Tip #1: when the airline loses your luggage, don’t lose your mind.

I knew Chicago was trouble when I booked my flight. I’ve been separated from a checked bag there before, but the itinerary was so good, and my options (on Air Crap points) so limited, I chanced it.  And wasn’t that terribly shocked when I arrived in Brussels and found myself alone watching a carousel with a few forlorn black bags with ribbons of various colours drifting past, but nothing resembling my orange duffel on wheels. As I waited for the baggage services employee to check with Chicago, I killed time by doing a mental inventory of what I stood to lose, and convinced myself it wasn’t that bad. The boots weren’t real Fry Boots, but cheap fakes from Macy’s and they made my feet sweat; that Asmar coat was starting to look like a sausage casing, what with my summer diet of French cheese and bread; and one of my turtle necks had a hole in it that I would have to sew up before I could wear it anyway. In fact, the only item I would be really sad to never see again was my Swiss Army Picnicker knife (with corkscrew) that has been my constant companion over thousands of miles and many countries.

But I needn’t have worried, since the bag did catch up with me a day and a half later, though by the time it reached me it had some stories to tell of its own. United Airlines must have spent a fortune delivering it, since it required them to hire a driver to bring it two hours from Brussels into Holland. When the swarthy Romanian fellow finally turned up three hours after the latest time I’d been told to expect it, he explained that he’d already been almost to my bungalow once that day, but received a call from the airline that he’d been given the wrong bag.

They say you should never shop for groceries when you’re hungry. I can tell you that there are dangers to shopping for emergency sleepwear when you are jet lagged and working on an hour’s sleep in the past 36 hours. The pajamas I definitely needed; the rip off Uggs maybe not so much.  But they were only 10 Euros and they are so cozy!

Once I had recovered my bag and recovered from the nine hour time difference, I spent a very pleasant afternoon with Alex Duncan (yes, the same Alex who blogs here on Horse-Canada.com) and her ‘herd’ of horses. In addition to her FEI horse Vitall, Alex now has three youngsters to keep her busy every day and I enjoyed meeting them all, especially the handsome Edward, a three year old stallion.

One thing I do really love about the Dutch is the fact that they aren’t afraid to put their animals outside, and that includes the horses. Alex’s horses go into paddocks that are big enough for a good rip.

The GDF started yesterday. When I picked up my name tag at reception, I was told that I am the only Canadian here this year, which surprised me. I hear a lot more American accents in the audience than in the past few years (blame the economy I guess), so it was disappointing to learn that not even one other Canadian DQ thought it worth while to attend. So imagine my delight when Pia Fortmuller found me during a break to say hello. Her origin is listed at the GDF as Germany and not Canada, which is hardly surprising since she has been living here for more than two years and came to the GDF with her mentor Heike Kemmer. Pia’s in good form and, like Alex, she has a blog where she keeps everyone up to speed on her activities.

If you want to know how the GDF has been going so far, please take a wander over to LowDown, where I’ve already posted an account of how much fun I had questioning Trond about Yvonne and the CAS decision. I’ll be posting more over there today and tomorrow too.