Wednesday, March 5, 2008

From LA to Amsterdam

Out of the LA hotel room.
Into the shuttle bus to LAX airport.

A man tells a story to a United Airways stewardess.
He is retired from a phone company where he was in charge of customer service.
One day a lady calls to complain that every time the phone rings, her dog in the garden starts to howl.
The man sends a service employee to the house.
This person discovers that the dog is chained.
And the chain is attached with a ring to the telephone line so that the dog can roam a little bit in the garden.
Over time the moving dog has worn the plastic covering of the telephone cable away so that the ring and the chain were guiding the electricity of the phone line right to the neck of the dog.
Hence, each time the phone rang, the dog was getting a light electrical shock.
Most other travellers in the shuttle bus were listening to this story told with a loud voice by the entertaining man.
And at the end of his story everybody was laughing because it was so funny.

What a great way to spend the last hour in the USA.

Checking in was electronically.
Taking 5 minutes.
Simply pushing buttons on a screen and putting in the correct information and before the traveller knows the boarding pass appears out of the machine.

And amazingly not too many people had to go through security.
This time it went smoothly having not the special “SSSS” code on the boarding pass.
It went smoothly and swiftly: a unique experience.

Flying in an Airbus from Los Angeles to Philadelphia shaking and trembling due to turbulence because heavy rainstorms and important elections covered part of the USA.
Neighbour was a young surf enthusiast from San Luis Obispo working for a printing company making labels for wine bottles.
He knew freedom in life and excitement and exaltation but only during the moments he was riding an ocean wave.
Besides that, for him it was discipline, commitment to the company and hard work only.

Changing planes in Philadelphia.
Time to eat sushi because in the plane between Los Angeles and Philadelphia only sandwiches with meat were offered.

A Boeing 767.
Leaving on time for Amsterdam.
In spite of heavy rainfall.
Shortly after take-off dinner was served.
Sorry, sir, but we do not have the special meal you ordered.
The reading light was also not working.
Moving to another seat next to a blonde American College girl going to live for one year with a family in Holland.
On the other side the aisle and then a man having two seats just for himself.
He lay down with his legs hanging in the free space of the aisle.
He had taken off his shoes and his socks smelt badly.
At one point he stretched his legs so that his stinking feet were right in front of the face of the amazed and shocked photographer.
Incredible kind of behaviour.
Adequately the man got a hit on his leg.
He looked up from his horizontal position and realized in what of an embarrassing situation he had manoeuvred himself.
It was gestured to him to immediately retract his legs and that his feet were smelling.
The famous sign of the nose enclosed by two fingers.
The disgusting guy retracted his legs but some time later the same thing happened.
What to do?
Start yelling at him?
Kill him by pulling the airsickness bag over his head?
Call a stewardess to talk to the man?
Have the air marshal get involved?
But the strategy was selected to be relaxed about it.
And right that moment a passenger on the way to the bathroom banged into the dangling legs of the guy who “ooooh”-ed because of pain.

Next exciting step was to prepare to sleep as usual.
Earplugs, the noise reducing headphone, a blanket covering the body and a sleeping mask.
Would the guy stretch the legs again making his feet in front of the peaceful and blind sleeper?
Who would first get strange dreams of garbage dumps?
To realize that co-passenger was avoiding thromboses again?
What the heck.

Landing in Amsterdam on a bright and sunny but cold morning.
The luggage hall swarmed with custom officers hunting for passengers bringing in goods the Dutch Government can levy with import taxes.
But all the stuff got through safely.
And a long journey ended successfully.


No comments: