WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 10TH AND THURSDAY, AUGUST 11TH:
Today, I fly from Nashville to Newark – Newark to Stockholm – Stockholm to Billund – and bus to Silkeborg. I am meeting Lorrie Morgan and Her and King’s County for their performances Friday. On Saturday, Her and King’s County flies to France for a performance and I go to Furuvik, Sweden with Lorrie. Lindsey left today with Amber Hayes and Danni Leigh for performances in Furuvik. Georgette Jones is already in Stockholm and will also perform at Furuvik. Georgette and Danni perform on Friday night (which I will miss because I’ll be in Denmark) and then Amber and Lorrie perform on Saturday night. I have Sarah Jory performing on Sunday at Silkeborg but decided not to go back through there but to fly home on Sunday. Now I’m wishing I had booked my ticket to go back through and take care of Sarah. I’m sure all will be fine as she’s played the festival many times.
This is going to sound like “whine, whine, whine” but actually it’s just another day in the international travels of Jude Seale! J
Wow…what a “rocky” beginning to this trip. First, let me catch you up on what has happened since I returned from Sweden last Tuesday. Had my foot x-rayed and as I had “self-diagnosed” on the internet, have a stress fracture on the top of my left foot. So, I get a beautiful walking book for at least 6 weeks and no jogging. L I guess walking around for 9 hours in my running shoes was not a smart decision in Berlin. You can bet when I can jog again, I’m changing my style of jogging shoe. These were only about 4 weeks old and they are Saucony…the brand I’ve worn for over a decade. I “left” Nike when they redesigned their running shoes and I started getting shin splints. Guess Saucony has had a “redesign”, too. Typical….let’s take something that’s working great and change it. Good news is, I had my thumb x-rayed yesterday (from where I ran head-first – and hand first – into the glass door at the Berlin studio) and it is not broken. Just “jammed” and will take about 6 weeks to heal completely. Am I falling apart or what?
On the drive to the airport, I realize I don’t have my “short itinerary” and a call to the office reveals they forgot to make it. And, of course, I don’t have my printer with me this trip. After SAS destroyed my travel printer, I ordered another one. When I set it up a couple of days ago, the USB cable was missing, so I had to send it back. Got another one yesterday but just didn’t have time to set it up.
Arrived at the United check-in counter to check in for my SAS flights only to have the ticket agent tell me it’s actually a Continental flight. I told her it was my understanding Continental Airlines no longer existed and it was all United. She confirmed that was true but in their computer system, it was still a Continental flight. Fine with me except she informed me that she could not check my bag all the way through to Billund, Denmark. (Yes, I only have ONE bag this trip. Can pack a lot lighter when there’s no jogging shoes and only ONE shoe of each pair. LOL). I told her I’ve been taking this same flight for a decade and always checked my bag all the way through. I explained that I don’t have enough time in Stockholm to clear immigration, go to baggage claim and collect my bag, clear customs, go to another terminal, check my bag and clear security and Immigration again. I only have a little over an hour there. She was very nice but said there was just nothing she could do because Continental doesn’t have a “partner” agreement with Cimber Air (my airline to Billund). Now, of course United and SAS (which is supposedly my flight number) DO have that agreement. I called my travel agent who spoke to a supervisor, SAS Customer Relations and United Global Desk. No one could assist. So, I came up with the solution to only check my bag to Newark because I have a 3 hour layover there and can easily pick it up and re-check it. Simple, huh? Nope. The nice ticket agent tells me that she cannot check the bag to Newark as it is a “security breach”! What the heck? Again, called my travel agent who tries to get approval but we simply ran out of time. Or so I thought. At the last minute, a “younger” ticket agent showed up and said “yes, of course, I can check my bag to Newark”. He taps on the keyboard a couple of times, and there you go, my bag tag says Newark! I did ask my travel agent to arrange for “assistance” (not a wheelchair, but at least a cart) to get me from baggage claim to the SAS check-in counter in Newark.
After I cleared security (took off the walking cast and THEN the agent told me I could have kept it on), I learned that our flight to Newark was delayed by at least a half hour. So, I was able to start stressing about having enough time to recheck the bag there. We left almost an hour late but still landed in time to go to baggage claim and take care of my problem. Of course, NO ONE met me at the gate or baggage claim and I had to go up and down escalators with a huge suitcase, my 50 pound backpack and my cast. But, I made it with plenty of time to spare. The lady at the SAS counter started to argue with me that I could not check my bag all the way to Billund but I think another young agent must have seen the smoke starting to come out of my head and rushed over to assist. I was able to check all the way to Billund but could not get my boarding pass for the flight from Stockholm to Billund. They assured me that I could get it at the gate. Sure, we’ll see.
Was able to go into the SAS Lounge and download my email but it was a very “strange” lounge. There were no monitors for flight departures or arrivals.
We boarded on time and it’s one of the “old” SAS jets. The air was cranked up full blast, so I put my blanket around my legs. The flight attendant took my purse and made me give her my blanket for take off. Said if there was an emergency, the blanket could become wrapped around my legs and I wouldn’t be able to get off. Reminded me of the strange flight we had in Australia where they made us take off our neck wallets for take off. Never figured that one out. Were they worried it would become tangled around our neck and hang us?
Their strange little video screen doesn’t work very well and there is no “list” of movies in an entertainment guide. Guess I won’t be watching anything this flight!
The meal was atrocious. Usually I can at least eat the salad and survive but this time – no salad. I always get the pasta to be “safe” but two bites into the cannelloni, I discovered plastic wrap. Gross. So no time for lunch today and now no dinner. Need to watch my weight anyway since I can’t jog! The guy sitting next to me is Asian and remember the guy in the SAS Lounge that I wanted to choke for “smacking and slurping” his food? Well, this guy definitely was worse. At times, I just stared at him to see if he would stop. No such luck. I finally put on my headphones to drown out the noise.
Decided to sleep but my seat wouldn’t recline. Turns out the little space between the two seats where you can store books, etc., also keeps the remote from working to recline the seat. Great. And, my “slurper/smacker” Asian buddy is also a very loud snorer! The seats are the most uncomfortable I’ve ever had in business class on a flight. Couldn’t raise the foot rest all the way up, so I felt my foot starting to swell inside my cast about an hour into the flight.
We finally landed after what seemed like 20 hours and I had time to go to the SAS Lounge. I wasn’t able to get my boarding pass for Cimber Air in the U.S. and was going to try and get it in the Lounge. The agent told me she’d be happy to print it for me but I couldn’t stay in their Lounge because they didn’t allow Cimber Air passengers in there…only SAS passengers. That was just about the last straw, but I was nice and had to remind her TWICE that I had just flown in from the USA on SAS in business class. A light bulb finally went off and she was very helpful. I had been pre-assigned a bulkhead seat which I hate under normal circumstance and it’s impossible with a cast. She moved me to an aisle seat and I was lucky not to have anyone sitting with me. It was a very short 1 hour and 20 minute flight. The flight attendant came down the aisle with drinks and snacks and I guess I was invisible because she totally ignored me. I didn’t even bother to say anything since I had brought my water with me.
Landed at Billund’s tiny terminal and my bag made it. Found “Skipper” our bus driver and waited about 20 minutes for Lorrie’s group to arrive. I walked over and checked with Cimber air on what time their ticket counter opens on Saturday since we have a 7 am flight to Sweden. It opens at 3 am!!!
Lorrie’s group was on time, got all their bags and were in a good mood. She was just as sweet and gracious as always. She was trying to get her Verizon phone working on the hour bus ride to the hotel and called an 800 number for Verizon support. Turned out to be a dating line for Gays! Oops. Wrong number. J
Hotel was set up and ready with our keys. Hers and Kings County had already checked in and I met one of their guys in the lobby. Everyone else was asleep. The front desk also had my “fan” for my room. I worked for a couple of hours and then walked over to the festival site. It was raining when we arrived and COLD. The rain had stopped but it was very muddy. Got my walking cast covered with mud and I have to sleep in it. Met with Jytte and Snif who are just the BEST to work with and dear friends. They were under the typical stress of a big production like this so I didn’t stay long. Just picked up the money to pay the groups the per diem and walked back to the hotel. Paid both groups and then called my friend Allan and his better half Annie from the Faroe Islands to arrange dinner plans.
I met Allan and Annie at the Radisson Hotel and we walked to “Zorba” a Greek restaurant where I think I’ve eaten before. The food was excellent! Especially since it was the first meal I’ve had today. I had marinated tomato slices in Greek seasoning and balsamic vinaigrette with Greek cheese as an appetizer. Then had veal that was crusted with walnuts and something else and some sautéed veggies. So great! We sat and talked for hours. Wonderful to be able to have an evening to spend with my friends. Of course, we walked through the town and I’m DEFINITELY not going to have enough time to do all the shopping I want to tomorrow. This is my favorite town in Scandinavia for shopping. L
Lindsey and her group made it to Sweden and sounds like they had a great meal and visit with “my monkeys” today. Sorry I missed that part of the tour.
It’s almost 2 am, so I’m going to bed. Will do some exercises with bands in my room tomorrow since I can’t jog in this fabulous town just made for jogging! Five more weeks in the cast, but who’s counting??? End of WHINING for today.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 12TH – SILKEBORG, DENMARK:
Got 5 hours sleep and worked out with bands before going to breakfast. Members of both groups were there and I talked with Her and Kings County for a while. Really nice kids from New York City. Showered and answered some emails. For some reason I couldn’t open any web pages through explorer or any of the other browsers. But everything worked fine AOL — which is rare! When I went downstairs, found out no one was able to get on line. The hotel had someone working on it. Rode to sound check with Her and Kings County and they were finished in less than 40 minutes and sounded great!!! Went back and rode over with Lorrie’s group. Her sound engineer was worried because they only had 1 hour to sound check. But her guys are professionals and the sound company here is first class. They finished right on time. Walked back to the hotel for the press conference and as usual, the journalists asked some interesting questions! The artists took photos and signed autographs afterward. Lorrie and grabbed a taxi into town to “shoe shop” for her because the stage is wooden boards and the stiletto heel shoes she brought would have caught in the cracks! Kelley was going to go, too, but she had to go count in the merchandise since she didn’t go with the band this morning. Lorrie found a great pair of boots but they cost almost $500! Fortunately they did not have them in her size. We stopped and grabbed a hot dog and then kept shopping. Jeff and Kelley caught up with us and I left everyone to look around on my own. Didn’t buy one thing!!! Couldn’t find a taxi so I walked back — which wasn’t smart on my cast!! Had time to answer a few more emails and then got dressed for the show. Her and Kings County performed first. There was a lot if apprehension as to how the audience would respond to their “country rock”. They loved them! One elderly man told our promoter that he was positive their “young, sexy female singer preferred an older man like him”. LOL. Lorrie took the stage right on time. She had changed her set list to more up-tempo songs and show was perfect for the audience. I had to warn all the artists that if the audience liked their show, they would fire their guns (blanks). It can be frightening if you’re not forewarned especially for someone like me who has spent so much time in war zones! Promoter was thrilled with her performance.
She signed autographs for everyone afterwards and we got back to the hotel at midnight and have to leave at 4:30 am….that’s a short night!
Have to share one funny moment with you. Allan – my promoter from the Faroe Islands – has been living with Annie for 10 years and they have a daughter. As I mentioned, people in the Faroe Islands live together for decades, have children, and never marry. But ever since I’ve known him, he’s been saying he’s going to marry her. We discussed that last night at dinner and he was saying it again and Annie says, “do you know how long he’s been saying that?” . They went to the festival after we had dinner and Jytte told me this morning that she was talking to him about the rain. She told him he needed to get down on his knees and pray that it wouldn’t rain any more. All he heard was “get down on your knees”. His eyes got real big and he says okay, I’ll do that. Jytte said, “Do it tonight before you go to bed” and Allan was speechless and said “okay”. The whole time he thought she was telling him he had to get down on his knees and ask Annie to marry him—tonight! LOL. Had fun teasing him about that tonight.
Okay, going to sleep for 2 whole hours. J