Flight from hell
After an especially long and exhausting drive or flight, a grueling week at work, or a mind-numbing exam period — what’s the one thing you do to feel human again?
Swedes know how to party. Even more so when they have lived in Spain for a while.
Summer 2011. I wasn’t completely sure what I had gotten myself into when my Swedish friend Anna suggested flying to Alicante for a 4 day partying weekend. My alarm bells should have been ringing when she mentioned that we’d be staying in a hostel. “Don’t worry Mel”, she said, “we’re in a female dorm, well, apart from the last night, then it’s mixed.”
Flying Ryanair – fine. Staying in hostels – meh. But mixed dorm? No way! Anna said we’d be drunk most of the time and she had a fair point there so everything was planned and booked.
Alicante was great, except: we didn’t really party. Eating dinner at midnight, hitting the bars at 2am and dancing the night away in a club at 5am did not appeal to my body clock. I was desperate to experience a slice of the notorious Spanish nightlife though so on our last night we decided to party all the way through to our flight the next morning at 8am. Bad idea. Really bad idea.
The night started off great with a house party at Anna’s friend who lived right by the sea. The views were gorgeous. Around midnight I was still going and felt I could take on the world. The next hours are a bit of a blur, they definitely involved alcohol and as everyone knows mixers in Spain means a ratio of 80/20 instead of just pure alcohol. Fast forward 5 hours. We made it into a night club, yes! My first and only experience of a Spanish night club. Too bad it was empty except our little sad group. At 5.30am Anna found me asleep in a corner on the floor. She woke me up and said “We need to go and get our stuff, the bus to the airport is leaving soon”. So we did and miraculously arrived at the airport at 6:45am.
I was tired, hungover and actually looked forward to sitting on a Ryanair flight for the purpose of getting some much deserved sleep. Because we arrived quite late at the gate there was a ginormous queue in front of us, so we mentally prepared ourselves for sitting apart and/or next to some weirdo. Nothing prepared us for the actual flight.
When we finally boarded there were just two seats left. Both middle seats and amidst a Spanish school class. Now, I love my Spanish friends and I love Spain, but I don’t like a group of about 50 screaming, shouting, singing and clapping teenagers at 8am. The sound was deafening. I felt an onset of migraine coming and I wasn’t prepared for that either. I can’t remember the rest of the flight, just that at some point I was close to crying and the next minute I considered perhaps joining them in their non-stop singing and clapping challenge (what’s that all about?) utilising whatever the plane had to offer – seat in front, armrest, tray table, etc.
But everything ends in life and so did this flight. I was back at my flat in London four hours later and the only thing that could make me feel human again was ibuprofen, Alka Seltzer and my big comfortable bed. Spain broke me, but it shouldn’t be any other way. What about my Swedish friend? She was fine, I think she went to another party that night.