Les gens qui ne rient jamais ne sont pas des gens sérieux

Be who you are and say what you mean, those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Look! I'm blogging!

I know, it's very annoying.

There's nothing more annoying than a blogger who never blogs.

Well, bloggers who never blog except for the odd post to say they are too busy to blog are even more annoying I suppose.

And if I'm really honest, I find those people who stand *right* in front of the conveyer belt in the baggage reclaim place in airports, leaning over to see where their bag is, blocking everyone else's view, most annoying of all. But you get the picture.

The truth is I haven't quite got into the rhythm of Brussels life yet. And whereas Poland always gave me something to nit pick over, or laugh at, or find touching, Brussels is not being very consistently inspiring.

The nearest thing I have found to the inspiration of Warsaw's post offices, is Brussels' metro. Or more specifically the people who produce the signs for the Brussels metro

There were the suppressed bins first - they got me started. But since then, I've seen another giggle-inducing sign.

I saw it yesterday and promptly forgot what it said, just remembering it was mildly entertaining. So today I went armed with a camera...

It's not the beginning bit - all that English is uncharacteristically normal (apart from 'the customers' but we'll let them off that one). No, what got me were the inspired final lines.

A thousand apologies today. A thousand advantages tomorrow.

It's like the sign designer was sitting at her desk, twirling her pencil and dreaming about her unfulfilled dreams of being a poet. I'll show them! she thought I'll show them the beauty of my underused talents. These phrases will bring them to tears. Then they'll rue the day they didn't take my budding promise seriously. This will be the start of GREAT THINGS!

Then she came into work the next day to find the others giving her funny looks, and sniggering behind her back.


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Sunday, January 20, 2008


Last weekend I was all set for a couple of days in Warsaw, arriving Friday evening at 11pm, and leaving Sunday afternoon. I have recently moved from Warsaw to Brussels, and as a faithful wizzair customer, had thought it was one of many future flights on this route at these times.

On arrival at Charleroi, at 7.30pm, I checked in and was told there was a delay 'of two hours' by the check-in staff. This was unfortunate, because a couple of hours delay would mean arriving in Warsaw in the middle of the night, but at that point I was just thankful it hadn't been cancelled.

After getting through security, I looked at the departure screen and was rather surprised to see the estimated departure time was 2.05 on Saturday morning. It was around 8pm by this time. I and a planeload of other passengers, had the prospect of waiting 6 hours before leaving for Warsaw.

I tried to find a member of staff to ask, but the only members of staff were the security staff, and they had no information at all. There were no announcements and nobody was available to provide information about why the departure had been delayed so long.

At around 10.30 or 11pm, we were told to proceed to the gate to start 'boarding'. This prompted a cheer from some passengers, who obviously thought we were about to board a plane. Unfortunately, we were just to board a bus, bound for Liege airport. The staff checking tickets told us we were headed to another airport because Charleroi closed earlier than Liege. No further explanation was offered.

Upon arrival at Liege, the busloads of passengers were dumped, along with our bags, and nobody was at the airport to greet us, or tell us what was going on. Indeed, when we found staff members, they denied any knowledge that we were coming. Apparently nobody had bothered to tell them about the change of plan.

The departure board only told us that we would have to wait an extra hour: departure was now at 3.05am.

We all collected our bags, most people headed for the one cafe that was still open, as it was nearing midnight, and prepared to wait. The seats were uncomfortable, the glass-fronted airport was cold and everybody was getting very tired. Again, no announcements, no staff to explain our delay, no information.

Just before 2am, we had to check in once again. The man checking us in told us how he had had to ask for a passenger list to be faxed, as staff at Charleroi had not even called to explain the situation. We boarded and finally left Liege at 3.05am. Instead of arriving in Warsaw on Friday evening, with the prospect of a relaxing weekend, I arrived at 5 am on Saturday, with the prospect of sleeping for most of Saturday morning and a return journey the following day.

I find it unacceptable, even with 'low-cost' airlines, for there to be nobody to explain such a lengthy delay. The 'two hours' delay at the check-in stage was plainly mis-information given to me by somebody who did not want to have to explain to passenger after passenger that they would be expected to wait 6 extra hours before departure.

Not only were we not given any information, but we were not offered so much as a glass of water.

Does wizzair find this acceptable?? It is not the first time I have heard of such experiences, but having gone through it myself, I am weighing up the advantages of low-cost vs. more reliable services.

I look forward to receiving your response and explanation.

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

oh dear...

... it has been a little quiet round here hasn't it? Well, here's a pretty picture to look at.

What? I'm busy...

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

acronyms r us

Something I actually said to someone at work today:

'Where was the last FDR meeting held? I'm looking for a place for EPAN. Oh, and is it ok if I come to your PCD meeting next week?'

The weird thing is, he understood exactly what I was talking about.

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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Happy New Year

The man who sells waffles in Schuman metro station, in the heart of Brussels' Euroland, was not at work today. I tend to think that if he wasn't at work, having presumably decided that too few people wanted his waffles today, then nobody else should have been at work either.

I, for one, was relatively happy to be at work today. It's the beginning of a new year, the sun was shining for once and the empty Schuman metro station was boasting a new sign that made me laugh. The bins had all been covered with metal sheets, presumably because of New Year fireworks and terrorist threats not mixing well with big important Eurobuildings, and each had an accompanying explanation in several languages. The English version was best: for our own protection, the bins had been 'temporarily suppressed'. It conjured images of bins running wild with raised fists, and brave metromen nailing them down with their sheets of metal, protecting all the waffleless people of Brussels from this terrible scourge.

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