January 4th - Hello Amsterdam

January 4th, 2009

I arrived in Amsterdam after a 10 hour flight, give or take a few minutes. Actually, I’m not entirely sure just how long it took since apparently flight control allowed for an alternate route. At any rate, it doesn’t help me one way or the other since my layover is beastly long. And I can’t access the free wi-fi b/c I’m computer illiterate and while I can connect to the network, I can’t get onto the internet. Silly me, I always thought those two went hand-in-hand. Hopefully I’ll figure it out before too long as I’m going to need some type of connection with the homeland. Pretty sure my mom would die if I didn’t. She wanted me to let her know where I was in my journey, and I considered calling until I realized it’s about 3 am back in Portland. I think my mom can wait.

I’m only in the airport, but I’ve discovered some things of note. First off, the toilet seats are round, as opposed to oval. I wonder why. Also, rather than toilet seat covers there is a dispenser of ‘toilet seat cleaner.’ Basically, you squirt some liquid stuff on your toilet paper, give it a good wipe, and wa-la, you’re completely protected from crabs and other creepy crawlies that latch onto toilet seats. Granted, I’m pretty sure paper-thin tissue doesn’t do much either, but the actual separation between my bum and the ever-used toilet is more comforting than some supposed disinfectant.

So, that isn’t exactly worthy of note, but when there isn’t much else to say and you’ve got 5 hours to kill you work with what you’ve got. But then, if I put my head up for even 10 minutes I’d have more than enough information. Airports are great for people-watching; especially international hubs like Amsterdam. Some Japanese tourist group literally engulfed me while their guide went on, and on, and on. Thank you ipod and wonderful, irreplaceable, noise-canceling Bose headphones. I think Japanese would be easier to learn than other languages b/c they enunciate so well. I was sitting next to some people and it took me a while to figure out that they were speaking English b/c the kid was mumbling so badly. I like trying to guess people’s nationality by their clothes. European men tend to have dress shoes on with their jeans, while Americans are notorious for their tennis shoes. Or say, flip-flops and a cowboy hat. Very nice. Way to represent.

Oh, I just remembered a thought from the flight. So, you know how people always compare clouds to butter or whip-cream or whatever dairy product fits their winsome mood? It’s all lies. It straight up looks like mold. Like when you open up that left-over chili that has been in the Tupperware container far past its due date and the mold rises from the surface a good inch or so, a slightly grey-white, and although it’s a solid mass, there are slight delineations that give the mold an almost quilted look. That is what the clouds looked like today. Not exactly a pleasant thought when your eardrums feel like they are being ripped from their proper place. Have I mentioned how much I hate flying? The cramped legs, the extremely tall British man beside you who sleeps through the whole flight and sprawls into your precious space and the uncomfortable tapping on the shoulder so that you can get out, go to the tiny bathroom and hopefully get some circulation to the knees that have swollen up like water balloons. People who say they love to fly are either a)rich and in first class, b)flat out crazers, or c)liars who want to impress people because they travel. Also, two addendums – children and people with little legs. At least technology has afforded us with distractions. That little television in front of me with a wide selection of movies and games was a God-send; especially since tripadviser lied and my seat did not have a power port for my laptop, and I forgot my DVDs anyway. So, for all the swollen limbs, the trip wasn’t so bad (at least, as far as airplane rides can be considered “good”).

I still have the flight to London, but it’s only an hour. My only real concern with that is short flights don’t tend to have the greatest cabin pressure (at least, not in my experience) and my ears still haven’t recovered from the last bout in the atmosphere. Once at Heathrow I’m hoping customs is super fast because I will have a car waiting for me and I don’t want to pay extra, not to mention I may need the extra time to find the car… Heathrow is freaking huge, what’s to say there isn’t more than one airport information or that it’s not on the opposite side of the airport? I guess I’ll find out.

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