Friday Column: Observations from the International Airport

All of this must be finished by December 29, before we pick up Clint at that far-away Stockholm airport that I cannot remember the name of (Skavsta) and take a bus and a ferry to the Finnish island of Åland where Johanna lives and where we are attending a New Year’s Eve party only after we run a 10K in the town of Mariehamn whereby afterwards I am expected to attend a traditional Finnish sauna with Mia, Johanna and Clint, and naked.

So it is okay that I am writing a ‘Friday Column’ on a Tuesday.

My flight to Munich is delayed. I suspected as much driving to the airport in the driving rain after lunch in West Chester with my sister, but it is not for the weather that the flight is delayed. We had boarded the plane and then unboarded the plan, after a weather announcement by the captain – ‘we are waiting for the frontal passage and windshift, which should be here momentarily,’ he said – which was followed by a de-planing announcement that I knew was coming after someone came over the intercom asking the flight attendants to disarm the doors. I had just curled up into a double-seat I had searched the entire plane to find because some jokers who were supposed to be sat in row 34 – leaving me with the four-seat row 35 completely to myself, which had been my plan when I chose my seat – decided instead to sit with me and stare at their iPhones taking up my well-planned space.

First our flight was delayed from 6:40 to 8:30. Then 9:00. And now 9:30. So now I am sitting near gate A-24 waiting for the airport to provide new equipment so we can fly to Europe.

I wrote my Spinsheet column earlier at the wine bar, accompanied by two glasses of ‘New Worl Value Reds’ – an Australian petit syrah and a South-American cousin of Malbec which I do not remember the name of. It is difficult to write a sailing column when I have not actually been sailing since September, but then again it is the times around the holidays when one is prone to reminisce, so I reminisced about our Bahamas trip in my column and think that I did a reasonable job.

Meanwhile, in the airport, people are freaking out about missing their connections in Munich. I have six and a half hours – had six and a half hours, which is down to about four and a half by now – but I am waiting either way, so it does not much matter to me. I took a proactive role though and tried to get on an earlier flight to London and connect through there, but in the end that was more trouble than it was worth and I do not know what might have happened to my two checked bags. I left my Cruising World on the other plane by accident.

The Celtics-Heat game is on TV now but I am listening to music on my headphones instead. Lebron James’ beard looks Muslim.

In Munchen

Anyone who says we have not yet invented teleporting has never been on an international airplane flight. Jet travel is freaking teleporting. It is so far removed from a human scale, a human sense of speed that it may as well be time travel. I went to sleep curled up in a group of three seats all to myself (after hunting for them – in the row of four that I found, the armrests did not raise, so that was pointless), and woke up six hours later on the other side of the Atlantic. It took me three weeks to accomplish the same on my sailing boat in August. Teleporting.

I am in Munchen now, and boy do the Germans know how to build an airport. I foolishly am about to go purchase a thirty-eight Euro haircut, but there is a barbershop here and I look ridiculous. I may even opt for the shave and really run up the bill.

The food establishments here actually serve real food. I just had a decent café latte in one of them, that seems to serve mostly seafood. It is strange sitting next to someone eating pasta. I feel like breakfast. It is really one in the afternoon here.

The flight out of Philly finally got off the ground around eleven last evening, which was just okay with me, because now my six-hour layover has turned into a two-hour layover, which should give me just enough time to get that haircut and shave.

This airport! It sparkles. I cannot fathom the actual restaurants are actual restaurants. They serve big German biers in big German glass mugs. There is brown whole-grain bread everywhere. The guy who served me my coffee is from Thailand, but he speakers perfect English and German and made me Euro change from my American dollar transaction! There are several Audis in the terminal I am in with their fog lights on. And watch shops. This sounds horribly clichéd for being in a German airport, but everything is impeccably clean.

I am going to go have that haircut now.

I had my haircut. It cost only twenty-five, probably because the barber only had to use one tool (the clippers) and it took only a few minutes. He washed my hair as well. I feel fantastic.

At the ‘Bistro Organic’ (these eateries are phenomenal), I just had a yogurt and fruit cup and the yogurt was actually plain, unflavored yogurt and the fruit was freshly sliced. Why is it that we cannot do this in the USA at airports? One hour until my flight boards for Stockholm.