Actually, things went quite smoothly with getting the dogs to Norway, thanks for asking. The airline was lovely while checking them in, everyone at the gate politely averted their eyes while I stared out the window watching for the baggage truck with crocodile tears rolling down my cheeks, and they were promptly delivered healthy and intact to the oversized baggage area as I walked up to retrieve them. Things went temporarily downhill from there.
As I approached the crates, Enid and Falcor could be seen both sitting quietly inside. Terrified I’m sure, but quietly terrified. As soon as they saw me, Enid had some things to say. Loudly. In what can only be called a shriekish scream yelp. I stacked them on top of each other on the cart and, while trying to placate Enid by keeping my fingers in her cage, wheeled to the baggage carousel. I rounded up a second cart, heave-hoed my almost exactly 50-pound bags and my carry-on on board. Enid is still intermittently shriekish scream yelping whenever I moved my hand away from the front of her crate. People were staring (as someone with a starting problem, I can relate to this) and coming up and going ‘goo goo ga ga’ to the dogs (not the time people, not the time).
Naturally, the carousel where our bags arrived was as far from the customs exit as possible. Nothing could be done about it though, so I began maneuvering toward the door. In European airports the luggage carts come equipped with a brake that is always engaged unless you are pressing down on the handle. So there I went, first trying to put them one in front of the other (couldn’t reach both brake release handles at once), then next to each other (worked for about 5 feet of a time before one wonky wheel or another took us off course). Finally, I reverted to leap-frogging, pushing one cart about ten feet, then going back for the other and putting it ten feet past the first one, and so on and so forth. I’m sweating, exhausted, and the shriekish scream yelping has reached a fever pitch.
Finally, I reach the customs desk. Thankfully the woman was very quick despite her thoroughness. A few stamps, some micro-chip scans and away we went. Trying to rejoin the flow of humans breezing past us under the ‘Nothing To Declare’ sign. First, these people were like Californians on the freeway, there was no way they were going to let me merge. Little do they know, I’m not scared of them. So I took the side-by-side cart approach and jammed my way into the stream. Predictably, the steering went awry after about 5 feet. So I was half-blocking the way. I know what you’re thinking, but don’t you worry, those people weren’t inconvenienced at all, they just squeezed themselves into a tighter line and went around me.
Finally, one very important man (I could tell because he had annoying shoes and a briefcase) forced his way by with such vigor (he’s important, for god’s sake!) that the top dog crate (containing Falcor) was knocked onto it’s side on the floor. ON THE FLOOR! WITH MY DOG INSIDE! That guy didn’t even stop, since he had important things to attend to, but other people did right? Nope! No one. The most they could do was give us maybe one extra foot of berth on the side, perhaps because they were afraid of getting dog blood on their shoes. Ok, he wasn’t bleeding and he was actually totally fine, but THEY couldn’t have known that!
By then I could see Dave 20-feet ahead of us, but I was still within the security zone that prevented him from helping us. So I stepped into the traffic and said “REALLY? Is no one going to f*&^ing help me? Really?” I’m sorry mom, I know the f-word is beneath me, but I was just that flustered. In the face of my rage, one woman grudgingly pushed the second cart the remaining 15-feet. I thanked her, but not profusely, because I shouldn’t have had to shame her into helping me.
I know you’re thinking, “Wow, what a welcome to Scandinavia! Those Scandinavians are very rude!” And while this did happen in Copenhagen’s airport, the vast majority of those around me were North Americans. I know because many of them, most of them in fact, were on my flight. In the gate and on the plane they all chatted excitedly about the cruise they were about to embark on upon landing in Demark. At the baggage claim, there were more cruise representatives than airport employees handing out lanyards with name tags and herding cruise-goers together and towards the exit. It was those lanyard wearing AARP members hailing mostly from the mother country that breezed by me and my mutts so coldly. Perhaps the lanyards themselves had some kind of hypnotic power? Or maybe they truly believed that the 20 seconds it might take to help me would really cause them to miss their ship and therefore not see the much-anticipated Broadway style show that evening?
In the end, what matters is that we were delivered safely into the arms of David, and we later arrived safely at our door in Oslo. But there is a lesson to be learned here: do not go on a cruise. Any sign of stormy seas, pirates, sea monsters or shortage at the buffet table and those people will mow you over like a stray blade of grass. The lanyards made them do it.