Friday, December 26, 2014

The silver lining is sometimes very hard to find…

And only diligent searching and assiduous application to small things provides one.

This tale of woe had its beginnings over a year ago when my housemate’s daughter was fined as she was leaving Switzerland for having overstayed her Schengen visa: now who knew that even if one was visiting one’s mother who is a Schengen citizen (o.k. part of the Schengen “space” – they are not strictly speaking citizens), wasn’t working and in fact was actually contributing to the economy by buying groceries, albeit with her savings and with the assistance of said mother.

Still apparently she had no rights.  They paid the fine and thought no more about it.

This year as her Christmas present, housemate’s husband paid for the daughter to join them.
As housemate and husband were housesitting in Ireland, they arranged for L to join them for two days in Dublin then all three flew to Barcelona where L was arrested. The saga is to be found on D-L’s blog and

The first I knew of it was at the tale (o.k. tail, but tale does work) end of my skype session with the nephews when I received a phone call asking that I try and find out a contact or telephone number of the authorities in Zurich. I tried several ways and was able to call the airport in Geneva where they gave me good advice. It did take a few minutes however and meanwhile they had also contacted the US Embassy there in Spain.

As the day wore on everyone was scrambling to get any information at all, then I booked a hotel room in Dublin so she could at least get a decent night’s rest on her way back being deported.
That in itself was a saga as of course I could book a room online giving my credit card as a guarantee, but couldn’t seem to pay.  In the end I used my VOIP Cheap to call the hotel. The first person decided very quickly that it was complicated at that her colleague in reservations would be much more capable. Silver lining #1 – Joanna at the Radisson Blu Dublin Airport hotel was not only efficient – sending me via e-mail the reservation so that I could return it and pay as a third party: I had given her my cc number on the phone so didn’t need to write it in the e-mail, which would have been very insecure, but she was also pleasant on the telephone.  I was able then to e-mail the number directly to L as she did have her laptop (her cell phone was dying with all the calls and they hadn’t even let her mother return her suitcase to her!): silver lining #2 in between the lap top and the cell phone we were able to have news of her sporadically.  D-L and R finally took a train to their home where cell phone reception is spotty. But never mind, I was still able to stay in touch with her for several hours by e-mail. This would not have been possible just 20 years ago.

Things got worse before they got better when the guards in Barcelona “forgot” to put her on the connecting 
flight back to Dublin. So had a hotel room, but she wasn’t going to be able to use it. 
Sent Joanna an e-mail informing her of the situation and the fact that I was entirely aware that my 
credit card would be charged (normal). Silver lining #3 – I received an e-mail the next day saying 
that as she was a “no show” my card would not be charged.   
There are still decent people in the world and although I wouldn’t expect this to happen to anyone else, 
the fact that it did once means that I can – and will – highly recommend this particular hotel to all and 
everyone: with a bit of luck someday I may just go visit Ireland and stay there myself! 
Radisson Blu Hotel Dublin Airport  t: +353 1 844 6000  |  d: +353 1 812 7182  |  
f: +353 1 844 6001  |  Dublin Airport, Dublin, 
Ireland  |  | 

It does restore my faith in humanity and thereafter we were able to find other silver linings to the situation: L did finally sleep a bit – no bed, no sheet, but she was exhausted; she did arrive safely home; she will be going to spend the next few days with good friends – ever so important under the circumstances; no one died, no one was injured. In time the awfulness will fade.