I learnt the importance of arriving at an airport with enough time to check in, as I was leaving Spain. The Barcelona Airport is such a swell place, all sparkly and shiny just shy of daybreak. The fluorescent lights blind the cracks of eyes and highlight the bags nestled beneath. Standing in a long line is the last thing you feel like doing, particularly when you’re barely awake.
That morning at the airport played out like a de-motivational Mastercard ad. I had been standing in a long, stagnant line for ages, and saw an opportunity to join a shorter queue. There, I was jostled about as I was the point in the line that looked like a thoroughfare to every overladen trolley and pushy backpack. A bright-lipped attendant directed specific flights to different booths. I was redirected back, to be behind a young frantic traveller who had just left her phone in a taxi.
The reality was ‘adios’ handheld lifeline. She asked to use my ‘still with an NZ sim & I don’t think I have enough credit’ phone. I dialled and it went straight to German voicemail. I recognised the terror blurred with remorse that had clouded her eyes. Pity and empathy were all I could use to console her, before she was summoned to the counter.
I made it – the front of the line! I felt the relief of running through the ribbon after a marathon. The problem was I had entered the wrong ‘race’. I was pointed to go around the corner, to another queue, for my particular flight. Over an hour later and I had finally been checked in – priceless!
I had hoped for some Karmic goodness after my calm queue time and helping another passenger out. I learned that thinking you deserve some kind of break, will lead to being rewarded with laughter or getting p*ssed off.
My seat on the plane was in between a window-peerer and a lovely young b*tch. I like to pre-organise my flight entertainment so that it causes my companions the least possible disturbance. I smiled at Lovely and motioned to the middle seat. She responded with an eye-roll and a sigh, letting me in. I pulled out my books, glasses, and tablet.
“Excuse me. Sorry, I just need to put my bag up there.”
Lovely stood with a stomp and scraped her hooves, before sitting down again.
“Excuse me, can I get back into my seat, please”, I said optimistically.
I had said the wrong thing. Her nostrils flared and she let out a sigh that scraped the walls of the plane, and then dropped back into her seat, making the row of chairs shudder. I had planned on catching some more zzzz’s, but cripes, could I sleep or was she going to suffocate me with her ever-growing groans? I immersed my face into a novel to mask the sleep-deprived giggles and hoped to heck that I didn’t need to pee. Either Lovely was hypersensitive to early mornings or she was just having a really bad day.
As the plane descended into Zurich, I offered my flight friends some gum. Window-peerer declined, but Lovely held her palm out rigidly and managed to curl her lip up one side. It was essentially a piece of peace.
Niceties aside, I had landed at my new home for the month, Switzerland. Next blog, I’ll give you the rundown on entering the halcyon Switzerland during its most raucous weekend; a retro circus party, its national day, and the Zurich Street Parade. Until then, X