Thursday, 11 February 2010

Modern morals

I'm quite the frustrated holiday maker. I'm trying to make a holiday. A quirky, ethical holiday of trains and tiny cases, friends and strange beds, a flowing circle from London to London, via Paris, Madrid and Lisbon. OOh, I get, wow oooh, when I tell the plan. The shine dulls somewhat when the price doubles in the course of a morning, and I find myself looking up flights to JFK.

The cost of travel. I have been trying to get through to eSpanish Rail(sp) on the phone for just under five days. Tiny crush on the guy actually, I picture him as the guy who gets a long black with cute glasses and a good coat at about my height. Anyway. I finally spoke to Mr eSpanish Rail (so cute!) today, and he told me the 30euro seats are now 180. This is terrible news, made extra exorbitant by having to wait nearly five days for it. I want to shout at the man but he's cute.

I am beginning to know a little more about the train booking systems than a regular person needs. I am talking about it with impassioned chagrin, the Renfe site is showing these Web and Estrella fares and they are looking at me waving the savings in my face but totally not available! Rail Europe had a £82.50 fare just this morning but the European reservation system was frozen and now it's unfrozen the price has risen to £188 just to get from Paris to Madrid! It's actually cheaper through Mr eSpanish Rail, but by the time I get through to him, eta Tuesday, the tickets will probably have been sold! I have Alan at TrainsEurope (no space) researching from an office in Cambridge as we speak, but I know they all use the same server and expect Spain will have some sort of hierarchical privileges to it's own trains. I'm so BORED and all I want to do is go on a holiday that I'm fast starting to resent!!

I had spent a portion of the morning and two breakfasts deciding how many days to spend where. I sat next to the phone, and waited for him to call. I was decided and resolute, then the problem was anew. I am bad at adjusting to change. I would never book tickets without researching all the available ways, sure of the best deal, the happiest decision made by me, not by the options presented to me in order of ease. I like a bit of slog, an effort. Amazon is pleasingly easy, but some things need an effort injected somewhere. The last few hours have been moral territory.

A weeks free-style holiday for £421 is both cheap and expensive. For this fee, I have three trains, one plane, multiple accommodations, and three capital cities. I add on food. This freedom is cheap in some respects, so why do I find myself searching dirty equations of 'Paris to Madrid' in the Skyscanner search boxes? I know it's wrong. Madrid to Palma for £4.73 anyone? But who is the loser. The world wins with one flight in three years. I lose by seeing a fake trip for £210 which doubles with availability, constraints, the rules and realities. I am going to book it of course. I just wish I hadn't seen the phantom undercuts along the way.

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