Going for the Green

Thinking ahead, there have never been any redeeming factors for having a Malev’s frequent flier program membership. In the past, they always seemed to either lose my points or mysteriously disappear after three months without warning or explanation; however, Ron’s remained intact most of the time. To question them, I always had to visit their office to adjust it in person. Too much hassle. One quick Google search showed Malev as now being a member of the One World Alliance. Opps! We don’t have any memberships with any of those airlines. Best options were American or British Airlines. American seemed the most logical, but we have not flown either for over fifteen years. With a couple of keystrokes, we each were instantly American Airlines members with virtual cards. A quick screenshot of them pasting them into a document, I had them printed out for an airport presentation. This flight is 3 hours, over 1,ooo miles, a trip too good to miss out on miles.

There was not a single empty seat on the plane, meaning Ron and I had to sit in different aisles. Initially, we were two rows apart. I would have shared my row with two youngsters until they mother asked me to change seats. That put me one row ahead of Ron, a wee bit closer, not ht that we had any conversation stored for the flight. Good thing too. There were over twenty unaccompanied children or twenty-some little people on their way to an International Little People convention, we were never quite sure of their category. Regardless of their status, the little munchkins were on their way to the Emerald Isle. Even at baggage claim in Dublin there was no supervising adult hovering over these children with worried looks. There was no news of any orphanages in Hungary reporting a great escape. I wanted to give them my number in case they did find Oz. I would pay for their map and directions. I guess we should have hopped on their shuttle marked Yellow Brick Road Express, but we were too busy looking for our provided ride by Irish Rail.

Our escort was supposed to be wearing a bright yellow jacket. As we left Passport Control and then Customs, there was a small mob of anxious people waiting for loved ones or those they were commissioned to temporarily love and transport for a short time. Those looking for strangers had signs announcing who they were there to retrieve. No one had our names. There was a grandpa looking man with a yellow rain jacket, but he was busy speaking to a young woman, who we presumed was his arriving daughter. His hands were to his sides, one with a briefcase. 

Calling IrishRail was useless. They close at 5:00 pm. We walked back and forth and forth and back, but no one bore our name on any sign or signal to alert our attention. Elder man never left, though his young female companion had dismissed him minutes earlier. We finally approached him asking if he were from IrishRail. At this he turned around and showed us the logo on the back of his jacket; like this was intuitive for us to check him out front and back. There was no indication on the front of the jacket. Later when he gave us our documents, I noticed a sign with our names on it that never made it out of his briefcase. He claimed he thought the jacket would be enough. Hey Charlie! News flash…it does not work.

Charlie is how we referred to him; we never did catch his name, but he could not remember ours either. He was to transport us to our hotel. Transport was public bus with tickets provided by IrishRail, but due to our late arrival, the bus we needed had its last run for the night. An alternate bus did not accept our tickets,  only took us part of the way, but then we had to take a tram the rest of the ride, purchasing our own tram tickets. We did not arrive at the hotel until close to 11:00 pm. Charlie kind of hinted we should join him at the pub near the hotel when I had asked about pubs being open. That was hours earlier it seemed and my interest had waned significantly. 

IrishRail booked us into the Ashling Hotel for two nights. As it turned out it was a Best Western, better than any I have remembered in the past and the service was exceptional. To celebrate Ireland, we had a pint in the lounge, deciding for forfeit dinner. Malev only provided a sandwich as a meal, but we were too tired by this point to hunt out places. Pubs would be closing soon, making pub food scarce. 

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