Saturday, 7 March 2009

Arrival in Linz

There is no direct flight from Berlin to Linz, so I took two flights and went via Frankfurt. I love and hate the whole airport experience. There are always people who have strange, bulky or just too much luggage (and I've been one of those at times, travelling with NIE with sets), there are always people who can't queue, and who push and shove all the way to the check-in desk, the security scans, the boarding desk and finally the seats on the plane. I try never to be one of those people.
There are always people who have liquids, sharp objects and occasionally handcuffs wrapped in pink fluffy covers in their handluggage. Another category I try not to be part of.
This morning, boarding the first flight, there was a young couple with a baby and a toddler. They had two prams that looked state of the art, until it came to the business of folding them and handing them over to the luggage staff. About twenty people (mainly business men) were observing the father as he tried to fold the first pram. Some bits folded in or down, leaving other bits to stick out awkwardly. Other combinations didn't get him any further. One of the business men tried to help by pointing at a button somewhere, but that didn't get the man any further. He was stared at intensely by everyone. It wasn't even that he was holding anything up, as boarding hadn't even started yet. After about five very long minutes, where looking at him was almost making me sweat, he called for his wife. She handed him the older child and folded the pram in no time. I swear I could see most of the audience try to suppress a smile.
After both prams had been folded properly, boarding started.
It was a big plane, and it was full, which made me realise that Germany (as opposed to my tiny home country) is big, and Lufthansa's domestic flights are doing well. I don't think there are any domestic flights in Belgium, and if there are, I can't see the point.
The flight to Frankfurt took an hour, which again made me consider the size of my adoptive country.
Most people on the flight seemed very cheerful, which is quite unusual these days, especially on packed flights. The one exception seemed to be the man sitting next to me, who took up quite a lot of space. Again, I am very rarely in the position where I take up a lot of space on a flight. I've tried, but it's hard.

Inside Frankfurt airport I was accosted by and American fellow traveller, who was looking for gate B19. I was slightly puzzled, as she was standing right in front of it. But look, she said: it has these red signs saying STOP and DO NOT ENTER. What if I go through those doors and I can't get back here?
I pointed out that below the words she read out there were smaller words that said: 'without a valid boarding pass and passport'. The gate also looked locked, which added to the confusion. But since her flight wasn't due to depart until 5 hours later, I reassured her that it would open on time. She had one last suggestion: maybe there was another gate B19. I think I probably raised my eyebrows. This is Germany. No airport in Germany would have two different gates with the same number.

As I sat waiting at the gate for my flight to Linz, I got a text message. It was Lufthansa, telling me my flight would be half an hour delayed. And indeed, as I looked up at the board, there it was: 30 minutes delayed. Part of me felt it was a little bit spooky to get an sms from Lufthansa while two of Lufthansa's staff were only about 3 metres away.

When I arrived in Linz, there was this advert, which I didn't understand. What is tipping paper?

After I checked in to my flat, I wandered up to the Phönix, where the guys were working. They're all in great form, Nora made me a coffee from the vault, and I managed to just hear the last two stories they were translating.
It all sounds very exciting, and I can't wait to get on that boat on Monday morning.


benpickles said...

so what is tipping paper? i must know!

New International Encounter said...

I have no idea. I'm still waiting for an answer.