I travel a lot but still, get quite nervous at airports. Always, despite having removed my belt, my watch, all possible metalic objects, my laptop, my cell phone, the coat, the sweater and everything else I could possibly remove, I beep in the gate. So, always, they make me wait for the woman guard, she scans me with the portable beeping thing and… finds nothing. I suspect it is the bra but shushhh.
Still, there is something comforting about airports. You are in no man’s land, in an area that is kept warm and bright, day and night. You are out of your country but still not quite at your destination yet.
At your home airport you know where to go, you know the overpriced shops, you test your favorite cosmetics. And then, you see the Gate Open sign next to your destination, you arrive at the gate and there, most other passengers are already seated. And then, the usual announcement- usually understandable in the mother tongue of the annoucer and unintelligible in English but still everyone figures it out, somehow. Then, the flight of stairs to the little bus or the direct corridor to the plane. There is a procedure for everything but sometimes something unusual happens such as the crew not being in the plane yet and the pilot and flight attendants waiting along with the passengers. This was the case today. They then boarded their mini bus but still, the second pilot was missing. Already getting on our bus, we saw the co-pilot running to make it.
I always enjoy the non low cost flights more. No surprise here though, right? I don’t have to smuggle my extra piece of hand luggage, the extra kilogram is not a problem. Two carry on items? No problem either. Also, they fly between nicer airports. Such as Warsaw and Roissy Charles de Gaulle. And then, on board the PLL LOT Embraer they offer you two drinks at a time and then coffee that, with two portions of dry creamer, is actually quite tasty and leaves a smoky aroma on your tongue. And the sandwich, with ham and a polish pickled cucumber is the last taste of home too. Well, not the last because they also give you a Prince Polo – my absolute favorite (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_Polo).
And then you arrive at the space-ship-like Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport. Sometimes the plane is so tiny that it parks in front of the satellite-like structure and the passengers climb up the stairs to reach the jet bridge. No one builds like this anymore. The architects really had a lot of fantasy here. I have a true fondness for this octopus-like airport. It is an octopus with one leg missing.
And if the moving walkway is working it takes you through the arm from the baby octopus to the mother octopus that swallows you with it’s plexi vacuum cleaner pipe-like corridor and gently spits you out near the baggage carousels. They now provide a countdown to the luggage arrival. You walk out and, just as at probably any airport, the taxi drivers try to trick you but you are smarter than that and follow the signs and take the elevator to the small, automatically operated train that takes you to the slightly damaged suburban RER. If there is no strike, the ride will be smooth. But the strikes aren’t uncommon. And on the RER you can almost be sure to meet some beggar or a gypsy or a couple of gypsies playing some instruments or, at least, trying to but usually making horrible noise. Or there will be a funny beggar who says he also accepts signed cheques and credit cards provided you give him the pin code.
And then you arrive at the urine-smelling Gare and take the metro. The more luggage you have the merrier. Travelling with a suitcase and a pair of skiis on the Parisian metro – priceless. I still can’t help it and love the Charles de Gaulle airport.