Dear friend. I want to thank you for support and for staying strong with me the last weeks on The Island. As you know, it´s been wild.
Sick in Gran Canaria – what to do?
I got sick with fever and bacterial bronchitis and ended up getting help in my local health center. The kovid test was negative, but I had a serious infection that needed to be treated fast. I coughed so much it was hard even to walk or enter a grocery store and had to sleep sitting up in a chair. The doctor treated me with penicillin and ventoline masks. I was shocked when my insurance company DAYS later wrote me to warn about the oh so generous scandinavian health center to claim the indian, Norwegian speaking doctor was a fake : I had to stop seeing her.
Can you trust the local doctors?
I was ill and in the end of an intensive treatment and did not know what to do or believe. The doctor said she had lots of Norwegian contacts, and even worked for the government and that this was not right. She was such a good talker. She said she would keep me out of hospital where they would keep me a week and where I would get kovid. I was afraid of that. And she did treat me, I did get better. The female, convincing doctor said she is not faking, she is a certified government doctor and in march 2022 she had Tryg-patients who got their money back for their treatment. She showed me the papers.
Normal to be afraid when sick and trusting doctors
You supported me all the way, you said; it is normal as a sick tourist to trust a doctor in my local center. What else should I do; having suffered from cough and feber for days, trying to treat myself, and finally making my way down the stairs to ask for help? I don´t know the medical system here. I am new in Puerto Rico. Nobody warned me or gave me advice and I was too sick to walk around in the island and check out different doctors.
You have to fight the insurance companies and claim your right
I usually do not visit doctors abroad and explained the whole story to the insurance company. Also I asked my Norwegian doctor to help me out and write documents supporting me.
The Corona Rebel – a symbol of all freedom fighters
Then it is the book you know I helped out writing. Kororonarebellen. Just to make it clear, the rebel is not just one person, it is a symbol of all freedom persons suffering from and asking questions about the hard restrictions, standing up for themselves and others, all over the world. Like you and me or anyone.
A writer in the shadow
As a ghost writer, I have to keep standing in the shadow and it is not my job to promote the book. And I didn´t. We met to dance in the night, not to talk.
A misunderstanding an a dangerous stalker
But when I heard that you were told that we had to run away from Norway because we wrote this book, I have to tell you this is a misunderstanding. There was a stalker who tried to stop the book with his ugly behaviour, but he couldn’t. Speaking for myself, I came to the island because I needed holiday and the warm sun. Also; I run this blog and write travel news and tell about my experiences.
I am also a Norwegian teacher and I could explain the book for you, but it would not be right: You are italian and I know in Italy you suffered more than us and you have your own lockdown stories.
My grandma was so proud when her books were popular in Russia
Actually it would be great if the book was more international; then it could be translated and sold to other countries – like when my grandma wrote youth books and they were translated to russian. She was so proud, she went to Moscow to celebrate and she came home with small russian wooden dolls that are so famous. I loved playing with them.
Difficult but grateful
I am grateful that I was given the opportunity to help out with the book. It was difficult because there was no plan of how to do it. I had nothing to go on, just Facebook Posts. There were so many restrictions and no-nos about what I could write and tell. That was frustrating. I wanted all the details, and couldn’t use them, even as a feature journalist I knew they would make the book so much better.
My idea in the end was to write a day to day diary – using all the good and valid documentation we had.
The book company was not sure about the idea, and they did not like dates and chronology, but i started writing and they liked my style.
Later I heard this is also how they made the book for health leader Camilla Stoltenberg, interviewing here about her day to day life during the pandemic and that made me proud. My idea was good. I trusted my gut feeling and it worked out.
We were first
With help from wise people in the company and elsewhere the book was printed very fast and came out long before the politicians and government people could finish their books about the pandemic. That was cool.
I don’t mind if it did not sell so much and that nobody earned money or got rich giving it out, because I am inner driven and find satisfaction in carrying out my projects. We finished the book and gave it out and it will live forever and that is enough for me, even though you have to turn the page to see my super small name in it.
(By telling you this I make myself clearer and bigger, I reflected after reading my own post. And I deserve that.)
Thought I was going home
After we had our last dance downtown and I said bye to you and you gave me a kiss and a hug, something even more crazy happened. I was on my way home to Norway. At least I thought I was.
The Gran Canaria airport in Las Palmas turned out to be a living nightmare
I have a valid documentation that allows me not to use masks in airports and planes. It was accepted in security, but the guy was rude: He said I could lie and use somebody’s else’s certificate and he needed to see my ID to check if the name was right. I have experienced worse things in Spain. I stayed calm, I was friendly. I gave him my passport and he studied it for a long time. I noticed it, but said nothing. After this I went straight to my gate and sat down. Norwegian had already started boarding and there was no time to sit down for coffee and buy a bottle of water for my medicines in a café as I usually do. I have flight anxiety and ear problems, and feel better drinking water and taking medicine before flying.
This day I also felt a starting headache. I noticed nothing was happening at the gate yet. I would have time to buy water. I left to buy water for my medicines. I saw a small shop behind the gate. There, after having waited in the long line, I was all of a sudden attacked by aggressive drama queen shop keepers. One screamed at me that I had to use a mask. She found it rude that I showed the documentation on my phone and that I answered them and mentioned police. The scene was surrealistic. I had been sick as your know, had a migraine coming up and was desperate for water. I had to get hold of it. We are talking water here, not alcohol. I was 100 percent sober and ready to drive my car back from Oslo airport.
I was ill and denied to buy water
The women got madder and more hostile. They swore in Spanish. When I finally reached the cashier from the super long queue, the woman standing there was hostile and rude. She denied me to pay for the water and the small chocolate box and said I had to wait for the police. I had my hand around the bottle, held out 20 euro and begged her to take it. I said my plane was leaving and I was sick and needed the water. She refused. She ignored med and served other customers. I felt humiliated. I have never been so close to wanting to steal. Probably that is what she wanted: Then she could tell the police there was a thief in her shop.
In the end she succeeded in provoking me. I got irritated and said something.
Back in the gate I felt a bang in my head and it scared me. Migraine can be bad. I sat down on a chair, tried to breathe calmly and longed for having water in the plane.
What happened later is still running through my mind: The first mad shop-woman came stamping into my gate, dragging a security guy with her: She screamed something in Spanish that I could not understand and pointed at me. The security guy yelled at me. He was strange. It felt like he was putting up a show.
I lost my flight because of this incident.
I tried to explain what happened, that I was exposed to provocateurs and tried to defend myself from the unfair and humiliating situation. I needed water for my medicines and was bullied. I told I was ill. Still no help or water. I offered to use my leopard mask, but they ignored me.
The people working at the gate couldnt do anything. The small Spanish girl accepting people to fly, said I had to wait till all the passengers were boarded. I did that, kind and quiet as a lamb, and still couldn’t enter. I had no rights . One old man working at the gate – the only one trying to help me – despaired – he ran to the plane to say I was coming in – but it was too late – they closed the doors also for him. I was told it was too late to fly and that my 2 suitcases were removed from the plane.
Like being in a war
It was unbelievable. Like being in a war and you have the wrong skin colour. I was in shock and did not know where to go. I was alone, it was Saturday night, and not possible to get hold of anyone responsible. I sat down on the floor and cried. I know for you this is a normal reaction, but surrounded by bossy power people, all sane reactions from me were dangerous. They would use any word I said and any natural feeling I showed against me; saying «madam, you cannot fly.» How else could they defend the unfair treatment they gave me?
The story is like a movie
You couldn’t´ believe I was denied to fly home. You said it is like a movie and that you will be the first person to read my story. That as a writer, I can use this. You said – this is racism and the police here think they can do what they want to people. As a Norwegian citizen spending 3 months on the island as a travel journalist and blogger, you thought the bad service and horrible treatment I received was shameful. Prevent me to fly home to my country from my own gate? Insane.
Thankful for tourists – every day
Also you said every day you are thankful that there are some tourists at the island so you can keep your job here as a chef. You are grateful for people like me to come and spend their savings in Gran Canaria. You understand service.
You compared it to my situation where I met aggressive women at the airport and was dumped like a package. What kind of service is this?
Expensive ticket bought for medical reasons
Having had bronchitis, you knew I booked the expensive plane ticket with Norwegian only because the insurance company demanded me to go home and continue my treatment there. And in the airport – longing to go home as they said I must do – my rights were taken away from me.
Refusing to help a sick person – is it even allowed?
You said, well you are not a lawyer but you think if a person is ill that person even are allowed a glass of water for free, without paying for it.
The quiet one treated as ax woman
The whole story is still unreal. Imagine the most quiet and shy girl in class that I once were – the smart, modest girl always doing her homework, writing stories and poems and never saying anything or even moving from her desk at school until 10th grade, was denied to fly home and treated like a crazy axe woman.
Crazy friends were all allowed to fly home
I know so many crazy, loud, angry, wild and unstable people that this was more likely to happen to. In Gran Canaria, the most strangest of people fly home every day. And YOU have drunk and loud friends who lose passports and act all loco in the airport and still were accepted to fly home.
I was an easy target
I – a kind Norwegian journalist, was not. Of course they would never dare to do this to a businessman a family, a group of travellers. I was a friendly woman in a summer dress, travelling alone and an easy target. Shoot, shoot – use your power that got even bigger during corona time and that gave service people the chance to become angry police officers and stop giving service. To attack other people is simpler and more joyful – it makes weak men feel stronger and give jealous women a kick.
You said I had to stay
You tried to be funny, you laughed and said maybe this meant I should stay in the island and not go home. You have a point there. They wouldn’t let me go.
But I got a different feeling, my heart was sinking, I felt so tired, and I just wanted out. Not from you, from the island. Because I was forced to get back to Puerto Rico, we met again to have coffee. I started to talk and your lips were moving like you knew what I was going to say.
Men and women and 6th sense
Most men have no clue what is going on in my head , but your lips are moving like you know me. You know my words before I say them out loud. So you have a gift there or a 6ths sense. Or did we meet in another life? I really dont know. I am confused. You said you have a good feeling with me and it is nice, but that does not mean you can read my mind. 😉
It is a bit funny that I on my last night made you smoke shisha love 66 in a bar in Puerto Rico you did not want to go to. I learnt to smoke shisha in Turkey and needed to chill out – and I thought most men liked water pipes. But you were even a worse shisha smoker than me. You coughed more.
Flight anxiety twice in one week
I was not myself that night. My mind was wandering. I felt uneasy. As I said I get flight anxiety before flying and I was scared to go back there to meet these hostile people again. I had a Long Island Ice Tea in this bar, because the owners were friendly and invited me in, and I couldn’t make myself move. You had to come there to help me finish my shisha. I did some small dancing and kept calm; dreading the next day. I hate travel stress in airports and had to do it twice in one week.
You managed to get me up from the sofa and tell my story
It was nice to spend the night with you.
You said on my last night I couldn´t again say «sorry – I am sleeping on the sofa feeling exhausted.» So I went out. And now I am even telling my story, like you said I should.
And I am trying not to lose my visa again. Because of the stress, I lost it twice the last days we met; and both time I got it back and you said; please put it inside your bag so you will not lose it one more time.
Gran Canaria Airport in Las Palmas: 0,0 % interesting!
We live in different countries and I don’t know if we will meet again. Going back to this airport where I was so badly treated and where they show so little respect for nice women is not tempting. It is like 0,0 point interesting. I dread them and they make me feel sick.
Do not want bronchitis again
Also I really had to go back to Norway to fix things with my insurance companys, the airline company, I needed to see my doctor, my house and just breathe in some cold and fresh Norwegian air so I don’t get sick with flu or bronchitis again. I need to just be and start swimming in cold water again and sleep in my own bed.
If they were boxers, they would punch me right in my face
I need to forget about the island and the airport. My blonde hair, unmasked face, green eyes, my intelligence, warmness, modesty, openness and way of being nice to people and at the same time able to stand up for my rights, were too much for them. They did not accept me. If they were boxers, they would punch me right in my face. (And I might have used self-defence to fight back.)
I did not hide behind a mask in Spain (only when I had to in Spar or the pharmacy or in some taxis) and I was not 100 percent submissive. I forgot to wear my burka or even nikab.
Jealousy and explosive temper
A friend from Norway who knows the island Gran Canaria as his own hand, says the Spanish temper is explosive and dangerous when exposed for it. He says some Spanish people believe they are World Champions. He also claims that some Spanish women hate blonde girls: They are so jealous that they have tantrums and scold you. He heard stories of how they kicked women out before. In addition to this, he talked to his Norwegian friend in Gran Canaria who said there is no mask order anymore, and making problems for me in a small airport shop, is the biggest bullshit he ever heard in his life.
Spanish police are always right – beware!
Another Norwegian friend who used to have an apartment in Spain says Spanish police are always right and if you have an issue with them it never ends good. Most likely these hostile workers were also friends and stood together, against me.
Service people starting conflict
My friends had more to say about this issue: Who started the fight? Was it the woman standing alone in the line needing water – or was it the nervous shop woman pointing and yelling and her furious colleague denying the customer to pay? What is your job as a service person in busy airports? Is it to start conflicts, swear and give your finger to customers? Or is it to handle different people with respect, be able to read a situation and avoid trouble? And the security guy: Did he act respectful? Was it right of him to question my name, to attack me, not to ask me what happened or hear both sides?
Last; who is the victim here? According to my friends – it is only one person: The one prevented from her two needs 1. buying water 2. fly home.
I was advised to hide in the airport
Last night I was finally able to get back. My lawyer-friend said although I have medical certificates, I should wear mask, sunglasses and different clothes at the airport in Las Palmas this time so they would not recognize me and trouble me again. And not say a word to anyone. I followed his advice. It felt awful, but it was good to be able to hide. For the first time during this pandemic, the masks I hate and detest more than anything, could actually do something good for me.
Like going to a funeral
I chose a black mask and big black sunglasses – for mourning. It felt like being forced to go to a funeral I did not want to attend. I sat down in Starbucks, I felt traumatized and almost cried; but stopped myself. The workers were friendly there, and it felt unreal and a relief that anyone could be friendly in an airport again. Having to pass the kiosk where they harrassed me, was a nightmare.
I felt traumatized
I came to the gate, waited, quiet and invisible till most people had boarded. Then I put my black mask ever higher up and gave the woman boarding us – thank God not the same as last time – my boarding pass and passport in silence. She said «open passport» very fast and aggressive. I did not answer. The air stewardesses tried to say hi to me. I just nodded, I couldn’t say a word. I sat down on my seat and thought; the same second they open the toilets back I will run there, sit on the tiny floor, hold around myself, hide my face in my hands and cry. When I got to the toilet, I washed my hands in warm water instead and was able to get better thoughts in my head. It took more than one hour and a half in the plane before I could relax, before the urge to cry disappeared and before the pain in my chest and stomach got a bit lighter. I got food and drinks and the people working in the cabin were nice to me. That was soothing. In the plane I did not have to use mask because of my certificate. I was holding it in my hand for five hours in case they would ask me, but they didn’t. One stewardess looked at me, but then she saw how sad I was, and she let me be.
Saved by a friend
I never made it home. My supernice female friend outside Oslo said with all this bad luck if I wanted I could enjoy some wine in the plane and calm down and stay the night with her, so I did not have to worry about driving home in the cold night.
So the story ended good, in a way, although unnecessary harsh and exhausting.
Tough fight – good friends
Now I fight to get lost money back and it is stressful , painful and a lot of work, but I stay strong. I kind of like fighting for myself. I learnt it early because nobody had time to help me and I find my own solutions and options. But of course I love and appreciate good people, warm support and good advice. I need friends.
I contacted the embassy
I have already sent many reports, remembering more and more details every day. I pray that justice will win and everything will end good and a new chapter can begin.
I wrote the Norwegian embassy in Spain, as I was advised, and they were sorry I was so bad treated at the airport and happy that I sent my reclamation to the airline.
My positive and natural-dance-friend said I should now enjoy the sun outside in the cold spring and pick some spring flowers, but I do not have time yet. I am busy working on my cases. It is a lot of money to lose and I can’t let that happen. My savings.
Writing this letter to you from my aisle seat in Norwegian
I was writing most of this letter to you from my aisle seat in Norwegian airlines. I always book aisle because with my flight anxiety I feel more cosy and relaxed there: It is easy to go to the toilet, I dont feel trapped and I can move my feet. Actually I was so busy writing you that I did not notice we almost reached Oslo. I had to run to the toilet before they closed it and take pills for my aching ears super fast. My ears always hurt before landing and I need medicine.
I am glad to say my head is working again, the fog has gone and I now feel awake and creative.
Take care in Gran Canaria and keep up the good dancing. I know you need it to release stress from your work.
I don’t regret exploring the island. I dont regret using my medical documentation and challenge what Spanish people scold and threaten you with; mascarias. Not because of health, because of protokol – control and corona regime. It has been exhausting being exposed to all this anger and fear. I have suffered from it. I dont know If I can bear to show my medical report one more time. I am done.
Still – my 3 months in the island were all the same a big adventure and something I will never forget. So many memories. Thanks to everyone who made my life better, happier and more funny in GC. <3
With love and kisses
like in a movie that is about to start.