving Brussels around midday and despite me spending an hour at the designated meeting place in Berchem railway station.

My cellphone is away traveling and it's been one of those days when I really needed one.

At first the trains were simply running late but time passed and still there was no sign of our party of 5 from Brussels.

Eventually I decided it was time to take action that didn't involve me catching the tram all the way home to pick up phone numbers. I approached the international ticket desk and confessed that I had lost 5 New Zealanders on their train service ... did they offer any kind of tracking service?

Of course he had me repeat it.

He asked where they were coming from. I told him Brussels and waited for his eyebrows to return to the correct place on his face.

I shrugged my shoulders and looked embarrassed saying, 'I know ... it's never happened before'.

Going by my last phone conversation with them before I sprinted out the door, I figured they must have gotten off at Mechelen, mistaking it for Berchem. We were planning on meeting at the Panos cafe in Berchem and they so weren't there.

So a message that Diane was waiting for the Shaws in Berchem went out over Mechelen's public address system.

I tried the public phone info line for Gert's number at work as I knew he could contact them but I didn't know what the word 'haak' was and couldn't get through on the info number I had been given. (No telephone books there, in case you're wondering) and the chick in the music store was very busy with a private phone call.

It was at that point I realised I had crossed over and was eminating pathetic vibes.

Home again, home again and a phone call to Gert.

It turned out one of the Shaws in question had asked the train conductor at Berchem Station if there was a cafe there ... the conductor, clearly not being the most informed person when it came to the intricacies of Berchem Station, assured them there was no cafe.

They jumped back on the train and headed for the other place we'd thought about meeting ... that would be the life-size elephant sculptures outside Centraal Station.

I have to go pick up little Miss Three and I'm hoping that we'll either find the Shaws at the new meeting place or that, armed with our details, they'll find their way to us alone ...


Mark J said...

Great post Di.
Encore! Encore! :-)

Pam said...

I don't know if this will make you feel any better, but I lost a pair of Americans in Munich once. It turned out to be All My Fault, I'd mixed up the date (and had a bad cold) but it was awful, standing their in the Munich airport trying to explain to the stone faced person at the desk that my Americans Were Just Not Here. Bleh.

Di Mackey said...

Di bows to Mark ...

Pam, sigh ... I've done that one. I'm trying not to remember but it was in Istanbul and I had them paged over the public address system (as is my way obviously) went home eventually, checked the dates and went back to pick whoever it was (please don't let me remember) the next day.

Damn, it came back ... it was my cousin and her husband, all the way from New Zealand. The wheel fell off the taxi on the way home anyway, so it too was an adventurous couple of days.

Maybe it's an expat thing ..

Anonymous said...

Always stay cool, girl! Belgium isn't that big that you could get lost for ever ... See you! Lut

Di Mackey said...

Losing them between Brussels and Antwerpen is pretty special, Lut ... I was getting a little bit worried as they had been trying to reach since 9.30pm the night before :)