I finally got back home from the Linux Foundation summit where I gave a keynote. We are now building both the platform and devices, and we need to keep the following things clear on our mind:
Other parties are joining, too. This all is happening fast and I noticed a lot of support for MeeGo during the summit.
Thank you Linux Foundation for hosting both the summit and the MeeGo project!
And then, everything started to go bad. Islanders broke their volcano and seriously complicated things. Those guys seem to screw up banks and mountains on a regular basis.
I had originally a flight back home from SFO, leaving Thursday evening a week ago. It was canceled, as we all know, and there was no idea when would British Airways start to operate again. Actually, BA never ever contacted me on anything during the trip.
I’m one of those guys who cannot relax if everything is not under my control. So no way could I have done what –looking back now —would have been the right choice: stay put and wait for BA to take me home. No no. Instead, I started my own journey step by step getting closer to home.
So I booked a flight to New York City. It is closer to Finland than SFO, I figured. Then, in NYC I started to look for flights to Europe.
I managed to get myself on a Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt. But while the plane was already starting to board, I saw the pilots walking out of the tube. I thought: They either gonna ask me to drive or then they’ll cancel the flight. Was not my day, so back to the hotel and a night in NYC.
Next day I desperately tried to book a flight to Europe. No airlines or travel agencies were of any help. My dear admin, Merja, did all she could back in Finland, but no flights whatsoever! The longest time I waited on a phone on a single call was 2 hours 20 minutes. A long distance call from NYC to Helsinki on my N900. I had the waiting tone playing in my ear plugs while doing shopping in NYC. I hate the music loop they’ve created.
But then, Sunday evening, an Alitalia / Delta flight from JFK to Milan. And I managed to get a ticket. So here we go.
In the latter part of the flight, I heard an announcement in Italian. I could not understand anything but I saw Italians making weight lifting moves (without weights) and saw the map on the screen drawing a dotted line to Rome. OK I thought. Rome is not Milan, but Rome is Europe. Getting closer now.
In Rome I saw all the flights north canceled. Nobody knew when they would start again. It is now Monday and I was already supposed to be home by Friday. I went to different car rental offices and tried to rent a car. No cars available anywhere. None. I tried to buy a car. Yes I did — I’ve always thought I’d like to buy a 70’s Alfa. It would have taken me 5 days to get an export license, they say. So no good.
Then I went downtown and checked into a hotel. I took a subway to the central railway station to get a train. No availability in any trains leaving North until Saturday. Buying a complete trip to, say, Stockholm — no idea. There was a 500 m line queuing to the ticket office — while there was a sign saying “No tickets available”. Go and figure … And it was raining!
I was also trying to call different places and become sort of an expert on waiting tones. If you ever make one don’t you loop your waiting tone music so that when the loop stars again there is a click and noticeable loop break. It gets reaaaaalllly annoying after an hour listening.
Very tired now, I go to the hotel bar to get a beer before going to bed. It was around 11 pm and the previous night in Alitalia coach wasn’t really cozy. Then I heard two persons talking Finnish and I ask if they were stranded, too. They said, yes, but we are leaving for Helsinki tomorrow, they continued. They were leaving the Rome Central railway station Tuesday morning 6 am. Holy shit, how?
They have found a group of people on Facebook going for a bus ride Rome – Tallinn organized by a local travel agency. And then a ferry to Helsinki. They gave me a phone number to call, but the bus was already full. Sorry.
I went back to my room and brushed my teeth. Then I — packed up my things and set an alarm to wake me up 4.30. I thought eventually you also get lucky if you just keep on trying.
So, in the morning I checked out from the hotel (a sign of commitment … no plans for the next night other than it won’t be Rome) and went to the railway station with my new Finnish friends so see what’s going on. All 49 showed up and they loaded the bus . I was silently hoping a now-show but I was not lucky. Or actually I was … the bus company had told the travel agency that there are 49 seats available, but the bus had 50!! So I got in! Here we go from Rome to Tallinn.
-We had three drivers who would take turns in driving and resting. They would change a driver without stopping the bus.
-We drove non-stop Rome – Tallinn. Only 20 min stops here and there every 4 hours or so.
-The bus had one broken TomTom navigator that didn’t boot up, my N900 run out of battery already in Italy, and the drivers considered buying a map in Austria but decided not to. So the navigation was all f’d up. We got it wrong during the trip pretty often.
-The drivers were driving to Belarus before we as passengers realized that this is not the way to go! Its not on the way to Estonia and you need a visa to get in and …. really … nobody is interested in going there at this point.
-There was no WC or fridge or anything in the bus. Just 50 hard seats.
-It took us 46 hours with a few 20 minutes breaks to drive from Rome to Tallinn.
-The roads in Poland and Lithuania are not for motor vehicles — or for human beings.
-If you give a Finn too much alcohol he may get aggressive. In a bus that is not good. (I’m not talking about myself ….)
-Women pee more often than men.
This is all Jim’s fault! But now hard feelings — I’m home. And the Summit was superb.