The Dog Show Nightmare

For those of you who have yet to visit or take part in a dog show, let me give a few short words on exited stress that involves the entire procedure. With blasters and bubbles, barks, howls and the odd accident, a dog show is always a great experience, especially when travelling abroad with your dogs for an international show.
This particular ‘SHOW’ trip however, was to be the ultimate test in ‘patience and friendships that bordered on the lines of insanity’.
We were due to travel from Cyprus to Hungary, via Serbia with our friend and two of the more ‘furry four legged’ type friends for the purpose of taking part in the European Dog show Championships.
Our travel arrangements were all prepared by our dear two legged friend, who had the so called connections, hopefully allowing for overall less costs, as flying with large dogs is extremely dear. However, he insisted that flying to Serbia and Driving to Hungary would be a lot cheaper and no ‘hassle’ at all. So, we let him make all the necessary bookings, from flights, to renting a mini bus and the hotel in Hungary, with the hope that he would lead and we would relaxingly follow.
Finally having boarded ourselves and our doggies on the departing flight, we sat back, cocktails in hand, and looking forward to a new experience. It all went without a hitch, and we arrived safely in Serbia.
Having left the men to sort out the rental van (on which we had already given a deposit of 500euros for the 5 days), I stood outside waiting patiently with the dogs.
This was the first part of the trip that would ultimately cause a cascade of events that would only go from bad to worst.
I should have known better than to leave two men alone to rent a van, they went to the first ‘pretty’ girlie they found, and soon enough came back with papers in hand and keys…fantastic, we were on our way.
Oops, the van was slightly too small to fit the two large dog crates with the dogs in them, so we initially pulled them apart, and let the dogs sit free in the back of van…on my lap. Oh well, here we go, getting out the hotel address and setting up the ‘trustworthy’ electronic device that gives directions, we were finally moving. Being early morning, the eight hours drive ahead of us seemed just like an adventure. They would turn out to be an ordeal…
Twelve hours later, we are still going around in circles in the dark, somewhere in Hungary, but nowhere near our destination. Tired, smelly, sweaty, starving all we all want is to find our hotel, have a bite to eat, a shower and get to sleep before the big show day the following day. After having asked directions from some of the locals, we finally hit our destination at 10pm. We pulled up in the parking lot of a decadent, dingy, hotel. Our smiles had long gone, but we were still glad to have finally arrived. Little did we know!
The reception desk was gloomy and dark, with a receptionist that was well into her role at being equally dark and gloomy, with hard rock music playing full bass in the background and not a hint of a smile, we thought we had entered a night club.
She obviously decided that turning the music down would be far too much of an effort, so we had to shout over the music to give her our reservation details. She eventually gave us our keys and pointed to door of an adjacent building, as the entrance of the hotel. Least to say it wasn’t a ‘real’ hotel but more of ‘one night stand red light district’ with very odd sounds and red satin sheets which only accepted Hungarian exchange and no credit cards or euros.
During our trip I couldn’t help but notice that we had booked an Avis Van, but were driving around in a Hertz one. I thought the men must have known what they planned, and left it at that, until we went to give the van back and got charged the full amount when we had already paid 500euros..ah I remembered there was a prettier girlie at the Hertz desk…oops.
Boarded the return flight, waiting to be taxied to the runway, engines go on..engines die, electricity dies.. Darkness. We were left in the plane like sitting ducks with no lights, water or air, for 2 hours before the Captain decided to let us know that ‘he HOPES the problem is resolved and we should be leaving shortly’. Engines go on, engines spark, flash and catch fire…we are still on the plane, the fire engines come into action, but no sign of getting us off.
Fire is out… 4 hours later we are asked to leave the plane and return to the airport.
Supposed arrival 12pm midnight… arrival 6am… NO COMMENT… euronews was the channel our children were watching, all dressed in their school uniforms and worried to tears…

S Panayiotou

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