Don’t Freak Out – Part 1

Further Adventures of the Defi Diva

by Amber Kasbeer, aka Defi Divadefi_logo

“I’m SO sorry! I don’t know what happened? Everything was fine last fall when I booked everything! But listen, don’t freak out, I’ve been working with Paolo in Montreal and he is working a solution.” A solution was necessary to fix the issue that Air France had some how decided to reject Chris Wattengel’s and my windsurfing gear on the second half of our journey.  A journey that I had started on last summer.

It was early last June, when I popped on to the DEFI website to read up on the race and indulge my YouTube addiction of watching cute puppies and windsurfing videos. After three hours of trance-like assimilation into the ether, I found myself on bookings.com looking up the rates for the little bungalow I stayed at during my first DEFI sojourn. I selected 5-8 May 2016, curious to see what it would be listed for during this year’s race. The answer came quickly enough…”Sold Out”. “What!??”  Ack! Sold out already?? Crap!” it was then by some completely visceral, reactionary response that I pulled out my rainy day credit card and committed myself and future retirement funds to going again… After hemming and hawing, and clicking on a myriad of different locale properties I finally settled on a little beach house which was a little over 400 euros for the week.  By the time I had clicked “buy” and put in all my personal information, including height, weight, and eye color, that I looked up at the clock to see that it was almost 2:00 am in the morning.  As I crawled into bed letting the reality of what I had just started to sink in that I realized the depth of my compulsions. Some people stay up late and spend their money on trinkets from the QVC channel at those late hours of the night, but in my case it is the DEFI channel and it usually costs thousands of dollars…

Somehow, somewhere after that, I had convinced Chris that he needed to join me on the frigid waters of the Mediterranean and ride the insane winds of the Tramontain.  And luckily for me, he thought that it was a great idea! So after that, I called on my dear Belgian friends, Bart and Els, to join us as the little beach house had plenty of room.  And of course, I was very eager to see them again and perhaps join up with some of my Belgian Slalom team mates that had so graciously adopted me into their little circle during my first race.

So with the room secured during the summer, it was in early November that I reached out to Chris, “Hey, I’m going to call Christine Stewart to book my plane ticket to France.” “Uh, now? Isn’t it kind of early, shouldn’t we wait until it gets a bit it closer to the date?” “um.. No.” I didn’t want to wait. I wanted my ticket in my hot little hands, Now!  I wanted to leave Now. And race Now!  And since all I could do to satisfy my junkie like yearning for the event  was to buy a ticket to France, I wanted to do it at that moment. Quick, find me a vein!

In all reality, it took a few days to finally book the air travel. There were the typical issues of price, connections, and gear to be negotiated. I wanted to go back through Toulouse, Chris wanted Barcelona. Christine had to research aircraft types to make sure our gear could be accommodated. Some passenger aircraft have smaller cargo areas that cannot handle the gear, these had to be avoided. Air France had to be notified of our gear weight and dimensions before they would consider taking our equipment.  But Christine worked diligently, and patiently until it was all set up and ready. Finally, we declared success! Tickets were in hand, and our gear was approved and cleared all the way through to our final destination, Barcelona. (Yes, I know, hard to believe that the Diva gave into the persuasive arguments and points of observations by her traveling partner. None being more persuasive, than his final point, “I’ll Drive.” )       

So here we were, one month away from the race, and a bomb had been dropped square in our lap, Air France had cancelled our gear on the leg from Paris to Barcelona.  But being an EOD tech, bombs are my specialty. So it was with calm reassurance that I texted Chris the bad news. After all, bad news isn’t so bad when it is sent by text. It wasn’t like I was breaking up with him (we don’t have that type of relationship) nor did i have to inform him that his cat had died (he doesn’t have a cat). So when put into that sort of perspective, really, I mean how bad could it be?  “DFO. Gear has been rejected by AF. CS has it under control. Ttyl.”  

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