An irregular, irreverent, post-modern account of the surreal, the ordinary, and the bizarre happenings on and around the Felia lavender farm in Crete

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Fear and loathing of flying

We have been 40 minutes in Italy. I have already seen more black faces than in the past 5 years in Crete. It is comforting in is way. I have missed that. I have not, you can imagine, missed the filth that goes with all cities. Cities are so dirty. I have not missed the dinning: the constant intrusive "ambient" noise of cities. Does the din ever quiet enough to hear birdsong?

I realised while sitting in Athens airport departure lounge as the expected departure time of our flight slid further - and yet further - away "due to the late arrival of the incoming service" that airports remind me of nothing so much as my old working life - tarnished reams indeed.

Air travel is an odd contradiction. Such a speedy form of travel and yet each journey is much longer, drags on so long, much longer than it should be. No destination airport is closer than a one hour trip to wherever you want to go. Unless. of course you inspect airports for a living. Your own local airport is never closer than an hour's trip from where you live. Unless you live in a departure lounge. So, before you begin your journey will take 2 hours. Plus flight time. Plus that dead time that every air journey gives you - or takes away from you - 2 hours for international travel - 1 for domestic - that hideous "check in" time while fascist animals treat you like a criminal - when they are not ignoring you altogether that is and leaving you to the ministrations of international capital courtesy of MacDonalds, Tie Rack, franchised perfumeries, and all their familiar and grisly cohorts. Baggage? You have baggage? OK give me another half hour - minimum. On the outward leg - at the beginning of your journey - add another twenty thirty minutes minimum loitering beside a grubby carousel at the other end. Unless your carrier loses your baggage of course! And then it is more - much much more.

The nightmare that is air travel is behind us. Delays - unscheduled and inbuilt - over. We are in Milan. We are 40 minutes into Milan. A wait for the shuttle bus was usefully spent getting nicotine levels up to normal. Functional once more, we ignored the siren calls of taxi drivers licensed and unlicensed - it is not hard to see how seductive a swift getaway from the ennui of air travel makes good business for these guys. Milan Centrale station is undergoing cleaning. It needs it. Beautiful mosaic floors - grubby walls - filthy skylights. A chance for another cigarette and then we're off on the fast and timely train to Como.

1 comment:

  1. Really, it's a wonder what people will endure to get someplace. When I went to Venice last month for Carnevale, I flew into Milan (15 hrs., not including the train to the airport & preflight circus), took a bus to Milano Centrale (1 hr.) just in time for the Friday evening crush. The trains to Venice looked like steel sausages stuffed with human meat up to the doors! Gaaahh...

    Finally got into Venice hours later, and then took the vaporetto down the Grand Canal to my hotel. Julie was waiting in our room. Things got better after that.