The Mistakes of Youth

September 26, 2012

in Odds & Ends Stories

So here is my own personal flight from hell story (with multiple parts, some my own fault, others not). I had recently graduated from a university, and having not had the chance for a proper vacation in quite some time, I decided a trip was in order. After a little scrimping and saving (and a well-timed tax return) I managed to book a trip to Iceland for a video game convention.

To save on money, I decided instead of flying out of Vancouver that I would instead fly from Seattle, as the cost of a Greyhound ticket was much less than the difference in price. Besides my cousin lived there and I figured it would be a good chance to catch up; this will come into play later.

The bus trip down was fine (should probably mention that I don’t drive), my cousin picked me up, we had dinner and a few drinks, and got to the airport with plenty of time to spare. Actually I’m just gonna jump ahead here since getting TO Iceland was fairly uneventful and this website isn’t called “Ordinary Flights from Boringsville.”

So the convention is now over, and we have a massive wrapping up party at which the booze was flowing like water. Waking up the next morning I find my wallet has gone missing. Not that big of a deal, as I figure I still had my passport, tickets, and a small stash of cash; the only ID I had in there needed to be replaced anyways. Again, this will come into play later.

A few days later I check out and ask the rather nice (by Icelandic standards) gentleman behind the counter about the airport shuttle that I had scheduled to pick me up the day before. Well it turns out that someone had forgotten to make the call and the shuttle wasn’t coming. Again not a big deal, as I figure it gives me a chance to use up the last of my Kroner, so I catch a cab to the airport.

Check-in goes smoothly as does going through security. I was a little worried about my checked bags, however, as there was a half bottle of rum left from the parties in there and I wasn’t sure if open liquor was actually allowed. Because of this it wasn’t a huge surprise when I heard my name called over the intercom asking me to go to security. I get pulled into the small room, tell the guard about the liquor, and said I didn’t care and he could throw it out.

Well, it turns out that WASN’T why they had called me down. See a friend of mine decided to give me a present to commemorate my time in Iceland, a seax (a type of Viking dagger) since we are both sword instructors and run Viking combat/re-enactment groups. It turns out that Iceland has much stricter rules about the transportation of blades than Canada or the US does (I’ve traveled back and forth several times with MUCH larger blades and never had an issue).

So about half an hour goes by with me talking to a rather rude security officer trying to explain that I was a sword instructor and thus actually did have a reason why it was in my bag. The half an hour by the way was waiting for the police to arrive while they decided if they were going to arrest me or not.

The officer finally arrives. As soon as I explained the situation to him he agreed that I had not willingly broken any laws and was therefore not going to be arrested, but in either case the knife would not be allowed in my checked bag. I was able to get permission to have my friend come and pick it up rather than have it destroyed, under the condition that I wait with security until he arrived. So that was one lucky break… crisis averted, no charges laid, and they even let me keep the rum. That would be the end of it right? Of course not.

By the time my friend arrived I was at risk of missing my flight. So I had to rush back through security and customs and barely made it onto the flight. I find my seat and wouldn’t ya know I was stuck between two of the largest men I have EVER seen, each of them taking up a good quarter of my seat, and I’m not exactly a small person either. I don’t really have any other options though as the flight is completely booked, so I manage to wedge myself between their folds of fat and am instantly struck by their foul stench… remember I’d just spent 4 days at a video game convention in Iceland, and this was worse than ANYTHING I’d smelled the entire time.

The flight itself was uneventful besides the massive discomfort I was constantly under from having these two foul mounds of flesh trying to envelope me, and the stewardess obviously took pity on me as I was given a couple of free beers. We land about 30 minutes late, I disembark, grab my bags and go outside to where my cousin was supposed to have been waiting for me.

He was nowhere to be seen, so I wait around for about 15 minutes before trying to call him only to discover that my minutes had expired while I was abroad. With my wallet being missing and the only currency on my person in Kroner (the currency exchange was closed by the time we arrived), I was starting to panic. Another 15, 30, 45 minutes go by and still nothing.

At this point I’m in full-on panic mode. If I waited for too much longer I would have missed my bus back to Vancouver, and my cousin was nowhere in sight. So I did the only thing I could think of, try calling him collect… no luck since his cell phone doesn’t accept collect calls. I tried asking around for some spare change and no luck on that front either. So finally in desperation I try calling my mother collect in Alberta (it was 11pm there so I knew she’d be asleep hence my reluctance to call sooner).

I manage to get through to her, and a couple of back and forth calls later I managed to locate my cousin (it turns out he had gone to Departures instead of Arrivals and we had both been frantically searching the wrong parts of the airport for one another). I load into his car and we make a frantic dash to the bus station.

As we’re pulling up I spot the bus bound for Vancouver beginning to pull out. I’m about to have a complete breakdown at this point, the stress of the whole day was getting to me, when my cousin in one of the ballsiest moves I’ve seen pulls up and stops right in front of the bus.

I get out kinda in shock over what just happened, as my cousin grabs my bags and ticket and then physically drags me to the door of the bus. The driver gets out and starts yelling at us, at which point my cousin shoves the ticket into his hand, opens the cargo bay on the bus, throws my bag in and tells the driver, “Which is going to take longer and be a bigger hassle for you, to let this man on the bus and be on your way, or to call the police on me and have to deal with that?” The driver relents and lets me on.

I get back home safe and sound, if not a little bit shaken (the bottle of rum was a big help). A few weeks later the seax my friend got me arrived in the mail. Was some of what happened my fault? Yeah probably, but such are the mistakes of youth or at least my youth.

Caleb Ulfrick Fraser
Jarl at Einherjar of the Northern Shield

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

poco September 27, 2012 at 10:20 pm

Sounds like a shitty time alright. Was some of it your fault? Yeah, but it's still a good war story.


First Class October 22, 2012 at 12:47 pm

Video Game Convention? Geek alert.


Ulfrick October 23, 2012 at 3:00 am

Hell yeah i'm a geek and i'm perfectly happy with that.


Davron October 23, 2012 at 8:51 pm

Geeks rule!


James October 24, 2012 at 12:02 am

I don't remember the name of the game, but is this the one where some folks can be selected as moderators/leaders and the company pays their way to Iceland? A friend of mine was on the short list for that.


Lars Kruus February 21, 2014 at 12:52 pm

Live Long And Prosper


@LROD319 November 8, 2012 at 10:37 am

I find some geeks extremely hot!


Thi Halpern January 2, 2013 at 3:36 pm

Wow, your cousin is pretty ballsy and has some street smarts! Indeed, it's easier for him just to take the situation rather than call the police etc. Awesome cousin! Was he much older than you or your age?


@RhovanionGirl February 5, 2014 at 4:15 pm

I brought home a dagger from Africa once (I collect swords and daggers) and I expected to be given a hard time but no one batted an eye.


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