We have been in airports, airplanes and sandwiched into seats forever. At the airport I see older couples, going on trips, knowing this may be the last time they will independently travel. The wheelchair bound travelers, relying on the muscle and humanity of others. Also, there are children whining, crying and trying to hide their excitement. At different airports you notice different things, in Berlin the characters seem to be the backdrop of a zombie appocolypse movie. In Chicago, I noticed the professional travelers, the ones that look the part, they roll a tiny suitcase, dress impeccably and wear stilettos like they mean business. They are neither harried nor excited. I belong to the group of pleasure travelers, we travel because we seek excitement, relaxation and especially a change in scenery.
I am sitting in the middle of an exit row. The big guy next to me does not care, he is taking over the armrest and I have no recourse. I try to get a partial elbow on there, but he bullies his way to complete domination. I am sitting crooked, with my right arm inexplicably twisted behind me. I intend to win this battle by waiting him out when he uses the restroom. The guy never gets up, he figured he was not going to lose his territory.
It’s interesting to me how intimately the passengers in steerage sit atop one another, but rarely speak. On the flight to Berlin I was pretty sure the lady in front of me was resting IN MY LAP yet we never spoke. Luckily, there was no offensive BO issues on this flight. That can be really tricky. Once, I was alone on a flight with really horrendous turbulence. Drinks went flying and people screamed. I am happy to report that I merely grabbed the hand of the stranger next to me and said “Jesus, Mary and Joseph.” I figured that I would cover the entire holy family in that one desperate prayer. I apologized profusely afterwards but never did get her name.
We wait in the Berlin airport. A mere three hour layover in a airport bereft of charm, personality or comfortable seating. When we arrived at the airport, it was 8am Berlin time. Since it was 11pm Phoenix time it seemed appropriate to have a beer and a soft pretzel for breakfast.
You know that point in a trip when you are ready to come home, to come back to something that is familiar and warm? Well, I reached that point about four hours ago. We boarded the plane to Rome from Berlin. We were on the runway and getting ready to take off. I was busy reading my book. But Greg was paying attention. He is one who always pays attention. He told me the brakes were bad on the plane and we would need to get off. I was sure he was mistaken, but a few minutes later we were all told in German that the brakes were “kaput”. Next, we were deplaning and getting on a bus for a thirty second trip to the terminal (now I know why they call it terminal). Once everyone was off the plane, mayhem ensued. We were told to collect our luggage. Yes, even our carefully packed “American” carry-on luggage miraculously became “too heavy” for the EU and was banished to the belly of the plane. I only hope we do not face the same fate when we return to America. We waited for luggage, complained and then waited in yet another line. But luckily our named was called, either because we were flying international or because my bubbly personality had charmed the ticket agent. I’m pretty sure that I explained my last name translated to “horror” in German. Now we were scheduled for another plane to Rome. We of course ordered anther beer and wine and waited for the next flight. After two delicious German wines I was less concerned with making it to our destination. The one thing that became painfully obvious to me was that there were no gate agents and the only moving of passengers we observed was in buses. Where the hell was the plane?
Have I mentioned that I have had a headache since Tuesday and its freaking Wednesday. Greg has gone to investigate. Hopefully he will rangel up a plane and pilot willing to deliver us to Rone. I am now praying that we get there today…..