On My Way to Brazil And I Head To Heathrow Instead Of Gatwick Airport

Gatwick Express 225x300 On My Way to Brazil And I Head To Heathrow Instead Of Gatwick AirportSaturday, December 23, 2006

 My journey to HELL begun on Wednesday the 20th of December

I asked for an aisle seat and was allocated 25C, the end seat on a row of three. I knew at least one other seat was free because it had been allocated to my friend when I checked in. I move onto the middle seat while the hustle bustle is going on. I don’t want to get my sides bashes by the trolley dolleys on their aisle strolls.

I am sitting peacefully thinking about all the drama that has happened in the past few hours and how lucky I am to actually be sitting on the plane, when this fat fucker looms over me talking in Spanish and FAST. I have a look of bewilderment on my face as I look at him because I do not know what the fuck he is talking about. He must realise that I don’t understand because I do not reply, but he still keeps talking, like if he talks more I will miraculously start translating the words. In this sense the Spanish are just as ignorant as the English in that they have the ARROGANCE to expect everyone to understand what the fuck they are saying.

The fat fucker looms in closer. He is dragging the hand of some frumpy matronly woman. I think he wants me to move over into the corner so that he can sit down. He is nearly on my lap now. Why else would he be so close? He catches on that I am not budging until there is some kind of communication between us that we both understand, so he tries sign language. He points at the aisle seat and the middle seat that I am sitting on and points and him and the matron.

 I knew it.

He wants me to sit in the corner.

Not gonna happen!

I don’t know if I told the story about my first hellish plane ride from London to Sao Paulo, but lets put it this way. I was in the woindow seat and had a couple on the seats next to me. It was so uncomfortable cos I was in the dark corner and being pushed further against the window by then who were climbing on and groping and sloppy kissing each other. Ever since that time I have always made it a point to request an aisle seat. Plus I wee a lot!

So now I get up from my seat and make way to fat fucker and matron can sit in the corner. He told me,

“NO” (you know in that Spanish way)

Can you imagine? He was talking like he had a choice. None of the seats were his or the matron’s in the first place! He sighed and then sat in the row in front, which had the outer seats free and available in the first place! I am sure they just came to me because I was black and they thought it was their right to just have my seat… they thought I would just,

“YESSA MASSA!”

Why was I the ONLY black person on this whole plane? That has got to be a first for me I swear. Walking on I scanned the faces for any colour, an Asian, and Arab, someone with a jewfro? Nothing. I started to feel nervous, coupled with the fact that my last experience in the airport in Madrid was just horrible beyond all belief with regards to the way black people are treated I started to feel like there could be no possible ally should there be some abuse thrown my way.

I am made to feel even worse when the trolley dolleys come round and completely ignore me. I am invisible, same as I was last time. They ask everyone on the plane if they want a drink but me (of course I didn’t see them serve EVERYONE on the plane, but the same thing happened to me and my friend the last time, so I suspect it is because I am black.) I hate Madrid already, I knew I did from my last experience, but I hate it even more now and now I know not even try to change planes in this miserable shithole. My other friend who ended up changing planes here ended up x-rayed twice and questioned for hours on end.

So here I am sitting on this flight ALONE.

My friend missed the flight and if she doesn’t get to Madrid by tomorrow afternoon I just don’t know what is going to happen. This whole palaver happened when I called her to ask what terminal we get the flight from as I only had my ticket which didn’t say. She told me Terminal ONE. In case you are unfamiliar only Heathrow has numbered terminals, whereas the other main London airport Gatwick has North and South terminals.

My mother and father had come round for lunch and were dropping me to the airport afterwards. We get headed towards Heathrow. Traffic is at a virtual standstill and even though we have left really early it doesn’t look good. My friend was almost at the airport meanwhile we were nowhere near. We are at Vauxhall just sitting, not moving and my friend rings she is at Heathrow. She says,

“We are meant to be at Gatwick!”

I tell my parents and they look at each other like,

“What kind of imbecile did we create?”

I am five minutes away from Victoria where I can get an Express train to Gatwick. I might just make it. 5 minutes, however turns into half an hour. When we pull up I have 4 minutes to get on a train. I drag my case from the boot and start trying to run and drag it. I am running but I don’t know where I am going to. I ask a lady at a tourist information desk where I can get the train. She can see I am in a rush and she is talking so slowly. She asks me if I have a ticket. I tell her no. She says that she can sell me one as I cannot buy it on the train. I am quite sure I have bought it on board before, but I figure maybe the rules have changed. I am out of breath and very panicked. As I hand her my credit card, I am screeching,

“Will I make it… Will I make it?!!!”

She says “yes” very calmy and slowly. One minute turns into two. I can’t wait around. I have to get on that train ticket or no ticket,

“I need my card back. I NEED to get on this train.”

“One moment please.” (In that slow slow manner)

“I don’t have a moment. Please give me back my card.”

“There is another one in fifteen minutes.”

WHAT? IS THIS WHY SHE IS TAKING HER SWEET TIME?

“I NEED THIS TRAIN. NOT THE NEXT ONE… THIS ONE!”

“All done.”

She handed me back my card and I ran towards the platform the train was parked in. I could see the time ticking. I had about 15 seconds to get on the train. I ran like a crazy woman dragging the heavy ass suitcase behind me. I made it on by the skin of my teeth and spent the next 15 minutes wheezing. (I’m so unfit LOL) With this train I would get to the airport 40-45 minutes before the plane’s departure time.

I sat next to this elderly gentleman and about halfway into the journey a ticket lady (actually girl, she was kinda young… When does one become a woman anyway?) came round to collect the tickets. I wanted to know if that tourism lady lied to me about paying on board to I asked the girl,

“Can you pay on board?

“Yes”

“Even with card?”

“Yes”

I thanked her and cursed the tourist lady in my head. The man next to me ordered two tickets. I didn’ see him with anyone, so assumed that maybe he meant return and didn’t know how to phrase himself. The ticket girl thought it was strange too and asked him,

“Are you with anyone? Who is the other ticket for?”

He nodded towards me. Uh oh! Misunderstanding. I explained to him that I had a ticket and was just enquiring for a friend, so he cancelled the extra ticket and just bought his own. When the elderly gentleman went to the loo, the ticket girl came back and whispered in my ear,

“See that’s why you never buy a ticket in advance.”

That WENCH of a tourist lady. Not only did she try and make me miss the train, but she cost me an unnecessary £14 too!

Ok enough typing for now. I will be back tomorrow probably. It’s not like I can go anywhere seeing as I have NO LUGGAGE! Yes more drama. Those evil Madridians.

Comments

  1. I know right! I have sooo many of these harassment stories… To many to even recount. That randomly selected story you told happens to me every time I am alone. I am kind of used to it now. I am just happy to not be strip searched. You are lucky that that was your first time being targeted. I think dress does help being left alone because when I wear a suit they treat me nicer and don't harass me… Weird huh? Maybe they think I'm on business? Not knowing I'm simply after a free upgrade LOL

    That drug swab thing is scary! I guess I've seen too much NOTHING TO DECLARE on TV… Practically everyone comes up positive even those ones who swear blind they have never touched a drug.

    The harassment story which stands out the most is here:

  2. Hmm.. interesting about the plane incident.

    On a slightly related note, I just returned from two months in South America where I had a GREAT time. The only real race related incident I noticed was when landing back in Heathrow after the BA flight direct from Rio, after collecting my luggage and walking through customs I was 'randomly selected'.
    I travel at least three times a year and in 22 years of living this was the first time I'd be targeted by customs like that. The guy was polite but I was asked where I'd flown from, how long I'd gone away for, and he looked through my backpack while his work colleague swabbed something through the inside of my backpack and darted away to put it through some machine (testing for drugs ?!)
    I was a bit pissed off with the whole incident as I was the only person that was stopped, and I was one of a handful of black travellers on the flight. So when he asked me to open the backpack for him, I literally chucked the keys his way and folded my arms. The whole thing didn't take long, and he seemed to loose interest once he looked at the main compartment of the backpack, and didn't even bother with the side pockets.

    Looking back at it, it was obvious he thought I might be trying to smuggle some illegal contraband in, which I wasn't. But thinking about it, if some drug mule DID want to send a carrier through into the UK, wouldn't they just use someone that doesn't fit the “profile” that the Customs guys look at?

    Which defeats the point of profiling, but hey, no one ever said the Govt was full of smart people…

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